The shocking thing was that vicious racists insults, provocations, and minor violence took place during an anti-racism, anti-Semitism, rally, and the main targets and victims of this hate were Scottish Christians and Jews, and an Israeli Christian, Mohammad Kabiya, an Israeli Muslim, and Lorena Khattib, an attractive Israel Druze girl representing Israeli minorities who happened to be in Scotland as delegates of an Israeli organization, Reservists on Duty, who were in Scotland as guests of COFIS, the Coalition of Friends of Israel Scotland.
The provocations were led by the infamous Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the far-left Red Front Republic fringe group who marched under the Communist Hammer and Sickle banner. Chanting ‘From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free,’ a dog whistle for a world without the Jewish State, and an affront to the raison d’etre of the rally, they forced the Israeli participants to be isolated from the parade and to suffer indignities from these provocateurs.
Nigel Goodrich, the COFIS convener, said, “the racists of the BDS campaign basically controlled the streets during this rally.” The police, in their effort to ensure disruptions and violence were minimized, were complaint in allowing the Israeli delegation to be detached from the main body of the rally.
Clashes occurred and, as Jonathan Elkhouri, an ex-Lebanese Christian whose family had to escape death threats from Hezbollah and are now living as Israelis in Haifa, told me, “we were called ‘child murderers,’ ‘racists,’ ‘fascists,’ and accused of ‘killing children.’ When we tried to reason with the haters and tell them who we are and what we represent, they shoved us and tried take down our banners and flags.”
Another chant heard at this anti-racism rally was “From Glasgow to Gaza. Intifada!” Intifada to Israelis is a pseudonym for terrorism. This, at an anti-hate rally on the streets of Scotland in March 2017.
Micheline Brannan, the chairperson of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, complained to The Herald newspaper that the anti-racism message was hijacked and perverted by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Antifa haters who forced a provocative confrontation with local Christians and Jews and also members of Israel’s minority population in an effort to stop them participating in the rally.
The political drive of Arab nations, having failed to eliminate the Jewish state by wars, attempted to isolate Israel diplomatically by branding it, in 1975, with the horrible aspersion of being a racist and, by implication, a pariah state that must be outlawed and isolated. It took seventeen years to remove that stain from the annals of the UN. At that time, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the great American diplomat, announced from the podium of the United Nations General Assembly that “Whatever else Zionism may be, it is not, nor can it be a form of racism."
Israel has assembled a commonwealth of brown, black, white Jews from around the world. It gives equal rights and protection to Christians, Muslims, Druze, Bedouin, Circassian, Aramean citizens and the Bahai faith. These minorities have reached the highest ranks within Israeli civil society.
Just like anti-Semitism never dies, the anti-Jewish state hate was seen in 2001 at Durban, South Africa, at a UN World Conference on Racism, where over a thousand hateful NGOs picked on Israel to resurrect the ‘Zionism in Racism’ lie.
Today we see on campuses and on the streets of cities such as Glasgow the same abhorrent claims against the Jewish state being fed to the uninitiated by radical left-wing rabble rousers and intellectual haters. In Glasgow, the radical intolerant haters chose a setting that was supposed to highlight real racism and anti-Semitism to hijack the event and, in an alarming and blatantly anti-Semitic display, exclusively targeted the only Jewish state in the world, and a handful of its supporters, for malevolent abuse.
It is to be hoped that the authorities in Scotland have identified the provocateurs in advance of future events that attempt to promote the message of tolerance and truth and that, next time, it will be the haters and the confrontational radicals that are isolated and cordoned off, and not those who come with a positive message of hope.
Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israeli Institute for Strategic Studies.
He is the author of the book, ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS, and Anti-Semitism.’
From left to right; Lorena Khattib, Jonathan Elkouri, Mohammad Kabiya.