Israeli peace festival in Scotland met by shouts from pro-Palestinian protesters

International Shalom Festival patrons greeted with chants of, "Your tickets are covered in Palestinian blood."

August 17, 2016 15:48
1 minute read.

Pro-Palestinian protest outside of International Shalom Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland

Pro-Palestinian protest outside of International Shalom Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland


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Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrated outside of a peace festival featuring Jewish and Arab Israeli performers in Edinburgh, Scotland on Wednesday, calling out to those entering the venue, "Your tickets are covered in Palestinian blood."

The one-day, International Shalom Festival, was part of the Edinburgh Fringe, the world's biggest arts festival, which is taking place throughout August. The Shalom festival sought to bring together both Jews and Arabs in order to "build cultural bridges with Israel," according to pro-Israeli NGO StandWithUs, whose affiliate member, Confederation of Friends of Israel (COFIS), organized the event.

However, the festival intended to build bridges was met by a boycott effort from the pro-Palestinian activists who shouted anti-Israel slogans and attempted to prevent patrons from entering the event, said Tamir Oren, StandWithUs UK's director of public affairs who was present at the event.

Police were called to the scene to keep the peace, and no injuries or arrests were initially reported.

Ariel, an Israeli artist performing at the festival, said that the protest against the festival was "sad" because "artists came from Israel and Arab countries with the goal of building a bridge, and we have here people who are not interested in coming together."

Artist Tali said that she had arrived to promote peace and instead had been greeted with an angry demonstration.

Festival-goer Chris said that the anti-Israel protest was "a real disgrace."

"Scotland has a history of being hospitable and friendly to people and I think that it's an absolute disgrace," Chris said.

"I don't think they have anything to say, but I think they have to remind themselves that they're still here basically," he said of the protesters.

"I really don't think they have ever met a Jewish person and I think if they had, they would probably think very different," he added.

Despite the protest, however, the festival was conducted as scheduled.

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