On March 17, a rally took place in Glasgow organized by Stand Up to Racism, a group that supposedly protests all forms of racism, including antisemitism, but the hate on the streets of Glasgow on a cold Scottish Saturday was palpable.
Most shocking was that vicious racists insults, provocations, and minor violence took place during this anti-racism, antisemitism, rally.The main target was Israel, and victims of this abuse were Scottish Christians and Jews, an Israeli-Arab Christian named Mohammad Kabiya, an Israeli Muslim, and a Druze girl named Lorena Khattib. They were representing Israeli minorities and happened to be in Scotland as delegates of the Israeli organization Reservists on Duty, which was being hosted by 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, which 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.
“The racists of the BDS campaign basically controlled the streets during this rally,” Nigel Goodrich, the COFIS convener, said. The police, in their effort to ensure disruptions and violence were minimized, were compliant 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!” To Israelis, intifada 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, as well as with members of Israel’s minority population, in an effort to stop them participating in the rally.
It took the world 17 years to remove the blot that Zionism equates to racism from the shameful records of the United Nations. 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 and white Jews from around the world. It gives equal rights and protection to Christians, Muslims, Druze, Bedouin, Circassian, Aramean citizens and followers of the Bahai faith. These minorities have reached the highest ranks within Israeli civil society.
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.
Just like antisemitism 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 recharge 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 intellectuals. Now, in Glasgow, the radical, intolerant haters chose a setting that was supposed to highlight real racism and antisemitism to hijack the event and, in an alarming and blatantly antisemitic 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 Fighting Hamas, BDS, and Anti-Semitism.