Former terrorist to testify in support of Scottish anti-Israel activists on trial
Leila Khaled set to give personal testimony in trial of five charged with racially motivated conduct.
By JONNY PAUL, JPOST CORRESPONDENT IN LONDON
August 12, 2009 21:22
2 minute read.
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A former terrorist will give evidence in a Scottish court in October in support of a group of anti-Israel activists on trial for disrupting a Jerusalem Quartet concert in Edinburgh in 2008.
Leila Khaled is set to give a personal testimony as a witness for the defense in the trial of five activists from the radical fringe group Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) who have been charged with racially motivated conduct.
Currently a member of the Palestinian National Council, Khaled was a member of the terror group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and was involved in a spate of airplane hijackings, including that of a TWA flight from Rome to Athens in 1969 and an El Al flight from Amsterdam to New York, during "Black September" in 1970.
It comes as a member of Parliament denied claims made by the SPSC that he is also set to give evidence in support of the group at the trial. A spokesperson for Peter Hain, secretary of state for Wales, said reports that he would give evidence are incorrect.
The SPSC activists will attempt to use personal testimonies of Khaled and others to categorize Israel as an apartheid and racist state to help deflect the charge of racially motivated conduct.
Literature put out by the fringe group says that the witnesses will show that growing support for sanctions and boycotts against Israel is justified by "the history of ethnic cleansing carried out by the Zionist movement and its state from 1948 to the present; the conscious determination of the Israeli state to continue with further criminal acts of ethnic cleansing and failure of the British Government to honor its international legal obligations to oppose Israeli apartheid, specifically the illegal wall and settlement building."
The five SPSC activists interrupted a performance of the Jerusalem String Quartet at Edinburgh's Queen Hall in August 2008 by shouting abuse at the audience and musicians. The group was performing as part of the "Artists without Borders" festival, which also featured performers from Iran.
Following a hearing last Friday at the Edinburgh Sheriff Court, the trial was postponed until October 1 and an arrest warrant put out for one of the activists, Sofiah MacLeod, who is currently taking part in demonstrations in Bil'in in the West Bank.
One of the SPSC members on trial, Mick Napier, said "she will be coming back from opposing racism to stand trial for being a racist."
The SPSC is a radical offshoot of the London-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign. In January, the group hosted what it claimed to be a Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration with a Hamas supporter who justifies suicide bombings. In December, the group fabricated a story that it had been responsible for a boycott by Scottish companies of Israeli water company Eden Springs Ltd.