Scottish Jewish event forced to move after threats

Hotel pulls out of event after staff receive threatening calls from Palestinian solidarity activists; then event raises more money than expected.

Palestinian flag/protest good illustrative 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)
Palestinian flag/protest good illustrative 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)
LONDON – Jewish students at a Scottish university managed to hold a charity event despite being forced to find another location at the last minute after anti-Israel activists threatened staff at the original venue.
The annual charity ball organized by the Jewish Society and Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity at St. Andrews University in Fife was scheduled to take place at the St. Andrews Golf Hotel on Friday. On Wednesday, however, the hotel pulled out after staff received threatening phone calls and email from activists linked to the radical fringe group Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) and other anti-Israel groups.
The activists were upset that Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund and Friends of the IDF were to receive money raised by the students, and were planning to protest and disrupt the event. The management of the hotel explained the cancellation on the grounds that they could not guarantee the health and safety of guests and staff.
Joel Salmon, the president of the St. Andrews Jewish Society, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that they had being planned the event for some time and never thought about canceling it.
Late on Thursday, the society and the Jewish fraternity found an alternative venue that they managed to keep secret in order to guarantee the security of guests and prevent any retribution from activists.
Organizers went along with the belief that the event had been cancelled and guests were emailed and told to meet at specific locations, where they were picked up by taxis and taken to the new venue.
“Despite the adverse circumstances of the venue pulling out the day before due to allegedly aggressive phone calls and emails from individuals supporting the SPSC, the Jewish Society was able to secure an alternative venue,” Salmon said, adding that a donor paid for the taxis.
“We have been overwhelmed by the support received from the Jewish community, the university and the local authorities. The fact that the protest was organized by people with little or no connection to St.
Andrews speaks volumes about our town and university, who we are extremely proud of,” he stated.
Salmon described the event as a resounding success and said that organizers raised over five times the amount that had originally been expected, with more donations coming in.
“The St. Andrews Jewish Society will not cave in to intimidation or bullying. We will always protect our members and shall continue to provide events to enrich Jewish life in St Andrews,” Salmon said.
The SPSC declined to comment.