BREAKING NEWS... Scottish Government strongly discourages trade with illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  “The exploitation of assets in illegal settlements by any company is likely to constitute “grave professional misconduct” for the purposes of procurement legislation.

NATO, Ukraine, Israel, & Scottish Government boycott policy

TODAY - Sunday 31st August, 3pm
Glasgow Quaker Meeting House, 38 Elmbank Crescent, G2 4PS
The Western powers through NATO and Russia are fighting for their strategic interests in Ukraine. The Western press is remarkably silent on the influence of Neo-Nazi Svoboda in the Kiev Government and fighting alongside the Ukranian army against pro-Russian separatists. While thousands have died in the fighting, NATO support for that regime is complete. Svoboda openly praises its predecessor party that slaughtered Poles and Jews in enforcing the Nazi occupation of Ukraine during WWII.

The disaster in Ukraine could become a catastrophe if NATO and Russia escalate their conflict.

What has been NATO's role in the Ukraine and what does this mean for a unified UK after September 18th or an independent Scotland remaining in NATO? Since Israel is a virtual member of NATO both bilaterally from Tel Aviv and via its privileged position with the US, NATO's leading power, what will this mean for Scottish Government policy towards the occupied and violated people of Palestine?

Ray McGovern was a high level career CIA analyst who briefed US presidents. He will speak on NATO's role in the Ukraine.
Brian Larkin from the Peace & Justice Centre will speak on NATO, Scotland and Israel.

Brian Larkin from the Peace & Justice Centre will speak on NATO, Scotland and Israel.

Scottish PSC welcomes recent advice from the Scottish Government on trade and investment with companies active in illegal settlements. Suprisingly however, the Scottish Government is boycotting all Russian cultural events and opposes the Palestinian call for a cultural boycott of Israel.

Israeli military checkpoints prevent Palestinian cultural event

Ramallah Orchestra's performance of 'Eroica' in Jerusalem is cancelled due to Israeli interference
by Tom Suarez July 2, 2012

The Ramallah Orchestra, an initiative of the music conservatory Al Kamandjati, was to perform a free concert at Saint Anne Church in East Jerusalem on Saturday night, 30 June. The concert was organized with the assistance of the French Consulate, and would have built upon previous, highly successful Al Kamandjati concerts at the church. On the morning of the concert, Al Kamandjati was forced to cancel it.

Half the Ramallah Orchestra at St Anne ChurchHalf the Ramallah Orchestra at St Anne Church
Approximately half of the international ensemble's musicians are Palestinians. Israel, which militarily occupies East Jerusalem under a de facto annexation not recognized by international law, blocks these musicians from entering East Jerusalem unless it grants them a special permit. Despite every effort to follow Israel's requirements, none of the Palestinians were given the permits, and so all were prevented from reaching the concert.

In consideration of the many audience members who could not have learned of the cancellation, the remaining musicians of the Ramallah Orchestra, along with conductor Diego Masson, nonetheless continued to Saint Anne Church.

At concert time, to welcome the seated audience, a string quartet comprised of four young Palestinians of 1948 (Palestinians of Israeli citizenship) performed Carlos Gardel's Por Una Military checkpoints like this stop Palestinians getting together, including musiciansMilitary checkpoints like this stop Palestinians getting together, including musiciansCabeza.

Three orchestra members then read aloud the following statement in Arabic, English, and French :

Good evening. Tonight we had planned to play a fabulous program for you: the overture to Rossini's opera 'The Italian in Algiers', Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, and the great Eroica Symphony, the third symphony of Beethoven. But we are very sorry that we are unable to play our concert.

The four musicians that you just heard are Palestinians of 1948. The core of our ensemble, about half our musicians, are Palestinians from the West Bank. These Palestinians must secure Israeli permits to enter here, even though Israel's de facto annexation of East Jerusalem is not recognized by international law. As of this morning, none of our colleagues' permits had been granted. We are not an orchestra without these musicians, but we stand here tonight in solidarity with them.

We again express our deepest regret that we are prevented from playing our concert for you tonight. Thank you, on behalf of all the musicians of the Ramallah Orchestra."

Original report at Mondoweiss 2 July 2012