Frederick Douglass p orig

“Those who profess to favour freedom and yet deprecate agitation…want crops without ploughing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.
This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.”
Frederick Douglass

SPSC since its inception has not been short of critics for our approach to campaigning. We prioritise popular involvement, vigorous and angry BDS campaigning, assertive defence of our rights to organise and protest, and, on occasion, direct action against targets linked to the Israeli State, which we view as a settler-colonial project with the standard built-in potential for genocide of all settler-colonial projects and states.

Our approach has proven effective over the years. Angry Scottish protests have driven Israeli sporting teams out of Glasgow, diplomats out of Edinburgh, and fundraisers for the racist JNF underground

. Popular protests, including direct action, made Israeli State cultural ambassadors stay away, sending a strong solidarity message to Palestine. Haaretz reported that Israeli performers also grasped a key aspect of our message: "...all the artists who spoke to Haaretz said the BDS protests were aimed solely at works or troupes supported by the Israeli government, not at Israeli creators and actors specifically".

We have recently seen a significant breakthrough in divestment efforts (the ‘D’ in BDS) as well as the withdrawal from this year’s Edinburgh Festival and Fringe of the Israeli Peace (‘Shalom’) Festival. The organisers fronting for the Israeli Embassy, the Confederation of Friends of Israel in Scotland (COFIS) have failed to stage their Israeli apologetics at the 2018 Fringe, an aftershock of a large and vigorous all-day protest(1) at their August 2016 launch in Central Hall, Tollcross, a prime Fringe venue.

COFIS were told after the 2016 clash that Central Hall would not be available to them in future. Their lavish funding allowed them, however, to attempt a three-day event at the 2017 Fringe, but in a venue well away from any significant Festival traffic, Drummond High School. If the aim was to reduce the size and impact of protests it also minimised attendance and resulted in such a costly failure that they have not returned to the Edinburgh Fringe this year.

COFIS’ 2016 vow to have annual Fringe events has come up against widespread popular revulsion at Israeli barbarism channelled into collective action.

Getting rid of a state-sponsored "Israeli Peace Festival" is a clean air act at the Edinburgh Fringe given that the organisers are Trump worshippers who support every Israeli massacre of Palestinians and even discussed euthanizing Palestinians on their main Facebook page. This did not stop the leaders of the three largest Scottish political parties, Nicola Sturgeon and her Labour and Lib Dem counterparts, each issuing statements backing the "Israeli Peace Festival".

The absence of any 2018 Israeli Peace Festival is yet another success for the strategy of large angry protests against Israeli state-sponsored targets such as the sustained ten-hour demonstration that drove them out of the Central Hall in 2016. That ban led to their 2017 washout at the fortress-like venue well beyond the outer fringes of the Fringe and their absence in 2018.

This is a clear success for the Palestinian initiated BDS campaign, and a significant defeat for organised supporters of Israeli snipers and other mass murderers. It builds on a string of cultural BDS successes in Edinburgh since we started to focus on that aspect of cultural BDS in 2005.

In both 2006 and 2009 the Edinburgh International Film Festival returned sponsorship money it had accepted from the Israeli Embassy, as did other institutions under BDS pressure. With the EIFF, on both occasions the tainted money was returned to the tainted Embassy in response to huge public pressure locally, threats of an international boycott, and grass-roots agitation by supporters of Palestinian freedom that alarmed the organisers sufficiently for them to return the Israeli money, very much against their will. The efforts of Hillary Clinton in Washington and others failed to overturn that boycott victory.

Determined protests including direct action have driven the uber-Zionist Jerusalem Quartet and Israeli State-promoted Batsheva Dance group out of Scotland and, in Batsheva’s case, out of the UK never to return. The success of direct action tactics used appropriately, i.e. as part of a wider strategy, has generated sustained and sometimes sympathetic public debate over cultural boycott in the mainstream media and thus involving very large audiences.

Boycott, since its naming in 19th Century Ireland, has been a weapon, a peaceful and democratic weapon but a weapon to pressure institutions into changing behaviour they cannot abandon by their own efforts. In a time of Israeli genocidal violence our resistance must be proportionate if it is to be effective. The BDS strategy is the result of decades of complete failure of lobbying the great and the good, presenting compelling cases to elected representatives that fall on deaf or impotent ears.

A photograph of a meal is poor nutrition and discussing boycott, even adopting a policy of boycott in a time of genocidal Israeli violence, is not active boycott, i.e. exerting collective pressure to force change. The numerous BDS victories we celebrate are the fruits of active struggle and not a result of seeking the ethical transformation of those who are actively supporting or turning a blind eye to Israel’s murderous violence and a deaf ear to the cries of Palestinians who resist that monstrous State.

Inclusive, grass roots organising, involving cleaners as well as composers, can help to avoid defeats such as Reykjavik and Tricycle Theatre where top-level management was persuaded of the case for BDS and announced their commitment, before massive external pressure, including from donors, forced a retreat and apology in the absence of any mobilisation to counter it. These defeats are costly - unless we learn the lessons of how to avoid them in future.

Israel continues to massacre unarmed Palestinians, kill children with advanced drone technolgy; in response Britain is increasing arms sales to the genocidal state, including sniper rifle parts. Anger and even rage are necessary but not sufficient responses to Israel's mass murder of Palestinians; we need also to be strategic and politically clear in our efforts to deliver solidarity. If anger is a necessary fuel, a strategic approach to boycott - one that has delivered success after success - is essential for success, i.e. delivering blows to the Apartheid State that is a barrier to Palestinian freedom and a threat to all the peoples of the Middle East.

Mick Napier
West Calder
13 August 2018

Note 1: The protest against racist murders by the Apartheid State led to the Jewish Chronicle journalist inventing “Nazi salutes [and] Sieg Heils” from the protestors (which Police Scotland are clear could not have occurred given their close monitoring of the all day protest).








  1. Pioneering boycott in ScotlandBDS2
  2. Political ideas - major conferences
  3. Political ideas -.speakers
  4. Consistent anti-racism
  5. Sports boycott
  6. Taking on the racist JNF
  7. Cultural boycott victories
  8. Economic boycott
  9. Defending our right to fight for BDS
  10. Legal threats
  11. Scottish campuses
  12. What they say about us - partners and friends around the world
  13. What they say about us – the opposition
  14. International cooperation

One talented SPSC member some years ago would ask people to join SPSC with a singular appeal, “We’re rubbish, join us and make us better”. He is a proud member but his point is: we have many weaknesses we need to deal with, multiple are our failings and we need you to contribute to improving things. On many aspects, some Palestine group somewhere is (much) better than us but we have some positives and offer them here, a far from inclusive list. After all, not many campaign groups engender their own committee in Hillary Clinton’s State Department! (See below)

1. SPSC pioneered boycott in Scotland before it was mainstream
Scotland PSCSince SPSC was founded in 2000 at the start of the Intifada, we have sought to mobilise opposition to the Scottish bases of support for Israel. Not everyone agreed with this approach. Some on the left were interested mainly or exclusively in: building street demonstrations; awareness-raising; humanitarian aid; lobbying MPs; an eclectic mix of the last four. Some didn’t want to venture outside the safe zone of boycotting only illegal settlement goods.

The launch of the
Palestinian BDS Call in 2005, one year after
the ICJ ruling criminalising the Apartheid Wall, clarified matters greatly for all those committed to effective solidarity action.

Our response in Scotland was: to enthusiastically support the principles and practice of the Palestinian BDS Call; debate how to optimally implement the Call in Scotland; frame our activities around the three core demands of the Call. For an audience in a country with a brutal history of racist colonialism, we stress the Palestinian source of the BDS call, the most representative Palestinian voice for decades.

2. We take political ideas seriously - holding major conferences

3. We take political ideas seriously - speakers

  • SPSC has hosted a galaxy of high-profile speakers at public events. Some not mentioned elsewhere include Haider Eid, Sara Kershnar, Shir Hever, Haifa Zangana, Avigail Abarbanel, Salim Vally, Moshe Machover, Shlomo Sand, Eamonn McCann, Gideon Levy, Max Blumenthal, Mads Gilbert, Rabbi Aaron Cohen, Ghada Karmi, Margo MacDonald, Norton Mezvinsky, Greg Philo, Howard Zinn and by video link Edward Said and Howard Zinn.
  • 2001: in a prearranged tour, South Africa – Palestine: the Long Walk to Freedom, BBC journalist Tim Llewellyn spoke in Aberdeen on September 11 and with ANC veteran Dennis Goldberg in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
  • 2005: Noam Chomsky spoke to a 1,000 strong SPSC meeting in Edinburgh, which we video-streamed to over a dozen partners in the UK, Palestine Europe. The press conference for Chomsky beforehand that we publicised was totally shunned by the mainstream press. Here’s a video of the modest press conference where the mainstream Scottish media ignored the world’s most cited academic, leaving him to deal magisterially with a twit from a St Andrews student publication.Again in 2009: Noam Chomsky, hosted by SPSC, SACC and Radio Ramadhan, spoke live to groups in three venues in Scotland
  • Also in 2009: SPSC hosted Omar Barghouti of the BNC and Ronnie Kasrils, a Jewish veteran of the South African armed liberation struggle, for several speaking tours in Scotland, including in March 2009
  • 2010, IJAN (International Jewish anti-Zionist Network) and SPSC hosted Auschwitz survivor Hajo Meyer in the UK and Ireland in January for a speaking tour during Holocaust Commemoration Week on the subject Never Again - for Anyone!
  • 2014: We welcomed Archbishop Atallah Hanna of Jerusalem to Edinburgh Airport on 14 July. He spoke at events across Scotland, including protests against the unfolding Israeli massacre of Operation Protective Edge.PHOTO: Atallah Hanna at Edinburgh Airport welcome

4. We take political ideas seriously
- consistent anti-racism
An Israeli saxzionismisracismophonist, Gilad Atzmon, works hard to inject hostility to Jews as a population into the Palestine solidarity movement. Supporters invited him to speak at a secretive event in a Palestine-themed café in Edinburgh in 2015. SPSC asserted its position of no truck with racists in 2007 and our commitment to opposing the Israeli occupation as well as the Apartheid and settler-colonialism of the Zionist project in Palestine, in 2015
SPSC endorses and participates in anti-racist and anti-fascist demonstrations in Scotland.
Should Palestine solidarity supporters appear on fascist or White supremacist media? Of course not, we said, but many US activists think otherwise.

5. We have had some successes in sports boycott
Hamilton 2002: More than 600 protesters disrupt Scottish-Israel international football match in Hamilton. In September. The cops banned Palestinian flags so we took in loads of balloons in Palestinian colours, inflated them
up and had a big Palestinian flag. So noisy were our protests that the game was broadcast in Israel with
no sound and some Palestinians quickly found out what was going on. The Israeli team manager was spitting nails. The pro-Zionist report was headed ‘outside’ but it was 2 hours non-stop inside.
Glasgow 2006: It was a slight consolation when demonstrations forced an Israeli cricket team out of Glasgow in August, leading them to play in a remote location the Scottish Highlands under armed guard. Since the Israeli State so often puts Palestinians behind barbed wire, it was appropriate that the Apartheid State’s sporting ambassadors had themselves to play behind barbed wire due to popular outrage at Israel’s ongoing murderous attack on Lebanon. The Lebanese resistance gave the invading army a very bloody nose, and we registered a small supporting vicfootball match 2tory.
Edinburgh 2012: “It wasn't much fun being an Israeli footballer at Tynecastle yesterday”, said The Herald in June, against a “noisy backdrop of protests about the imprisonment of Palestinian footballers”. A two-minute video - Without guns they’re rubbish. “A seriously uncomfortable afternoon" for Israel's sporting ambassadors in Scotland

6. We took on the racist JNF when it was not easy
The racist JNF is a fu
ndamental pillar of the Israeli apartheid system, current Honorary Patrons - Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Every Scottish JNF (Jewish National Fund) public event was protested between 2001 and 2014, after which the JNF ended pre-publicity for their events. 
Large protests greeted the glitzy Israel fundraisers, Israeli Ambassador and guest speakers at the Glasgow Hilton in
2001 (Bill Clinton), 2002p11 (Shaul Mofaz), 2004 (Ruby Wax), 2006 (Colin Powell), 2008 (Goldie Hawn). 2002 really set the tone!
ruby waxg the 2004 protests Ruby Wax pulled out of the Israeli Independence Day events in London a month later. Zionist Federation President conceded, "Miss Wax had a bad experience at a JNF function and after that she was thinking of pulling out."
In 2006, hundreds protested the JNF fundraiser at Glasgow Hilton with guest speaker Colin Powell. Sadly, despite emails to UK Palestine groups and individuals and months lead-in time to organise, the JNF event in London with war criminal Powell was virtually ignored, only Friends of Al Aqsa mobilising about 30-40 protestors. Significant UK-wide protests against the JNF developed later.
Following discussions in Geneva in May 2009, Habitat International Coalition (HIC), IJAN (the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and SPSC issued a
public call to set up the Stop the JNF. These three were joined by the Palestinian BNC, BADIL (Palestinian Refugee Rights Centre) for a two-day conference one year later in St Georges West, Edinburgh to launch Stop the JNF. The STUC, Green Party and scores of MPs then endorsed the new organisation.
In 205, 2006, 2007, 2008,
2009, 2010 and 2011 vigorous all-day protests at Bonnyton Golf Club led to the JNF finally parting company with the golf course. Equally noisy all-day events in 2012, 2013 and 2014 at Cowan’s Law shooting range led to the termination of the JNF’s activities there.
In 2011 an unprecedented final tally of 68 Westminster MPs
shocked the JNF by signing Jeremy Corbyn's and Gerald Kaufman’s EDM 1677 welcoming the joint work of “Palestinian Boycott National Committee, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign” in launching Stop the JNF Campaign, David Cameron resigned as a Patron of the increasingly toxic JNF, and Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband also broke with tradition by not signing up as JNF patrons after becoming mainstream party leaders.

7. We have been scoring cultural boycott victories for a decade

  • EIFF Through grassroots campaigning and the mobilization of artists, filmmakers and community activists, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and its allies caused the EIFF (Edinburgh International Film Festival) to reject Israeli Embassy sponsorship of the Festival.
    We only learned six years later through the forced publication of Hillary Clinton’s emails that she had set up a group in the US State Department in Washington DC to try to reverse the BDS success.
    ‘Team America’ failed.
  • In April 2014 the prestigious Stills Gallery agreed to return £1,300 Israeli Embassy sponsorship money and SPSC called off the planned three months of daily protests outside the gallery just behind Waverley Station.
  • 2008 Jerusalem Quartet at the Edinburgh Festival 30-40 SPSC members and supporters protested inside and outside a performance by the Jerusalem Quartet, of whom the World Zionist News Agency had said that the Israeli musicians considered “A rifle in one hand and a violin in the other [to be] the ultimate Zionist statement”. Jonathan Mills, EIF Director denied the evidence that the JQ were linked to the Israeli Army and warned us to back off, as he would equally ineffectively on other occasions.
  • In April 2010 Sheriff John Scott ridiculed and threw out charges of racially-aggravated behaviour against five SPSC members involved in the protest against the Jerusalem Quartet, who have not returned to Scotland.
    The protest and trial was covered by the Scottish press. The Herald front page headline following the decision, for example, read “Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism rules sheriff”.
  • 2012 Aug Batsheva There were vigorous protests in Edinburgh and a call for boycott by prominent Scottish cultural figures. We got an unusually fair coverage on prime-time TV. We worked with partners to organise and coordinate protests in every venue of their follow-up UK tour in October including Edinburgh, Manchester, Bradford, London, and Leicester.
    The protests raised the profile of the BDS Call and triggered
    a series of debates on whether cultural boycott of Israel was justified.
    The Batsheva management
    almost left the Brand Israel programme during the Edinburgh protests. The group have not returned to the UK since.
  • 2014 Another successful campaign of peaceful, noisy protests led to two Israeli State-promoted troupes being ejected from the world’s biggest arts festival. (Two Israeli groups not part of Brand Israel performed unimpeded.) We learn that Israelis artists largely understand that the target of the protests was the Israeli state, not Israelis per se.
  • 2015 Underbelly commissioned five short plays to be performed end to end, followed each time by a discussion of issues raised widely in the Scottish and UK media during the 2014 protests. The plays plus discussions were entitled Walking the Tightrope and SPSC members were included in several of the discussion panels. One discussion included an Israeli diplomat; the Palestinian BNC asked us afterwards to shun Israeli State representatives.
  • 2016: Israeli ‘peace festival’ at the Fringe Through front groups, the Israeli Embassy organised a so-called ‘peace festival’ (Shalom Festival) to celebrate ‘all things Israel’. The aim was explicitly to weaken and defeat the cultural and general boycott effort that has built up over more than a decade of determined effort. The response was an all-day, ten hour counter-demonstration reminding everyone of the full spectrum of Israeli crimes. The Jewish Chronicle invented a group of us making Nazi salutes, then retreated from this invention.       
  • International teamwork at the Fringe August 14th to 17th SPSC members and English, French and German partners – genuine internationalism - maintained a continuous dynamic presence on Middle Meadow Walk at the Fringe promoting cultural BDS, using French inspired street theatre in an area festooned with Palestinian flags and a multitude of banners.

8. Economic boycott achievements

  • Eden Springs had their back to the wall – rescued by Scottish Government grant: SPSC ran a campaign from 2007 against Eden Springs, an Israeli settler company. Some successes in getting contracts cancelled led to the closure of their East of Scotland depot in late 2008, a fact flatly denied by the Jerusalem Post, who repeatedly claimed SPSC were “fabricating” victories against Eden Springs. An FoI (Freedom of Information) enquiry to the Scottish Government revealed, however, that Eden Springs’ Business Development Director wrote to Director of Scottish Enterprise seeking "advice or assistance" on how to avoid further “termination of Eden Springs’ public sector contracts as a result of this boycott”. In response, the Scottish Government gave this Israeli settler company a £200,000 grant, ostensibly to secure employment at their Blantyre depot.
  • Joining the international effort against Veolia Leith Festival in October 2009 refused sponsorship from Veolia, following the launch of a worldwide BDS campaign against Veolia in 2008
  • A Wood Group Campaign launched and led by Aberdeen SPSC has raised the issue of energy apartheid in Palestine and the role of a very high-profile Scottish company. The campaign has gained media exposure in the local and industry press.
  • Edinburgh City Council In December 2010 removed previous favourites Veolia from the bidders list for contracts for public services in the city. SPSC and UNISON had made a joint presentation to the Council against Veolia. It was a modest (though multi-million) success as part of the worldwide pressure that led Veolia in April 2015 to announce the sale of water, waste and energy contracts in Israel.
  • Israeli Dead Sea cosmetics stalls selling the proceeds of Israeli crime were successfully protested in Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Determined protests caused stalls to be removed from: the Wellgate shopping Centre in Dundee; Ocean terminal in Edinburgh; Silverburn, Braehead and St Enoch in Glasgow. (The crooks have returned to Ocean Terminal and St Enochs.)

9. We have defended our right to fight for BDS

  • In January 2005 SPSC and MAB (Scotland) responded to an appeal from Friends of Al Aqsa following an ultimatum from a subsidiary of RBS announcing the closure of the FoA bank account. SPSC announced a programme of protests outside the RBS Headquarters in St Andrews Square, Edinburgh. RBS retreated from their decision and paid FoA some compensation. FoAs Ismail Patel extended their “warmest gratitude to all and in particular to the Muslim Association of Britain, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, MCB and Stop the War Coalition....”  (This occurred shortly after Alliance & Leicester successfully closed the accounts of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in England and Wales.
  • In late 2008 Lloyds TSB announced the withdrawal of banking facilities from Interpal, a UK-based charity supporting the Palestinians under occupation, while Zionists applauded. We launched a militant campaign that spread from Scotland to Newcastle, Bristol and beyond. Lloyds TSB asked for a meeting with SPSC representatives in Jury’s Inn, Jamaica Street, Glasgow. The Lloyds TSB management told us they “had no choice” due to US anti-terrorism legislation and potential swingeing US sanctions against Lloyds TSB; we responded that our pledges to Palestinians meant we also “had no choice” but to continue and escalate the protests. The campaign continued to spread until a solution was reached involving the Bank of England whereby Interpal continued to have access to banking services.
  • In April 2010 Sheriff John Scott ridiculed and threw out charges of racially-aggravated behaviour against five SPSC members arising out of a 2008 Edinburgh Festival protest against the Jerusalem Quartet, of whom the World Zionist News Agency had said that the Israeli musicians considered “A rifle in one hand and a violin in the other [to be] the ultimate Zionist statement”. Jonathan Mills, EIF Director denied the abundant evidence that the JQ were linked to the Israeli Army, evidence that later persuaded Sheriff John Scott. Mills warned us to back off, as he would on other occasions.
    An extended legal process finally revealed that the charges were based on the notion that saying the words “End the siege of Gaza! Genocide in Gaza!” was racist. Two years and a lot of effort and silver were spent to see off this absurdity.
  • 2011 The Scotsman condemned Lothian and Borders Police in an editorial “Half-hearted police apology unhelpful” three years after SPSC Chair Mick Napier was illegally arrested and assaulted by police officers during a tour bus banner protest.
  • 2014: Fit-up charges for alleged “assault” levelled against SPSC member, Mick Napier. Trial collapsed at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court in 2016 after Sheriff Watson viewed some Al Jazeera TV footage and quickly threw out the charges, ruling that no assault had even taken place during the successful protest against the racist JNF at Cowan’s Law.
  • 2014: Charges of racism and aggravated trespass levelled against against two SPSC members arising out of a BDS protest at Braehead Shopping Centre. Trial deserted in October 2016 and all charges dropped.
  • 2014: Charges of aggravated trespass were laid against five SPSC members arising out of a peaceful protest inside Barclays bank in Glasgow Argyle Street. Court appearance for four (one had alibi) scheduled for February 2017. ‘Report’ in the Evening Times is inaccurate in every sentence.
  • 2016: Aberdeen member charged with racism for saying the words 'Viva Palestina' in a shopping centre within earshot of a Jericho Dead Sea cosmetics stall.
  • SCoJeC (Scottish Council of Jewish Communities) had to pulp 6,000 copies of a book they published when SPSC initiated legal action for defamation when they dishonestly and maliciously inserted materials claiming SPSC “demonised Jews” after First Minister Alex Salmond wrote a preface.                 

10. …and seen off highpowered legal threats

  • JNF legal threat - 2004: Four days before the Ruby Wax gig, JNF lawyers demanded damages and an apology. Read here. We replied.
  • Israeli company legal threat - 2007: During protests outside the Edinburgh Caledonian Hotel after it was bought by an Israeli consortium, SPSC received a letter from high-powered lawyers Mishcon de Reya demanding we cease claiming that the hotel was Israeli-owned since this claim was “incredibly damaging” to the company. Since one of Mishcon de Reya’s senior partners is the Zionist fanatic Anthony Julius, we sent a considered reply.
  • Zionist fanatic legal threat - 2009: SPSC website criticised the hypocrisy of pro-Israel propagandist, James MacMillan, who threatened legal action. We asked him to proceed and he backed down then used pages of the Telegraph for some redbaiting. Stand up to bullies like sanctimonious MacMillan who lie and know they lie.
  • The Jerusalem Post tried to spin as “aggressive campaign of intimidation” a St Andrews protest against the racist JNF and Friends of the IDF. The effort was peaceful and successful. Caught red-handed lying about SPSC and the Eden Springs boycott, the Zionist propaganda sheet blustered.

11. Democratic campaigning and protest on Scottish campuses

  • 2004 SPSC launched a successful campaign to elect Mordechai Vanunu as rector of Glasgow University on a platform of opposition to aggressive war, support for Palestinian freedom. This led to a large majority in support of a Green Party motion in support of Vanunu at Glasgow City Council, and a motion to the Holyrood Parliament that gathered majority support, including Nicola Sturgeon and many other big names in the current SNP leadership, for a motion stating that “Vanunu’s election sends an important message to the Palestinian people expressing Scotland’s disgust at their treatment at the hands of the Israeli Government”. Determined lobbying across Scotland achieved here a significant democratic mandate for Palestinian rights.
  • 2006: SPSC members stood John Pilger, award-winning author, journalist and filmmaker (including Palestine is still the Issue) for Edinburgh University Student Rector. A dynamic campaign involving university students and many other Palestine campaigners resulted in Pilger securing 1,400 first preference votes, 400 more than Mordechai Vanunu secured in winning in Glasgow University, but not enough to win in Edinburgh.
  • 2011: SPSC supported the student protest against Ishmael Khaldi’s lecture at Edinburgh University. Khaldi was at that time assistant to Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli advocate of mass murder of Palestinians, ex-nightclub bouncer from Moldova and currently (2016) Israeli Minister of Defence who appointed Eyal Karim as Army Chief Rabbi. Karim openly endorsed Israeli soldiers raping non-Jewish women if it boosts morale in time of war.

12. Partners and friends around the world speak positively

  • PACBI wrote in March 2016 that “Thanks to the dedication and persistence of Palestine solidarity networks in Scotland, Edinburgh has an unbroken record of preventing Scottish cultural events from being used to cover up Israel’s colonial and apartheid system…We salute our Scottish allies and supporters, especially the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and its role in spreading the cultural boycott of Israel in Scotland.
  • Middle East Monitor carried a piece in August 2015 saying “Scottish activists lead the way on BDS” that concluded, We could all learn from the Scottish Palestine solidarity movement”.
  • Lenni Brenner, author of Zionism in the Age of the Dictatorships: I “can say from experience that the SPSC is efficiently dedicated to the Palestinian cause. Indeed I've frequently cited it, here in the US, as a model presenting anti-Zionism to the general public.
  • Raymond Deane, composer and Chair of PSC Ireland, a campaigning group we can learn much from:
    "The Scottish Palestine Solidarity perhaps the world's most energetic and fearless...[group campaigning on Palestine]."
  • Liz Elkind, Scottish Jews for a Just Peace, and 2009 member of the STUC Delegation to Palestine "I support SPSC and its tireless work for Palestine and against Israel's apartheid policies."
  • Israeli economist Shir Hever (Economics of the Occupation): "The level of commitment, organization and enthusiasm of SPSC is unsurpassed by any other Palestinian solidarity group in the world (and I have met dozens such groups). Seeing the dedication of the SPSC activists has been a tremendous inspiration for me, and gave me energy to step up my own activism. I was also deeply moved by the patience and open-mindedness of the SPSC activists who remain true to their rejection of racism of all kinds, and who have become a role-model for activists around the world on how to oppose apartheid."  
  • Ronnie Kasrils, Jewish veteran of theSouth African freedom struggle said support for " SPSC is a positive act of solidarity in a great internationalist cause."
  • Sara Kershnar, founder of International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network:"For all of us committed to solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom and liberation, the commitment and effectiveness of the Scottish PSC is an example and inspiration."     
  • Joel Kovel, author of Overcoming Zionism, Enemy of Nature: “Of all the meritorious solidarity groups I've met and worked with, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign stands out for its dedication, imagination and militancy. SPSC is always in the forefront of the struggle, whether in the fostering of BDS or in the rendering of direct aid to the people of Palestine. This is one group for which the name of solidarity expresses a living presence and not just a slogan. SPSC truly deserves the support of all people of good will."
  • Moshe Machover, veteran Israeli anti-Zionist "Over the years, I have been following the dedicated work of SPSC with admiration."
  • Mike Marquesee: "SPSC has been a beacon over the last decade, setting the pace and picking up the difficult but central challenges facing the Palestine solidarity movement. It's focussed, brave, active and effective, and has sustained a radical, well-informed and necessary critique of Israel and Zionism."
  • Hajo Meyer: "Chris and I had a great experience with your people in Scotland. Only in Ireland and now in South Africa we experienced a similar atmosphere."
  • “Midlothian TUC fully support the work of SPSC in promoting practical solidarity for the people of Palestine. SPSC play an outstanding role in highlighting the complicity, condemning the shirking of responsibility and making known the injustices and crimes being committed." Midlothian Trades Union Council
  • Ismail Patel of Friends of Al Aqsa: "SPSC champion the cause of Palestinians with the zeal and effort that we should all emulate."
  • Yvonne Ridley: "The SPSC is by far the most active and effective campaign group I've witnessed working towards a free Palestine, not just in Scotland but in the wider world. Their high profile work has become a thorn in the side of every Zionist not because of headline-making stunts (of which there have been many) but because of its dogged persistence and commitment to working towards justice for the Palestinians from the West Bank to Gaza."
  • Ben White: "SPSC are doing great things for the cause of Palestinian freedom, combining education with activism. I know from personal experience how they are engaging people in Scotland with an international campaign for equality and justice."
  • Rich Wiles, photographer, author of memoir of Aida Camp, Behind the Wall:"The international advocacy, campaigning, and BDS work of Scottish PSC is more than solidarity, it is part of a growing internationalist and rights-based resistance against Israeli oppression. Palestine needs this kind of support, and SPSC must in turn be supported in order to continue and develop their work. SPSC are continuing to play a leading role in the internationalist resistance against Israeli oppression. Their clear vision in support of fundamental Palestinian rights must be supported, as must their work."
  • 15 MSPs signed motion S4M-04871 which "supports the efforts of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign to raise awareness of the rights of the Palestinian people". 

13. Our enemies have been truly inspirational!

  • In November 2012, an un-named Israeli diplomat is quoted in Haaretz that “Every appearance by an official Israeli representative in Scotland is like a visit to enemy territory" The same series of three articles observed that “Similar boycott efforts also occur in England [but] there is a consensus that "it's worse in Scotland."
  • Ezra Golombok of the Israeli Information Office in Scotland in 2010:” Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign [is] one of the main sources of anti-Israeli action...behind an “upsurge in anti-Israel content in the media.”
  • The admittedly somewhat mad Scottish Friends of Israel: “…Scotland has witnessed a noticeable public anti-Israel sentiment, prominently driven by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign…”
  • Mr Golombok also saw SPSC as “a highly active anti-Israeli lobby in Scotland [that] seems well-funded and its few activist leaders are knowledgeable, expert in exploiting any situation for sniping at Israel..."
  • Friends of Israel groups have been set up with Israeli Embassy support specifically to counter the activities of SPSC in the area of popular mobilisation.

14. International cooperation

  • Delegations to Palestine
    Since it was founded, SPSC has led delegations to Palestine, including inside ’48 – ’67 Israel. Our message has always been that we can only accept their hospitality if we return home to build a campaign of support for the freedom the Palestinian people, whose land, towns and villages, and homes Britain gave over to European Jewish colonisation in 1917. Many have done so on return. Members have been hosted in
    Gaza in 2008 and in most recently in 2016.
  • Cairo Conferences on US and Zionist occupation were an opportunity to meet with like-minded Arab, Palestinian and international campaigners and establish working partnerships and projects where possible. In different years, we demonstrated in Cairo, and organised a convoy to Gaza that was stopped in Sinai by the Egyptian police. During the 208 conference we offered a paper for discussion, The Decline of the Anti-war Movement, the Issue of Palestine & Arab Resistance to Occupation
  • The Gaza Freedom March brought 1,400 from around the world to Cairo for a march to test the siege of Gaza. The Mubarak dictatorship prevented us from proceeding to Gaza we demonstrated defiantly in Tahrir Square and elsewhere in the heart of Cairo. There was a thuggish police response but we defied them. SPSC was thrust into a leadership role during a crisis within the larger group.
  • Welcome to Palestine in 2011 and again in 2012 was a mainly French-driven initiative that recognised that Palestine is a giant prison but demanded visiting rights to the prison. We asserted our right to visit Palestine openly and for Palestinians to openly receive visitors. The effort generated very considerable publicity.
  • 2011, the series of uprisings known as the Arab Spring began in Tunisia. SPSC was invited to participate in a UK delegation to that country to see the revolutionary developments first-hand. Nothing prepares you for a popular uprising.
  • SPSC representatives have attended international meetings in Beirut, Bilbao, Brussels, Geneva, Porto Alegre to learn from the experience of other solidarity campaigners and to share our own experience.


Highland Regional Councillors voted today in full Council to condemn “the Government of Israel for its continuing illegal occupation of Palestine’s East Jerusalem and the West Bank and for its continuing illegal blockade of Gaza”. The Councillors, departing from UK Government policy, also welcomed “the decision of the United Nations on 29 November 2012 to grant ‘non-member observer State’ to Palestine.”   This decision of the Council provides a basis for current work across the region to extend the BDS campaign.

Mick Napier
19 December 2013

Scottish Zionist leaders reacted to the impending vote in their usual irresponsible and reckless manner, defending Israeli crime by manipulating the fears of Scottish Jews. Three days before the vote, Scottish Council of Jewish Communities spokesperson Linda Martin warned darkly in the local press of possible physical attacks on Jews if Israel was criticised.

Ms Martin claimed somewhat disingenuously that “The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities has no collective view on Israeli policies.” Their claimed neutrality towards Israel’s crimes is manifestly untrue, however, since SCoJeC’s leaders never criticise any Israeli massacre and miss no opportunity to smear criticism of Israel with wholly fabricated claims of anti-semitism. These antics have laid SCoJeC’s leaders open to severe criticism from within the Scottish Jewish community.

Ms Martin (left) is not only dishonest; she is extremely reckless. She claims on behalf of SCoJeC who claim to speak for all Scottish Jews that she is “concerned at recent research findings that reveal verbal and sometimes physical attacks on Jewish people in Scotland because of their perceived identification with Israel”. Such efforts to implicate the Scottish Jewish community in the crimes of the state of Israel have been vigorously repudiated by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond. She also claims that “disproportionate criticism levied at Israel by some politicians makes people feel alienated and vulnerable.” There is, however, no reputable research in the public domain that Scottish Jews are “physically...attacked because of their perceived identification with Israel”. If this were proven to be true, rather than manufactured by committed Zionists, Scottish PSC would vigorously condemn such violence. Perhaps Ms Martin can share her evidence with the public, bearing in mind that Zionists have a long record of exaggerating and welcoming real anti-semitism to support their efforts to persuade Jews to emigrate to Israel/Palestine. Political Zionists, open supporters of Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing, also whinge loudly and claim 'anti-semitism' to deflect the severe criticism their racist and violent ideology merits.

Highland Regional Council covers over a third of the Scottish mainland and is the seventh out of thirty two Scottish councils in population size.

While the Council stopped short of supporting BDS on this occasion, the Council vote took place without any preparatory work beforehand and thus casts a very bright light on the current state of British opinion at local government level. Zionists are acutely aware of the pariah status of Israel in popular opinion across the world and throughout the UK. How much longer will Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and the Charities Commission be able to protect the apartheid state from popular opinion as Israel crosses red line after line of sustained criminality? Only today the Zionist editors of the UK Jewish Chronicle warn of Israel's fears of a "sanctions tsunami" which Israeli Government advisors have warned "possesses strategic significance, and may develop into a comprehensive existential threat within a few years".

The lessons, therefore, are clear for those who support Palestinian freedom from Israel's mass and casual killings and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people - organise across Scotland, the UK and internationally to build the BDS campaign that is the ONLY thing that scares the killers and ethnic cleansers.

Mick Napier
19 December 2013


Mural at Abu Dis SPSC Summer 05This trip is an opportunity to visit Palestine to learn more about the reality Palestinians face every day, in order to provide effective solidarity back in Scotland. The project will include collective preparation and research prior to the visit, as well as the production of materials and presentations following the visit.

SPSC has organised a number of delegations to Palestine over the years. These have been highly successful in informing the work that the SPSC does in Scotland and maintaining links with Palestinian civil society organisations and activists. Our aims are to educate ourselves, to investigate the role of corporations and institutions in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights and to mobilise Scottish public and civil society in support of the Palestinian call for BDS (a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against the state of Israel) upon our return.

For more information & an application form please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



SPSC launched in Scotland the Palestinian call for boycott of Israel and has worked with some success to promote it. SPSC built support for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel into a mainstream position in Scottish politics.  We co-founded the broad-based Boycott Israel Network (BIN).

As a result pf this work,

  • an Israeli diplomat complained: "Every appearance by an official Israeli representative in Scotland is like a visit to enemy territory."
  • According to the (admittedly idiots at) the Israel Information office in Scotland, SPSC "seems well-funded...its activist leaders are knowledgeable, expert in exploiting any situation for sniping at Israel..." 
    We are not 'well-funded'!

SPSC consistently opposed the effort to conflate opposition to Israel with anti-Semitism. Successes here include:

  • Scottish court ruled that opposition to Israel is not to be confused with anti-Semitism. This victory ended effort by Edinburgh PF to criminalise all Palestine solidarity.
  • 6,000 books published by Zionist leaders of SCoJeC alleging SPSC was anti-Semitic had to be pulped following legal action.

Cultural boycott: SPSC

  • organised vigorous protests against Israeli State-financed Batsheva dance troupe at the 2012 Edinburgh EIF and worked with partners to extend those protests UK-wide into every Batsheva performance, and even to Italy..
  • successfully campaigned to get the Edinburgh International Film Festival to return sponsorship money from the Israeli Embassy in 2006 and again in 2009,
  • protested performances inside and outside by 'Distinguished IDF (Israeli Army) Musicians' at the 2008 EIF. Similar protests of the Jerusalem Quartet followed elsewhere.

Economic boycott: SPSC

  • initiated and maintained the boycott campaign against an Israeli settler company, Eden Springs, who complained to the Scottish Government they were "being targeted by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign [and] a wave of recent threatening the future of Eden Springs UK."
  • highlighted Veolia's role in providing services to illegal Israeli settlements, leading to Leith Community Festival rejecting their sponsorship in 2010.  SPSC obtained a strong legal opinion to neutralse the claim by Edinburgh City Council legal officials that Thatcher-era legislation made boycott activities illegal..  Veolia were silently dropped by Edinburgh City Council.

Countering pro-Zionist economic boycott in UK: SPSC campaigned against banks working to damage Palestine solidarity efforts. 

  • We campaigned successfully with Friends of Al Aqsa, a Muslim pro-Palestine campaign, to force a retreat by Royal Bank of Scotland from its threat to withdraw banking facilities from the organisation, and
  • We flagged up and, with others across the UK, stopped Lloyds TSB's threatened withdrawal of banking facilities from the charity Interpal, who send humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Sporting boycott: SPSC

  • joined others in forcing the Israeli cricket team to withdraw from their Glasgow games in 2006
  • protestedIsrael's Under-21s football team in Hamilton when over 500 protesters 'upset' the off-duty soldiers managing, coaching playing for Israel
  • vigorously protested the Israel v Scotland Women's game at Tynecastle

Racist JNF (Jewish National Fund): SPSC

helped build large protests at every gala fundraising event of the JNF (Jewish National Fund) at the Glasgow Hilton. These events stopped after 2008. SPSC co-founded both the UK and International Stop the JNF Campaigns.

Legal fights: SPSC

faced legal attacks , successfully defying threats to sue from the Israeli-owned Caledonian Hilton, the racist JNF.  The 'SPSC 5' saw off the effort by the Edinburgh Procurator Fiscal to effectively criminalise all Palestine solidarity as 'racist'.

In other campaigns SPSC

  • initiated and led the successful campaign to elect Israeli political prisoner Mordechai Vanunu as Rector of Glasgow University in 2004.
  • secured the support of a  majority of MSPs for a motion "expressing Scotland's disgust at their [Palestinians'] treatment at the hands of the Israeli Government".
    supported protests against visits by Israeli diplomats to Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities


The situation in Palestine continues to worsen, with continuing dispossession, mass imprisonment, house demolitions, illegal settlement building, burnings and killings by the Israeli State

British Government complicity with Israel is total and the Scottish Government has financed an Israeli settler company, Eden Springs, with £200,000 of taxpayers' money.

SECOND LIST OF REASONS: (the bad news) SPSC remains too small to achieve our goals.  We need your active support

  • some of your energy, however much or little you can give, on a regular and sustainable basis.
  • some of your intelligence to solve together some of the many problems and difficulties we face.
  • your skills – don't doubt that you have some and that we can benefit from them.
  • a little of your money – we have no paid employees, we never have enough money to achieve all our aims.

I want to join Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign



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