Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Media Release
Protests planned as Glasgow Council leader promotes “arms to Israel” firm
The leader of Glasgow’s local government has been criticised for promoting a Conference that will hear from a controversial arms firm accused of facilitating Israel’s war on Gaza.
Susan Aitken, the leader of the SNP minority council government, had previously attempted to distance herself from a 2018 arms fair involving BAE Systems, blaming the former Labour leadership for having organised the event prior to SNP winning control of the Council.
The 25th State of the City Economy Conference takes place at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow’s Argyle Street on Friday 24th November. Sir Simon Lister OBE, a Managing Director within the BAE arms firm, is due to speak on a platform with Aitken from 1030am.
After acknowledging concerns raised by campaigners who targeted the 2018 arms fair, Aitken told reporters at the time that attempts to secure future conference business would consider not just economic criteria, but would also “examine wider strategic aims including [Glasgow] being a human rights-supporting city and other ethical concerns.”
A protest is planned from 9am at the hotel by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), along with other groups that make up the recently formed Gaza Genocide Emergency Committee.
SPSC spokesperson, Mick Napier, criticised the Council leader saying, “either Aitken misunderstands her party’s position or the Scottish people do.” Napier, who co-chaired last Saturday’s national demonstration at Glasgow Green went on, “Humza Yousef spoke passionately in Tuesday’s Scottish Parliamentary debate about the complete devastation caused by Israel’s dropping of more than 10,000 bombs on one of the most densely populated areas in the world. He called for a Ceasefire and for those in power to use their influence to prevent further loss of life.”
Mr Napier continued, “Aitken’s position is entirely at odds with the Scottish Government’s rhetoric. She too needs to use her influence and play her part in preventing further loss of life. BAE produce Fighter Aircraft used by Israel to drop those bombs on the people of Gaza. If the SNP really stands for human rights, clearly it needs to condemn companies that supply arms to Israel, not promote them. The people of Scotland might be wondering if the First Minister’s words were hollow.”
According to investors, shares in BAE Systems have risen recently since Israel placed a further multibillion-dollar F-35 Fighter Aircraft order. Talking of the part-British-made planes, Israeli General Herzi Halevi said they made it possible to carry “very heavy munitions, a very good connection between what the [ground] force needs and what the plane knows to give.”
As well as the protest at the Radisson Hotel on Friday, the campaign group’s website indicates that protests are being held throughout Scotland this Saturday, and a further National Demonstration is scheduled for 2nd December at 1pm, assembling at Edinburgh’s Regent Road.
Notes for editors:
1. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign started in autumn 2000 in response to the Palestinian second uprising against Israeli occupation (Intifada). SPSC has branches and supporters throughout Scotland and elsewhere.
2. The Gaza Genocide Emergency Committee (GGEC) formed in response to Israel’s bombing of Gaza which, as of 22/11/23, had led to the loss of around 14,500 mostly women and children, with many more wounded, and many more unaccounted for. The Committee includes, but is not limited to, the following groups:
- Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
- Scottish Palestinian Society
- Muslim Council of Scotland
- Muslim Association of Britain
- Palestine Action
- Scotland Against Criminalising Communities
- Scottish Association of Mosques
- Friends of Al-Aqsa
- Glasgow Palestine human Rights Campaign
- Lebanese Community Scotland
- MEND: Muslim Engagement and Development
- Scottish Friends of Palestine
3. Susan Aitken blames the former Labour leadership re the 2018 arms fair here:
4. Details of the 25th State of the City Economy Conference can be found here:
5. Humza Yousef moving the Ceasefire motion on 21/11/23 can be found here:
6. Details of BAE shares rising on Israel’s recent F-35 purchase can be found here:
7. The comments of the IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, can be found here: