The Jewish Telegraph reports that Police Scotland were involved in the decision of the Renfield Centre on Bath Street, Glasgow, to cancel a booking by Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign where David Miller is to speak on ‘Free Speech on Palestine - Stop the Witch-hunt’. SPSC has booked rooms there for 20 years. The paper gloats that “Police Scotland advised the centre to cancel”. The Renfield Centre manager is quoted:
“Police Scotland told us Mr Miller represents an organisation which supports the BDS movement against Israel. We were unaware of this fact or the sensitivities involved...The police suggested we reconsider the booking on the basis that if it went ahead, there could be public protests...Our decision on this occasion was based purely on safety grounds.”
BDS is the nonviolent campaign called by Palestinian trades unions, churches, artists and academics against Israel's human rights breaches. The Scottish government recognises the right of public bodies to adopt BDS policies - but it seems Police Scotland has decided otherwise.
As usual the Jewish Telegraph story is riddled with distortions and inventions but the claim needs to be taken seriously that Police Scotland intervened to call for the cancellation of a political meeting in support of |Palestinian freedom and opposition to Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing
The meetings go ahead on time and at the venues indicated, either inside or outside.
The Jewish Telegraph and Glasgow Friends of Israel support every Israeli massacre of Palestinians and every crime by a state held guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Israeli moves to criminalise Palestinian human rights groups goes hand in hand with increased repression against pro-Palestine voices. Previous SPSC meetings have been cancelled under pressure from supporters of israeli crimes, eg with Labour Party Jewish activist Jackie Walker and ex-UN rapporteur for human rights in Palestine, Richard Falk.
The extreme racism of Glasgow Friends of Israel has found expression in their welcoming Israel “euthanizing” Palestinians. A discussion on their Facebook page welcomed the New Zealand mosque massacre of Muslim wOrshippers as “payback for what Muslims have done” and other similarly vile posts.
If Police Scotland are now openly pressuring venues to cancel our meetings we have no recourse but to seek public support to oppose this sinister development. Truss and her crew are threatening to criminalise the democratic rights of asylum seekers, trade unionists and local authorities as well as pro-Palestine advocacy. Where Scotland is unique is in the role of state bodies – criminal prosecutors and police – to repress democratic political activity. SPSC has seen off repeated prosecution efforts and will continue to fight back but we need your support to tell Police Scotland that we don’t accept police censorship of our political meetings.
Free Speech on Palestine
Jeanette Findlay, UCU Scotland VP
Free events - open to all supporters of human rights
Mon 26 Sep @ 7.30pm
The Renfield Centre, 260 Bath Street, Glasgow G2 4JP
Tue 27 Sep @ 7.15pm
Quaker Meeting House, Victoria Terrace, EH1 2JL
The Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs was set up to weaken BDS and growing international support for the people of Palestine. Amplified by the mainstream media, weaponised accusations of anti-Semitism are employed to chill free speech. This shifts attention from Israel's crimes by manufacturing storms of faux outrage over the "anti-Semitism" of its accusers. Increasingly, independent journalists and academics have been under attack.
David Miller was professor of Sociology at Bristol University until October 2021, when he was sacked following a smear campaign by the Israel lobby. David is co-founder of ‘Spinwatch’, examining the role of propaganda in public relations and is a leading expert in Islamophobia and corporate lobbying.
Join us to discuss why free speech on Palestine is being attacked and what we can do to fight back.