Scottish PSC has been made aware of a statement by Mohammad Asif, Afghan Human Rights Foundation, that he was ‘verbally abused and physically assaulted & shove by an individual while I was marching for Palestine’ and that the ‘movement against the Israeli apartheid and anti racism does not belong to one individual or one organisation’. It also appears that Asif has made known the individual and organisation referred to in his statement are Mick Napier and Scottish PSC.
At a time when it is critical, even after a ceasefire, that international civil society organise effectively to isolate the apartheid state of Israel and to end governmental and institutional complicity with Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people, we believe it is important that we respond to these baseless and destructive claims. In doing so we bring to an end this divisive allegation which only benefits the organised Zionists that we oppose.
The demonstration in Glasgow was initiated by a group that invited Scottish PSC, represented by Mick Napier, to help organise the event. In Glasgow on Sunday 16 May, stewards asked participants that they step away from the large Palestinian flag that led the march to make space in order that onlookers could get a clear view. Asif was asked several times by stewards, and refused, to move forward or to step away from obscuring the flag, and twice police officers led Asif away when asked by stewards to assist. Mick, assisting stewards as one of the organisers, also asked Asif several times to move when finally Asif shouted that he was assaulted, and several minutes later while the march proceeded toward the BBC HQ, police officers arrested Mick and led him to the side of the demonstration. At this point the march stopped and demonstrators demanded that Mick was released; police did so on instruction of a senior officer.
Mick did not verbally abuse or physically assault Asif at any point and we reject these claims as malicious.
We are disappointed that Asif is looking to stir up hostility toward a prominent member of Scottish PSC and the work of the campaign. Scottish PSC was founded in 2000 following the start of the second Palestinian uprising (intifada). We work not only during the days when Israel escalate their killing of Palestinians, but 365 days a year, working with Palestinian partners to build in Scotland solidarity campaigns that are effective and respond to the very clear call from Palestinian civil society that we aim to isolate the apartheid state of Israel through boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). We have had some success – we no longer see Israel-state sponsored events taking place as part of the Edinburgh festivals; a key pillar of Israeli apartheid, the JNF, no longer hold high profile fund raisers in Scotland; pension funds have divested from Bank Hapoalim through our mobilisation of the Time to Divest campaign; and in response to our petition, the Scottish Government have stated that they support the right of Scottish civil society to support BDS at a time when the Tory government is seeking to criminalise this right. It is for good reason that Israeli officials and pro-Israel lobby groups target Scottish PSC.
There are many diverse campaigns and initiatives in support of Palestinian rights in Scotland and Scottish PSC is one. We are a national organisation, have a record that we are proud of and a strategy that is in line with the call from our Palestinian partners. For this reason, we will continue to urge all those concerned with driving forward effective solidarity in Scotland to become a member, to support us and to get involved.
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign