You may receive a communication making allegations of racism, support for murder and terrorism, Holocaust denial and heaven knows what else against the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign or other groups campaigning for Palestinian rights. The information provided below should clarify for any reader that these allegations are without any basis in fact.
What we Stand for
SPSC works to end what Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the UNHRC and others consider to be Israeli ‘war crimes’ and ‘crimes again humanity’. We are opposed to all forms of racism and envisage a solution to the crisis in Israel-Palestine based on the dismantling of the Apartheid structures enforced by the Israeli State and the securing of equal rights for all. A full statement is given at bottom.
Pro-Israel politicians and groups lavishly funded by the Israeli Embassy are working to close down public discussion of these crimes. Accusations are thrown around that critics of Israel are ‘anti-Semitic’ but these accusations are regularly dismissed when the accusations are tested in court.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Israeli Physicians for Human Rights, the UNHRC and many other human rights bodies have repeatedly condemned Israel’s ‘war crimes’ and ‘crimes again humanity’. The State of Israel denies Palestinians many rights specified in international law; it uses massacres, torture, mass imprisonment, collective punishment, house demolitions, denial of water, denial of basic services, and more.
Support for Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
1. Aberdeen City Council decisively rejected a December 2016 move by pro-Israel councillors to smear the efforts of SPSC in the city and all opposition to the crimes of the State of Israel as anti-Semitic, i.e. ‘anti-Semitism masked as anti-Israel sentiment’.
2. Recognition of SPSC’s work for Palestinian human rights is long standing: a 2011 motion to the Scottish Parliament signed by over 40 MSPs “supports the efforts of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign to raise awareness of the rights of the Palestinian people”. The same motion also “calls on the UK Government to stop arms sales to Israel”, a position also shared by the current Scottish Government.
3. Earlier that year 68 Westminster MPs signed the motion in the name of Jeremy Corbyn and Gerald Kaufman, who was Jewish, welcoming “the Stop the Jewish National Fund (JNF) Campaign launched on 30 March 2011 by the Palestinian Boycott National Committee, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and others to inform the public about the JNF[‘s] ongoing illegal expropriation of Palestinian land, concealing of destroyed Palestinian villages beneath parks and forests, and prevention of refugees from returning to their homes”.
4. SPSC has received a letter of support from ex-Chief Inspector Gavin Buist:
I was the Chief Inspector in Edinburgh City centre who commanded most of the policing operations around the unofficial rallies and marches organised by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign… You and your colleagues have my unequivocal support.
5. The issue of Palestinian freedom is one of rights; Jewish voices in support of Scottish PSC include:
- "I support SPSC and strongly urge support for its tireless work for Palestine and against Israel's apartheid policies and oppressive actions against Palestinians and their homes and communities."
Liz Elkind, Scottish Jews for a Just Peace
- " I was 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 without falling into the temptation of making hateful remarks or making unfair generalizations."
Shir Hever, Israeli author
- "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."
Sara Kershnar, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
- "I've done a good bit of traveling in the US, UK, Canada and Ireland in the struggle to bring justice to Palestine. And of all the meritorious solidarity groups I've met and worked with, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign stands out…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."
Joel Kovel, author of Overcoming Zionism, Enemy of Nature, and many other titles.
- "Over the years, I have been following the dedicated work of SPSC with admiration. I strongly support SPSC."
Moshé Machover, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, King’s College, author of Israelis and Palestinians: Conflict and Resolution
6. For the record
Following a January 2013 effort to get an SPSC meeting banned in Fife, one prominent Edinburgh church responded to an enquiry from the Fife venue concerned (who rebuffed the censorship attempt):
This group has had bookings with us for some years and we have not had any reason for concern for their conduct while on our premises nor any complaints from the public. This group’s occasional use of our premises has now gone on for so long that no-one can now recall how they came to use our building but as a church we have always had a concern for the situation in Israel/Palestine and indeed for many other areas of conflict. Clearly SPSC is a campaigning group whose views would be very unattractive with people whose sympathies lie with Israel. We would not see that as a reason to prevent them having the use of a space to set out their views in a reasonable fashion and within the law.
“Disregard for pluralism, tolerance, freedom of expression”
1. An attempt was made in Edinburgh Sheriff Court in 2008 to charge five SPSC members with ‘racism’ for activities in support of the Palestinian call for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against institutions complicit in Israel’s crimes. Sheriff John Scott ridiculed and threw out all charges, noting of the human rights protest that “the procurator fiscal's attempts to squeeze malice and ill will were rather strained".
2. When the University and College Union was accused of anti-Semitism for supporting Palestinian rights, an employment tribunal “dismissed in their totality” all claims advanced by a Zionist activist that the union was anti-Semitic and rebuked the complainant for misusing the legal process, branding the action “an impermissible attempt to achieve a political end by litigious means” which showed a “worrying disregard for pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression”.
3. Facing allegations of anti-Semitism from pro-Israel sources, then-Assistant Secretary of the STUC (Scottish Trade Union Congress) responded:
We must never underestimate the Zionist lobby. And we must be prepared to stand up to their accusations of anti-Semitism. I have seen the apartheid wall, the checkpoints, and the displacement of people from their homes and their land. This is ethnic cleansing. It is not the STUC, and those that support BDS, that are the racists.
4. When the Church of Scotland opposed the use of the Christian Bible to dispossess the Palestinian or any other people, Scottish Zionists insisted they have a Divine authority to dispossess Palestinians and shrilly condemned what it called the Church of Scotland’s “inquisition-era polemic against Jews and Judaism…breath-taking…arrogant”.
In 2008 four Zionist writers published a book which contained the wholly invented and defamatory claim that SPSC ‘demonised Jews’. Following legal action and intervention by then-Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, all 6,000 copies of the book were pulped - a clear admission that the allegations of racism were entirely unfounded.
What SPSC Stands for
The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign started in autumn 2000 in response to the Palestinian second uprising against Israeli occupation (intifada). The SPSC has branches and groups of supporters in several Scottish cities and universities, as well as individual members across Scotland. We are all volunteers, independent of all political formations, and wholly dependent on donations to finance our activities. We are unaligned with any Palestinian factions and support the right of the Palestinian people as a whole to self-determination.
- A complete withdrawal of all Israeli military and paramilitary forces from the areas occupied by Israel in 1967
- The right of all Palestinian refugees ethnically cleansed from their homes and their descendants to return to their homes or the areas from which they were driven, in line with UN Resolution 194.
- An end to the Zionist project of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
- Self-determination for Palestinians.
- Equal rights for Palestinians living in Israel.
- An end to all British arms sales to Israel.