Jewish Schoolchildren in Glasgow celebrating something
1 November 2016: SNP Deputy says Scotland can play a constructive role in Middle East as he leads official Israel visit
The SNP is to launch its first official trip to Israel as part of ambitious plans for Scotland to play a role in helping achieve peace in the Middle East. Angus Robertson will lead an official delegation to the region after saying he had been “encouraged to explore whether there is any way Scotland can offer help and assistance.” He added that both the Israeli Ambassador and the Palestinian envoy to the UK have welcomed his interest and added that small nations had already shown they could play a positive role, citing the example of the Oslo accords.
The SNP government is adopting an enlightened view of politics in the middle east which deserves praise. Scottish Jews should be encouraged to fully participate in the struggle for independence and when achieved the development of an independent Scotland free of any racist policies or activities. Scotland has a proud record of welcoming immigrants of all nationalities. It is the only country in Europe that has never forced Jews to leave. The photograph below pictures soldiers at war in defence of their country (Scotland). Many never made it home and are buried in the fields of Flanders. There is one distinguishing factor linking these brave young men. They are all Jews.
Scottish Jews: France 1917
Why Were the Voices of the Jews Not Heard In Scotland at the Time of the Referendum
The dearth of any Jewish contribution to the recent debate and subsequent referendum, over the future of Scotland gives cause for concern. Whilst not huge in number in Scotland the Jewish community is, (and has been for many centuries) an integral and important part of Scottish society and it is crucial they get involved in mainstream Scottish politics so that their voices can be heard in any debate. It might be a, “Friends of Israel” group could be set up within the SNP so that voices of moderation could be heard ensuring other sides of any adverse comment about the state of Israel could be made public.
The people of Scotland fully support the State of Israel and it’s right to exist, in peace with it’s neighbours. But Scotland also support the Palestinians and their right also to exist as a country, at peace with it’s neighbours. The problem for the Scottish public, (and I include Scottish Jews here) is the right wing government of Israel and it’s pursuit of policies directed against the Palestinians.
“Might is not right”. England imposed brutality on Scotland for many centuries before realizing that they needed to embrace the Scots not throttle them. Hence the unbroken 300 year old peace in the Island. Scotland will one day assert it’s right to be a free nation and will separate, but live in peace with England. There might be lessons for Israel and Palestine to learn from our experiences.
I identified the, Jewish Chronicle, (http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/comment/117792/why-i-want-scottish-independence) as a likely source of Scottish comment and extracted a few relevant articles in support of my assertions. We need a debate now so that we will be able to make progress very soon. Time is never on the side of the righteous.
Scottish Jews march with Palestine supporters for a just peace
Why I want Scottish Independence By Frank Angell
I am a Scottish Jew — and I am wholeheartedly voting Yes on September 18, and so are others of my acquaintance. Scotland’s strength is the diversity of the many cultures and faiths that thrive in our communities. Each culture brings with it values, ideas and innovations that enrich our arts, our language and our lives.
It is fewer than 200 years since Jews first came to Scotland in significant numbers. Since then, Jewish workers and entrepreneurs have helped to grow Scotland’s economy, while Jewish writers, artists and performers have contributed to our culture. Our community may be a relatively small one, but we have been shown every courtesy and respect by First Minister Alex Salmond and his team of ministers since they came to office in 2007.
Indeed, one of Mr Salmond’s early acts as First Minister was to visit Scotland’s only Jewish school at the start of Chanucah, and to meet representatives from the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities. In 2009, the Jewish community was, rightly, included in the first meeting to take place between the Scottish government cabinet and faith group leaders in Scotland. And I was proud when the SNP government became the first administration in Scotland to directly fund visits by school children to Auschwitz-Birkenau, under the Lessons from Auschwitz project run by the Holocaust Educational Trust — with an additional £500,000 funding announced just last year to secure the future of this vital project.
These are just some examples of the interaction that takes place between Jewish representatives and the Scottish government, with positive outcomes on virtually every occasion. I would hazard that it is a rather closer relationship with the leading ministers in Scotland than our fellow Jews south of the border enjoy with Westminster — and one which is replicated by other communities and interest groups in Scotland, whether that be other faiths, business organisations, trade unions, and so on.
I do not claim that Scotland is perfect, with no problems of intolerance or prejudice.But our history is at least unstained by anti-Jewish discrimination, rare among European nations, and our 14th century independence Declaration of Arbroath contains the statement: “There is neither weighing nor distinction of Jew and Greek, Scotsman or Englishman.” These are ancient words, but they still seem a fine sentiment to usher in a new Scotland in the 21st century.
As we look forward to the referendum, there is a wave of optimism, and people across Scotland are realising that we now have a chance to make our country better for all who live here, and reshape the way we are regarded by the rest of the world. I want independence, and I also want the common ground across all the strands that make up our Scottish tartan to be the foundation for the new Scotland. I want Scotland to embrace the future as an independent country — and I believe that we will do so with conviction and tolerance.
Scots head for a yes vote despite fear over Israel By Adam Henderson and Daniel Easterman, September 11, 2014
Many in the Scottish Jewish community will put aside concerns over a future Scottish government’s Middle East policy when the vote in next Thursday’s referendum. Scottish Jews are concerned that independence could lead to a rise in anti-Zionism but, for many, it will not stop them voting yes. Scotland’s 6,000-strong community has faced a summer of rising anti-Israel protest amid the Gaza conflict, with Glasgow and Edinburgh town halls flying the Palestinian flag and protesters boycotting stores stocking Israeli goods.
With the latest polling putting the yes and no camps at level pegging in the run-up to the vote on September 18, Jews are having to consider what effect independence could have on issues such as circumcision and kosher slaughter, and whether a new government would pursue a harder line on Israel. But Paul Morron, president of the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, believes that whatever happens next Thursday, there will no reason for the community to panic. “We need to retain a sense of proportion in this. We mustn’t talk ourselves into a more serious position than we’re already in,” he warned.
“An independent Scottish government will have control over foreign policy and that may take a more anti-Israel view. This could increase pressure on the community. We have seen how quickly anti-Israel feeling can turn into anti-Semitism. “In the last 60 years Glasgow has not suffered this level of anti-Semitism so of course there is a major shock wave going through the community. But this did not happen in an independent Scotland – it happened within the union.”
Mr Morron said he was sure Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, who is leading the yes campaign, had the best interests of the Jewish community at heart. “He is the only political leader in Scotland at the moment who has been outspoken against anti-Semitism,” Mr Morron said. He called on the community to take a more proactive approach in tackling anti-Israel activity regardless of the result of the referendum. “I believe the Jewish community should not fear independence. This is our Scotland as much as it is anyone else’s Scotland and we need to have the confidence that we – along with out friends – can influence the agenda and bring our positive case for Israel to the wider community.”
The Glasgow Jewish Lads Brigade
JM: charity worker from Edinburgh.
Undecided on which way to vote when interviewed a year ago. With less than a week to go, she has decided to tick the yes box. She said: “I do prefer the devo-max option and I believe it’s quite interesting that Westminster and the media have offered us that at the last minute but I’ll won’t change my vote now. I think the Westminster politicians didn’t take the needs of the Scottish people seriously and they are panicking.” Ms Mundy said she was unsure a government in Edinburgh would follow a more anti-Israel policy, but pointed out that Scottish Jews “would have a closer connection to the politicians and that we could do something about it”. She acknowledged that many in the community were going to vote no. “The whole of the Edinburgh community is quite split on it,” she said.
Frank Angell: Is in favour of independence
Frank, a former Scottish National Party council nominee, said: “Scotland is not a racist country and I don’t see it becoming a racist country. Nicola Sturgeon, the deputy First Minister, confirmed in a letter to my MSP, Stewart Maxwell, that there will be no change in law on shechita and circumcision. “The anti-Israel feeling in Scotland does worry me but not as far as independence is concerned. It hasn’t been any better in England and although the Scottish Parliament is currently not pro-Israel, policies change. We need strong convictions in taking the case for Israel to the wider community and I’m not currently seeing that.”
A Scottish Jewess speaks out against Israeli policies against Palestine