A secret document has emerged revealing how Israeli embassy officials in Britain sought a meeting with Scotland’s most senior legal official to discuss the Scottish Jewish community. Released under the Freedom of Information Act, the communication between the Lord Advocate and the embassy suggested a meeting which would enable the Apartheid State to discuss “Jewish relationships in Scotland” and the “Israeli and Scottish prosecutorial systems”.
There are now questions being raised as to why the law chief would meet with the diplomats of a foreign state to discuss issues affecting a Scottish community. According to Mick Napier, co-founder of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), the correspondence revealed what he calls “a cosy relationship”.
The email exchange came after the then First Minister Alex Salmond attacked the idea that Scottish Jews “should be judged or affected” by the policies of Israel. “The Jewish community is not liable for those policies,” he said in a Jewish Chronicle report.
Napier is sifting through a series of redacted emails and other documents obtained by the SPSC. “It’s one thing for Polish, Chinese or Israeli diplomats to meet Scottish officials to discuss the Polish, Chinese or Israeli communities living in Scotland,” he said, “but in May 2010 Alex Salmond rightly attacked the idea that Scottish Jews should be judged or affected by the policies of Israel. If that is the case, and the Jewish community cannot be held liable for the actions of Israel, it is therefore troubling that the Lord Advocate has now accepted the partisan Zionist claim that the Israel State in some way represents Scottish Jews. Having officially endorsed this central tenet of Zionism, the Lord Advocate’s office cannot now offer justice to the victims of Zionism, the Scottish-Palestinian community, nor to political opponents of Zionism.”
He also expressed his concern that the senior law administrator agreed to meet embassy officials representing a country that “runs an openly racist legal system.”
Napier was speaking just a few hours after he and fellow SPSC member Jim Watson appeared in Glasgow Sheriff Court to face charges including aggravated trespass and racial aggravation arising from a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in the Braehead Shopping Centre just over two years ago. The case was “deserted,” said Napier, due to the presiding Sheriff’s illness. “That now means that four vicious legal attacks on SPSC members over eight years have failed,” the veteran campaigner added.
Ally Coutts in Aberdeen, meanwhile, is still charged with saying “Viva Palestina” within earshot of an Israeli Dead Sea Cosmetics stall that was selling goods made from materials taken from illegally-occupied Palestinian land. Four other members who protested inside Barclays Bank in Argyle Street, Glasgow against investments in arms companies also face charges of aggravated trespass. After yesterday’s events, though, Napier said that he has good cause to believe that neither case “would seem to have any chance of succeeding.”
Technically Napier and his co-accused Watson could still appear in court if the local Procurator Fiscal issues fresh “racism” charges within the next two months but, he observed, “The fact is that Jim and I currently have no racism charges that require to be disclosed. No charges mean bail conditions fall.”
In the meantime, the SPSC issued a statement pledging to continue to “campaign peacefully for boycott against the genocidal State of Israel, a right that the Westminster Government has said openly it will try to revoke, building on previous efforts by one time Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The trials of SPSC members past, ongoing and future are our contribution to the worldwide campaign for BDS and the lavishly financed worldwide campaign against BDS being waged by the Israeli government with, possibly, support from the Lord Advocate on behalf of the Scottish Government.”
Below is an SPSC record outlining the group’s court victories against opponents of its campaigns to show solidarity with Palestine and the Palestinians.
- Between 2008 and 2010, five members of Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign went through an extended legal process before Sheriff John Scott dismissed with ridicule the charge that saying the words “End the siege of Gaza! Genocide in Gaza!” was racist. Two years and a lot of effort and money went on seeing off this absurdity.
- In 2011, police were forced to apologise publicly to Mick Napier for illegal arrest, assault and attempted cover up while pretending to investigate a related complaint. The illegal police assault arose when a dozen or so SPSC members bought tickets on an open-top Edinburgh city tour bus and draped a banner reading “End the siege of Gaza” over the side while travelling around the city centre.
- In 2016, fit-up charges for alleged “assault” collapsed at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court after two members of the pro-Israel Community Security Trust (CST) gave evidence against Napier. A fierce-looking Sheriff Watson viewed some TV footage of the area during the alleged assault and quickly threw out the charges, ruling that clearly no assault had taken place. The charges had been laid three months after the 2014 day-long protest against the racist Jewish National Fund in a remote shooting range in Ayrshire. The protests finally succeeded in getting these annual fundraisers cancelled. The CST’s aim was to get a conviction for assault on some technicality; one witness was reduced to claiming that there had been a “a bit more than a nudge” inflicted upon him.
When told of the “cosy emails” which had surfaced in the FOIA disclosure, a Crown Office spokesman told MEMO last month: “The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service corresponds with many community and faith groups, particularly in relation to the impact of hate crime in their communities. All prosecution decisions are taken following an independent and thorough assessment of the available evidence.”
Really? Is the Israeli embassy classed as a “community” or “faith” group? If not — and it obviously isn’t either — then the meeting between the Lord Advocate and the embassy has to be of concern to anyone who believes in a fair and just legal system.
Reference links in case they are needed
Ref Jewish Chronicle: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/32236/salmond-scots-jews-are-not-persecuted
Ref dismissed with ridicule: http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk/jerusalem-quartet/sunday-herald-pro-palestine-group-hits-out-after-landmark-case
Ref: publicly apologise: http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk/all/palestine-campaigner-welcomes-apology-but-alleges-police-tried-to-cover-up
Ref: Fit up charges: http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk/legal-attacks/cst-case-thrown-out
Ref: Told: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20160921-astonishing-as-it-may-seem-chanting-viva-palestina-could-soon-be-a-hate-crime/
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.