The Church of Scotland Offices in Edinburgh. Photo: Kim Traynor via Wikimedia Commons.

Friday evening. It was in the 72nd minute of a game between Israel and Scotland (the Celtics) in the Nation’s League. Israel had a throw-in deep in the Scottish half. There was a quick one-two between the Israeli number seven and their number nine. Goal! And the score was 1:1.

No this is not going to be a post about soccer, but that move, slicing apart the Scottish defense, is important here. The two players involved were Israel’s Eran Zahavi and Moanes Dabour. Dabour is an Israeli Muslim. The Israeli team captain Bibras Natkho is also from a Muslim family. There are also other Arab Israelis in the squad, such as Joel Abu Hanna (who was a substitute). Left back Taleb Tawatha is an Israeli Bedouin. Hatem Abu Elhamed is an Israeli Arab. Elhamed also plays for the rival Celtics, alongside another Israeli — Nir Biton.

Outside the ground, there was an anti-Israel demonstration shouting about Israeli “apartheid.” A group of Celtic supporters had arrived to protest too. Just one look at the team sheet exposes that disgraceful smear for the antisemitic hate-filled lie that it clearly is. The Muslim and Jewish players on the Israeli team all live in the same country under the same laws. They all vote and have representation in the Middle East’s only democracy. Israel’s Arabs are, by a country mile, living in the freest nation in the region.

Those people screaming outside are clearly not interested in the truth. They are blinded by hate.

The day started with extremists vandalizing the entrance to the stadium. Activists had smeared red paint across the floor and written the words “Palestinian blood” on the walls.

scotland shame

A Twitter account claiming to be connected to Celtic posted the images. The paint was scrubbed away, and the area cleaned before the Israeli team arrived.

When Scotland played the serial human rights abuser Russia, there was no protest. In 2015, Scotland played Qatar — and the Scottish activists made no complaint. Only when the Jewish state sends its football team do Scotland’s “human rights” activists turn up to demonstrate.

There were several different groups holding demonstrations at the ground before the match. We have seen them all before. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) held one, as did the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG / FRFI). The SPSC are well-known for having many hard-core antisemitic “groupies.” As previous research has shown, if you removed the antisemites from the SPSC, they would be unlikely to have enough people left to hold any demonstrations at all. The RCG are no better.

It is impossible to know who exactly attended the event, and the masks made identification even more difficult. But we know that Mick Napier was there.

Napier is the toxic head of the SPSC, and has spoken at pro-Hezbollah demonstrations. He has picked up convictions for his obsession, and is known to have driven Jewish business out of Scotland. I personally went to research one of the SPSC protests in Aberdeen. I spoke to demonstrators and quickly came across hard-core antisemites and Holocaust deniers. None of this bad publicity helped. A short time afterwards, the owner of the business in Aberdeen was finally chased out of Scotland by these SPSC extremists.

Others present included Barry Mulligan and Ishaq Aslam:

Scotland shame 2

Ishaq Aslam and Barry Mulligan both like to share antisemitic conspiracy theories:

ishaq salaambarry mulligan

Saeed Sarwar was also there for the demonstration:

antisemite in Scotland

Sarwar shares material from the most hideous antisemitic websites, such as Smoloko. His timeline is full of vile antisemitism:

Robert Carter was there. Carter was one of those extremists who joined the Labour Party just to vote for Jeremy Corbyn. He has since quit the party. Carter is a pro-Iranian Hezbollah sympathizer and works for Iranian propaganda outfit Press TV. It is no surprise that Carter was at the demo with his toxic friends, but why is a Scottish Labour Councillor, Baillie Hanif Raja, turning up at an event with hard-core antisemites and terrorist supporters?

These are only a few names. Jola Aljakhbir was also at the demonstration. She has several different FB accounts and has also used the name Jolanta Hadzic. To make matters even more twisted, sometimes Jola also pretends to be a “Jewish” voice.

Jola shares lots of antisemitic material, including Holocaust denial:

There were approximately 60 demonstrators in total. Research has shown that this suggests at least 40 Holocaust deniers, terrorist supporters, and other antisemitic extremists were in the crowd. If the KKK turned up in such concentration levels for a demonstration, would anyone, anywhere, describe that demo as anything but racist? Would our police allow them near a football team from Africa? How would our press report such an event?

With Israel, everything is different.

Each of those participating in the anti-Israel protest will pretend that this was about human rights. This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and it is shameful that anybody allows them to hide behind this clearly false propaganda mask. Both the Pakistani and Iranian flags were on display at this demonstration.

Iran and Pakistan are two of the worst human rights abusers on this planet. Both still have the death penalty for blasphemy. There is little need to recount Iran’s horrific human rights record.

Both Iran and Pakistan oppose Israel on religious, antisemitic, and sectarian grounds that have absolutely nothing to do with human rights. Iran literally sponsors radical Islamic terror groups. In Pakistan, young Christian children are being kidnapped, raped, forcibly converted, and married, and Pakistani local courts support the abusers rather than the victims. You cannot stand with these flags and pretend you support human rights.

A dissident Irish Republican group — “linked to the murder of journalist Lyra McKee” — was also standing protesting at Hampden Park. Members of the New IRA political front party Saoradh stood alongside the SPSC and RCG to protest Israel’s presence.

A group called Let Kashmir Decide were also co-hosts. This reinforces the argument that this is religious discrimination, and their protest is part of a wider attempt by Islamist groups to tie the Kashmir and Palestinian issues together. The only problem these people really have with Israel is that it is majority Jewish. That makes their action explicitly antisemitic.

There is a right to protest and a high level of freedom must be granted. The people who are really letting everyone down on this issue are the media. It takes just a few hours of research into any of the demonstrating groups to realize they are extremists, racists, antisemites, Holocaust deniers, and terrorist supporters. Much of this research has already been done and the information is publicly available. Yet media such as the Daily Record report it simply as a “pro-Palestinian” protest, even quoting the rancid Mick Napier and having time to introduce an apartheid comparison.

Heather Carrick in the Glasgow Times put together a montage of pictures for the “pro-Palestine protest” — mentioning criticism of Israel’s record, but failing to point out the relevance of both the Iranian and Pakistani flags captured in her photos. She did make sure, however, that “black lives matter” was given a prominent place.

Caitlin Hutchison of the Scottish Herald was probably the worst offender. Her report laid out the extremist case word for word, including the apartheid smear and a full description of the content of leaflets being handed out. Her readers would not have a clue that she was describing the activity of antisemites, terrorist sympathizers, and rancid extremists. She is a hack.

The BBC had the protest as a backdrop to an interview, giving them plenty of unnecessary publicity. It is unlikely the BBC bothered to tell anyone this was a band of extremists. Only the Scottish Sun correctly identified the protest as being “anti-Israel” and was responsible enough to balance out their reporting with allegations of antisemitism and criticism of the protestors.

A group of extremists and antisemites gathered outside to protest the arrival of a football team from the Jewish state. That is the news story here. If it should be shared it should be done to show people just what type of people are supporting the boycott Israel movement. That failure to report the truth — the news — is the central reason why anti-Israel hate has been spreading for decades. Instead of being researched and identified, the media is giving these racists and extremists sympathetic publicity. They are openly spreading hate.

Which is why events such as the raising of the Palestinian flag on a school in Ayr follow demonstrations. If people read media reports that fail to accurately describe these extremists, they can be misled into believing the Palestinian cause is supported by moderates and reasonable activists. It must therefore be justified. This makes supporting the cause blindly the “right thing” to do.

The report on the flag-hanging event by the Daily Record references the protest and fails to mention extremism or antisemitism once. This despite it being widely known that anti-Israel protests are infested with hard-core antisemites. The reporter Stuart Wilson is either not doing his job properly or he is an idiot.

It is the failure of our press to report these events properly that allows for others to be misled. We cannot stop antisemites gathering to protest events connected with the Jewish state, although we do have the right to demand that authorities take whatever action is necessary to restrict where and how this Jew-hatred is given voice.

We most certainly can demand of our media that their reporters do the research before they start writing their articles. Jew-hatred should be identified and exposed wherever it stands. Even in Scotland.

David Collier blogs from Beyond the Great Divide, where this post first appeared.





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