An anti-racism march in Scotland descended into an anti-Israel demonstration, with chants of “from Glasgow to Gaza intifada” being heard.

Anti-Israel demonstrators wearing masks chanted ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ and “intimidated” supporters of Israel at the ‘Stand Up To Racism March (SUTR )’ on Saturday.

The Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland (COFIS) joined the marched with Israeli flags – rallying against anti-Semitism, which led to The Muslim Council of Scotland (MCS) to boycott the event.

Criticising march organisers in a statement MCS said, “SUTR will not stand against apologists for Israeli Apartheid and Racism, in the shape of COFIS, who plan to join the march as they did last year.”

Speaking to Jewish News after the event Nigel Goodrich, convener of COFIS, said their attendance was a success, but that some marchers “were intimidated by the behaviour of those wearing masks and sunglasses, pushing and jostling, stealing our flags and running away with them.”

He said his organisation are meeting on Monday to discuss whether to report any incidents to the police, adding that the chant “from Glasgow to Gaza intifada” means “murdering Jews”, and is therefore anti-Semitic.

Ahead of the event, COFIS said they had been “aware of aggressive attempts to prevent us from taking part, orchestrated by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC)”.

During the event, human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar read out a message from Palestinian ambassador to the UK Manuel Hassassian, while Holocaust historian professor Henry Maitles spoke on behalf of Scottish Jews For A Just Peace, an anti-Zionist Jewish group.

Micheline Brannan, chairman of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities said: “We believe in the anti-racist message which has been hijacked by people ahead of us who are trying to stop our group from marching. They have turned it into a fight between Israel and Palestine. They’ve imported politics of the Middle East onto the streets of Glasgow”.

Posted by Nigel Goodrich on Saturday, 17 March 2018