Scottish Jews write to Nicola Sturgeon over ‘inappropriate’ Israel statements

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Scottish Jews write to Nicola Sturgeon over ‘inappropriate’ Israel statements

Exclusive: Representative bodies take issue with the First Minister's comments on escalation in the Middle East, which said Israel's actions at Al Aqsa were 'utterly indefensible'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon (PA Wire/PA Images / Andrew Milligan) via Jewish News
Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon (PA Wire/PA Images / Andrew Milligan) via Jewish News

Scotland’s Jewish community leaders are writing to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to complain about statements she made on the escalation of violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

It is understood that the letter –  which will be sent by the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities and the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council –  will also raise concerns about a similar statement made by the Justice Minister Humza Yousaf on hostilities in the Middle East.

On May 8, Sturgeon wrote of the situation in Jerusalem: “Attacking a place of worship at any time is reprehensible but attacking a mosque during Ramadan is utterly indefensible.

“It is also a violation of international law. Israel should heed calls to halt the violence immediately.”

The Justice Minister also wrote:”I know there is a lot of interest in domestic matters but the forced evictions taking place in #SheikhJarrah are a disgraceful violation of international law, rightly condemned by the UN.

“Israel must halt violence against those protesting.”

Neither of the two senior SNP figures issued subsequent statements condemning the Hamas bombardment of Israel with over 1000 missiles.

The communal leader’s letter will suggest there are  “serious concerns” amongst the community in Scotland about comments that failed to consider their safety at Jewish buildings and locations during a time of heightened sensitivities.

It will acknowledge that the First Minister had herself been proactive in visiting synagogues in the past and had been staunch in her stance against antisemitism.

But with her latest statement that letter will suggest she seemed to ignore the obvious worries of the community – with many in Glasgow having relatives who had been forced to hide in bomb shelters this week after Hamas launched multiple rocket attacks.

The Glasgow Rep Council’s president Paul Edlin confirmed to Jewish News:” After a meeting of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities and Glasgow Rep Council last night we are sending a letter to the First Minister complaining about the statement about Israel which we consider to be inappropriate in the circumstances.

“The letter makes clear our concerns about that statement and another by the Justice Minister.”

According to the 2011 census there were just under 6000 Jews living in Scotland.

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