A Scottish Labour Party activist who is facing disciplinary action over attacking “racist Israeli Zionism” has claimed the Edinburgh government backs his claim that criticising Israel is not antisemitic.
Pete Gregson, who also faces disciplinary action by trade union GMB, has meanwhile been suspended by the party and from his position as the only GMB shop steward in the 24,000-strong workforce of NHS Lothian.
A letter Gregson received from the Scottish Government’s Local Government and Communities Directorate said: “I appreciate your concerns about freedom of speech and the criticism of Israel, however the IHRA [International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance] clearly states, ‘criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic’ which we are satisfied helps to protect freedom of speech in this regard.
“We believe that the definition helps to bring some much needed clarity to what is often a complex issue, where legitimate criticism of Israel can be inaccurately called anti-Semitic and where anti-Jewish sentiment expressed against Israel can be incorrectly defined as legitimate criticism of the state.”
Gregson has been supported by Neturei Karta Rabbi Ahron Cohen.