GLASGOW NEWS
Major parties show support for community

BY SHARON MAIL

THE leaders of all of Scotland's main political parties have come together in a joint message of support for Scotland's Jews.

The leaders, supported by other political figures and organisations, issued a statement.

"We celebrate Scotland's traditionally positive relationship with its Jewish population, but understand why events elsewhere can undermine their sense of security, belonging and well-being and come together unreservedly to condemn all manifestations of antisemitism in Scotland and to assert Scotland's warm desire that Jewish people living in Scotland should feel safe, completely at home and a key part of the multicultural Scottish community," the statement read.

Signatories were Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister and SNP leader; Jim Murphy MP, Scottish Labour leader; Ruth Davidson MSP, Scottish Conservative leader; Willie Rennie MSP, Scottish Liberal Democrats leader; Patrick Harvie MSP, Scottish Green Party joint leader; Kezia Dugdale MSP, Scottish Parliamentary Labour group leader.

Scottish Council of Jewish Communities director Ephraim Borowski said: "We welcome this clear message to all parts of Scottish society, as well as the excellent work being done by Police Scotland to ensure the physical safety of the community and by the Procurator Fiscal service to bring the perpetrators of antisemitic hate crime to justice."

And on Wednesday, a motion in support of the Jewish community was tabled in the Scottish Parliament.

The cross-party motion of solidarity was raised by Glasgow SNP MSP Bob Doris and supported by 22 other MSPs.

The motion welcomed the "coming together of political leaders, including the leaders of all the main parties in Scotland, to sign a joint statement of support for the Jewish community".

It added: "We celebrate Scotland's traditionally positive relationship with its Jewish population, but understand why events elsewhere can undermine their sense of security, belonging and well-being and come together unreservedly to condemn all manifestations of antisemitism in Scotland and to assert Scotland's warm desire that Jewish people living in Scotland should feel safe, completely at home and a key part of the multicultural Scottish community".

Both the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council and the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities have been working behind the scenes to secure messages of reassurance from across the political spectrum in Scotland.

Support for the community has also come from Glasgow City Council.

Earlier this month, council leader Gordon Matheson raised a motion, passed unanimously, commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day and marking the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

In his speech, after quoting from Holocaust survivor Lily Ebert, Cllr Matheson said: "Tell the world about how they classified Jews as different. Well you would, wouldn't you. It's easier to dehumanise people that way.

"And about the dividing of communities, the use of propaganda, the systematic separation of the Jews into ghettos, then the industrial-scale preparations to cleanse the ghettos and transport whole populations.

"And then the easy part - once they are out of the way, work them to death or gas them.

"Then deny it. Say it didn't really happen, or certainly not on the scale claimed. It's just those Jews looking for sympathy.

"Except it did happen in the way it has been described, in all its horror. And six million Jews died that way, in an attempt to exterminate a whole people."

He added: "Closer to home there has been an increase in the number of antisemitic incidents reported to Police Scotland, including the daubing of a swastika and other anti-Jewish graffiti on a sheltered housing complex in East Renfrewshire.

"The vilest hate mail has been sent to Garnethill Synagogue, within my electoral ward.

"In response, we must diligently remind ourselves and future generations of the truth and evil of the Holocaust and, with one strong voice, repeat 'never again'."

Glasgow Jewish Representative Council president Paul Morron said: "The motion and debate was heartening news for the community. It continues the closeness with which GCC and the Jewish community are now working."


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