Glasgow fears over Israel vote

By Stephanie Brickman, August 20, 2010

Glasgow Jewry representatives used talks with city council leaders to voice disquiet about a motion passed by the council condemning the Israeli action against the flotilla to Gaza, in which nine Turkish activists died.

The Glasgow Jewish Representative Council president, Edward Isaacs, led a four person delegation at a meeting with city council leader Gordon Matheson and Bailie Liz Cameron, executive member for development.

Although emphasising that the rep council did not normally take sides on Israeli politics, "we felt we had to express our concern", Mr Isaacs said. "We didn't think that it was their place to pass a motion on an international political issue. They were bringing Middle East politics into the local sphere. Our concern is that constant vilification of Israel has been proven to lead to increased antisemitic activity.

"They agreed to take our concerns on board. I think the fact that we had this meeting brought things home to roost."

Councillor Matheson described the meeting as "useful, productive and warm. We agreed to work closely together, for example, on Holocaust education. I look forward to continuing an open and positive working relationship with the Jewish community, which plays a huge role in the life of our city." However, no assurances were given that anti-Israel motions would not be debated in future.

Other topics covered included the Community Futures project for Glasgow Jewry and a rep council proposal for a Shabbaton to be included in the programme for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, coinciding with the rep's centenary celebrations.

The city council was thanked for its enthusiasm in organising Holocaust Memorial Day events and the meeting also covered ways of encouraging school groups to visit the local staging of the Jewish Way of Life exhibition.

Overall, Mr Isaacs was "very happy" with the outcome. "I think we have got pretty good relations with Glasgow, as well as East Renfrewshire Council, and we can go and discuss things."

Last updated: 9:54am, August 20 2010