UK protests curbed as Salmond promises to get tough on hate

By Marcus Dysch, August 28, 2014
Alex Salmond: pledge to Glasgow Jews

Alex Salmond: pledge to Glasgow Jews

Police have quelled protests outside a shop selling Israeli products after enforcing special measures to restore calm.

The Kedem store in central Manchester had been besieged by anti-Israel activists' demonstrations for the past five weeks.

But Greater Manchester Police announced the protests would be moved to a designated area nearby. A maximum of 10 demonstrators are now allowed to gather at any one time.

The decision, taken under the Public Order Act, led to a weekend of relative calm outside the King Street store. On Saturday activists led a march through the city centre but no incidents were recorded by police. The following day 10 protesters attended the designated spot outside a disused building in nearby Police Street. Officers said there had been no arrests.

Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, met members of the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council last Friday to discuss the fallout from the Gaza conflict.

Police acted over Kedem protests

Police acted over Kedem protests

He said the Scottish government would ensure perpetrators of antisemitic incidents would feel the full force of the law. Mr Salmond plans to speak to police and law chiefs to ensure action is taken against offenders.

"We recognise the significant contribution that the Jewish community have made and continues to make to Scottish society," he said.

Latest figures suggest around 34 antisemitic incidents directly linked to the Gaza conflict have taken place in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Rep Council chair Paul Morron held another meeting with Glasgow city council leader Gordon Matheson to discuss the authority's decision to fly the Palestinian flag over the City Chambers. The JC understands Mr Matheson has so far resisted attempts within the council to further criticise Israel and has rejected efforts to seek a boycott of Israeli goods within the city.

A protest earlier this month outside the Kedem stall at Edinburgh's Ocean Terminal shopping centre also led to Mr Morron challenging Glasgow's St Enoch mall to avoid similar scenes at the firm's branch there. The centre said it would ensure no protests would be allowed. Despite the assurances, a protest was held on Tuesday, causing the stall to close early. Mr Morron said: "We have really tried to take the fight to the other side, rather than just be reactive."

Supporters of Israel have backed a petition challenging efforts to boycott products in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. More than 1,000 people signed the petition in the four days following its launch on Saturday.

Labour's Yasmin Qureshi told Sky News that the loyalty of British Jews fighting for the IDF was not questioned while Britons joining the Islamic State terrorist group faced criticism. She later denied she had equated jihadis with the Israeli army.

Pro-Israel media advocacy group Bicom has confirmed that it will launch an investigation into the coverage of Operation Protective Edge by Channel 4 News. The probe will include a minute-by-minute analysis by experts looking at accuracy and potential anti-Israel bias.

An event organised by the Frontline Club looking at media coverage of the Gaza conflict has been cancelled by police after the Zionist Federation announced it would demonstrate outside.

The session was due to feature journalists Jon Snow, Jeremy Bowen and Martin Bell at the Shaw Theatre in central London, next week.

ZF director Alan Aziz said police had notified him that the event would not go ahead due to safety concerns.

The Frontline Club said the event had been postponed because the planned speakers were unavailable.

Last updated: 10:51am, September 1 2014