Herald editor says sorry

By Jessica Elgot, September 22, 2011

A scottish newspaper has apologised after a columnist asked readers to imagine, "If Giffnock was Gaza", deliberately choosing Glasgow's most Jewish area.

Tom Shields, who writes for Newsquest-owned Herald Scotland, said he chose the suburbs of Giffnock and Newton Mearns to compare with Gaza and the West Bank because they contain the highest number of supporters of Israel.

In his column, he wrote: "If Newton Mearns was Nazat Issa, residents would not be allowed to travel up the road to Waitrose." He also made comments about how residents would find it hard to get to the private Hutcheson's Grammar School, and would be upset about their house prices.

Herald editor Jonathan Russell said: "Tom Shields is a highly respected columnist who has written for the Herald for many years. Like all our columnists, his views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the paper. His column on Tuesday was not intended to be in any way antisemitic. The Herald apologises if any offence was caused to Jewish people living in Giffnock and Newton Mearns."

Ephraim Borowski, director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities said: "His references to Waitrose, private schools, and house prices simply show that he can't resist another age-old stereotype."

Last updated: 2:06pm, September 22 2011