This election is likely to batter the SNP – and Scotland’s Jews will be celebrating

Glasgow Friends of Israel’s Sammy Stein shares his thoughts ahead of polling day


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June 26, 2024 10:24

This election is predicted to deliver a Labour majority among Scottish MPs in Westminster – a result that would enable the Jewish community north of the border to breathe more easily.

The key reason for this is that Labour success is likely to come at the expense of the SNP, a party that has a long track record of criticising Israel – even though the Scottish government does not have a foreign affairs remit.

Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon, whose Middle East stance was characterised by knee-jerk anti-Israel positions, regularly riled Scottish Jews, 90 per cent of whom consider themselves Zionists.

In August 2021, the SNP invited the Scottish Greens party to join their government. At that time, the Greens’ platform included a boycott of Israel, labelling it an “apartheid state”. The party also passed a conference motion calling for the EU to remove Hamas from a list of proscribed terror groups.

Since 2019, support for the SNP has steadily declined across Scotland. The political miscalculation by Sturgeon to pursue the Green policies such as gender recognition, in conjunction with the criminal charges against her husband Peter Murrell, led to her resignation in February 2023.

But her successor, Humza Yousaf, who became the first Muslim leader of a European country, raised further concerns. His blatant support for the Palestinians and criticism of Israel since October 7 only served to cause Scottish Jews to question whether we have a future in Scotland. Time will tell whether the leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Anas Sarwar, can assauge those concerns, assuming he comes out on top.

Last May, Yousaf was forced to resign following a number of gaffes, including ending the arrangement with the Greens. His replacement as first minister is John Swinney, who due to the dropping in popularity of the SNP, probably wishes that there was no election in 2024.

At the last general election, Scottish voters overwhelmingly chose the SNP to represent them at Westminster and it became the third-largest party there.

Things are likely to be different this time – a result, if it comes to pass, will be a moment of relief for Scottish Jews.

June 26, 2024 10:24

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