Stop the boycott: we’re not Israeli
THE SCOTTISH Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) has refused to call off protests against a top Edinburgh hotel it claims has been bought by Israelis — despite a legal denial.
The Caledonian Hilton Edinburgh Hotel was sold in the summer to the Caledonian Operating Company which, according to reports in the Scottish press, was owned by a consortium of Israeli investors.
Three weeks ago, the SPSC staged a small demonstration outside the building, handing out leaflets claiming that “using The Caledonian finances Israel’s murder machine” and urging a boycott of Israel “until it stops its ethnic cleansing of Palestine”.
However, a letter sent on behalf of the Caledonian Operating Company by solicitors Mishcon de Reya warned the SPSC that the allegations were “incredibly damaging” and sought assurances that the demonstrations would stop.
The company, the letter stated, was incorporated in the UK and had “no Israeli shareholders”. It continued: “We believe that you may have engaged in this campaign under a false assumption that the hotel was bought by an Israeli property group. There were some newspaper reports suggesting this to be the case. In fact, the deal never happened and the hotel was bought… by our client.”
But the SPSC wrote back to Mishcon de Reya: “When the Israeli authorities lie so brazenly about their crimes… it is obvious that Israeli businessmen have an interest in concealing their ownership of businesses that could fall within the ambit of the growing boycott movement.”
Unless the Scottish media, which reported the alleged Israeli link, make a retraction, “we will proceed on the basis of the information which is unchallenged in the public domain”.
The hotel is by no means the only target of the SPSC, a virulently antiZionist group which this year marked Holocaust Memorial Day by staging the play Perdition, which alleges Zion- ist-Nazi collaboration. It has also lobbied against Eden Springs, a company with Israeli links which supplies water coolers.
A motion put to Edinburgh City Council last week by Gordon Munro, a member of the Labour opposition, called on the council to cancel its contract with the water company. But councillors deferred any decision until next month’s meeting, pending a report into Eden Springs.
On its website, the SPSC claims that Eden Springs’ parent company in Israel draws water from a spring in the Golan Heights.
A spokesman for Eden Springs UK maintained that it used local water in Scotland.
The SPSC has also lodged a complaint with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, challenging the charitable status of the newly formed KKL-Scotland, a breakaway from the Jewish National Fund.
A spokesman for the regulator said: “We have received a letter of complaint and will respond in due course.”