Is­raeli flag fails to fly at Scot­tish cel­e­bra­tion

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY SI­MON ROCKER

OR­GAN­IS­ERS OF the main cel­e­bra­tion of Is­rael’s 60th an­niver­sary in Scot­land last week de­cided not to raise the Is­raeli flag for fear of pro­vok­ing pro-Pales­tinian demon­stra­tors.

Ten years ago — for Is­rael’s 50th — the flag was raised on a flag­pole in a cer­e­mony out­side the premises of East Ren­frew­shire Coun­cil where the event had been staged.

But af­ter dis­cus­sions be­tween lo­cal or­gan­is­ers and the coun­cil, the de­ci­sion was taken not to re­peat the ex­er­cise this time. The 60th event was held at the same venue, in the south of Glas­gow.

Adele Conn, co-chair of the Is­rael at 60 com­mit­tee, said: “We didn’t want to have a po­lit­i­cal event, just a cel­e­bra­tion. We didn’t want to make a po­lit­i­cal is­sue out of it.”

Hugh Humphries, sec­re­tary of the Scot­tish Friends of Pales­tine — which ad­vo­cates a boy­cott of Is­raeli in­sti­tu­tions — said the group was “pleased” at the de­ci­sion not to fly the flag.

But it has called for the coun­cil’s ex­ter­nal au­di­tors to in­ves­ti­gate any sub­sidy of the 60th cel­e­bra­tions.

A spokesman for East Ren­frew­shire said: “The coun­cil did not fly the flag of Is­rael and there was full agree­ment with the an­niver­sary or­gan­is­ers.

“What hap­pened is that Provost Alex Mackie at­tended at the start of the evening con­cert at East­wood Theatre to wish all at­tend­ing an en­joy­able evening. He also dropped in early to Carmichael Hall to meet lo­cal Jewish fam­i­lies en­joy­ing spe­cial cel­e­bra­tions for chil­dren. In both cases, the or­gan­is­ers of the events hired the premises from the coun­cil in the usual way.”

East Ren­frew­shire, ex­plained the spokesman, “is home to Scot­land’s largest Jewish com­mu­nity and Provost Mackie thought it right and fit­ting to wish mem­bers of the com­mu­nity a happy cel­e­bra­tion.”

The coun­cil con­trib­uted a £500 fire­work dis­play to the cel­e­bra­tions.

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