UK protests curbed as Sal­mond prom­ises to get tough on hate

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY MAR­CUS DYSCH

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 max­i­mu­mof 10demon­stra­tor­sarenow 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.

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 min­uteby-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.

PHOTO: AP

PHOTO: AP

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