Scottish First Minister Decries Levels of Antisemitism in Scotland
The head of Scotland’s government called the level of Scottish antisemitism “unacceptable,” the British Jewish Chronicle reported on Friday.
In her first meeting with representatives of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon vowed to hold public meetings with the country’s Jewish leaders to discuss combating the trend of Jew-hatred, among other concerns.
She said she was concerned that many Jews in Scotland said they were afraid to present themselves in public as Jewish or were considering emigration.
Sturgeon also asked to visit a local synagogue to learn more about Jewish customs, according to the Chronicle report.
“I was delighted to meet the [Scottish Council of Jewish Communities] and to hear their views on the experiences and issues of concern to Jewish communities in Scotland,” she said, according to the report, adding that she looked forward to further engagement.
The director of the Scottish Jewish council presented Sturgeon with a report summarizing local concerns that stemmed from the spike in antisemitic incidents following last summer’s 50-day war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
A majority of Scotland’s 6,000-person Jewish community said the Gaza conflict was the greatest contributing factor to the uptick in antisemitism.
According to some reports, security outside synagogues and other community centers has been stepped up in Scotland since deadly attacks on Jewish targets in France and Denmark earlier this year.
According to the Community Security Trust, a U.K. based antisemitism watchdog and community security group, antisemitic incidents in Scotland doubled in 2014 from the previous year, and most of those incidents were in Glasgow.