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August 18, 2016 1:28 pm

Festival in Scotland Celebrating Culture of Jewish State ‘Triumphs’ Over Disruption by Anti-Israel Protesters (INTERVIEW)

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Anti-Israel demonstrators outside the International Shalom Festival in Edinburgh, Wednesday. Photo: Twitter

Anti-Israel demonstrators outside the International Shalom Festival in Edinburgh, Wednesday. Photo: Twitter.

A festival in Scotland on Wednesday celebrating Israeli culture was a “triumph,” one of the event organizers told The Algemeiner, despite the presence of a vocal crowd of anti-Israel demonstrators outside the venue.

Nigel Goodrich, founder of the Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland (COFIS), told The Algemeiner on Thursday that around 150 such protesters — waving Palestinian flags, chanting anti-Israel slogans through megaphones and playing the sounds of exploding bombs through a PA system — tried to disrupt the International Shalom Festival, whose aim was “to promote diversity; the culture of Israel, which is an ancient yet modern country; and to spread a message that co-existence is the best method for achieving peace.”

Goodrich said he was not surprised by the protest. “We totally expected a demonstration — a loud, aggressive presence — and that’s exactly what we got,” he said. “Israeli acts have appeared in the past [at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival], and two years ago, one was hounded out of the venue by protesters who ran amok during the performance. What we wanted to do was bring Israeli art and culture back to the Fringe, to give people an opportunity to enjoy it.”

Around 800 people turned out for Wednesday’s event, which featured a number of different Israeli artistic and cultural acts. The day’s program was carried on as planned, said Goodrich, despite the protest outside.

Nevertheless, he said, “Some of our visitors, particularly mothers with children, were very upset. One eight-year-old girl had to be rushed to the toilet in tears, because she didn’t like being called a racist, and didn’t like being told that her ticket was purchased with Palestinian blood.”

However, he added, “The police were superb; their bottom line was that our event was going to go ahead and no one would be impeded from entering the venue, unlike two years ago.”

Goodrich expressed deep satisfaction with how the day transpired. “It was a triumph because, A, it went ahead; B, it was packed; and C, everybody had such a good time,” he said. “It was like being in Tel Aviv. It was great. I’m delighted. This was a triumph for culture and artistic freedom.”

The International Shalom Festival, held as part of the month-long Edinburgh Fringe Festival, was organized by COFIS and the UK branch of the Israel-advocacy organization StandWithUs.

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  • jacques de Leon

    Scotland: Beautiful country with beautiful people.

  • Pearl

    I’m not one for tit for tat, however I agree with Linda Golden. Time to hit those evil protesters where it hurts and show the world through graphic pictures exactly how they treat their own people. They are evil personified. Anyone who believes these protesters care for their own countrymen are gullible.

  • George Rosenbaum

    The protection of anti-semites by the press and also in the cause of free speech delivers nothing so long as Israel excels as a sovereign, free, democratic state, powerful both in its high culture, high techology and high ability to defend itself. That surely prevailed in the Scottish Festival. When if was over the audience and performers were lifted; the protesters could go home, perhaps beat their wives and children

  • Isn’t this kind of behaviour ‘Judeophobia’?

  • Isn’t this kind of behaviour Judeophobia?

  • Linda Golden

    It’s time that people who abhor these tactics get together and protest at Muslim cultural events with pictures of beheadings, stoning a of those they consider adulterers , their subjugation of women…oh wait, there are no cultural gatherings. Too busy hating Jews for culture I guess.

    • Fatima

      All you’d rally have to do is set up a tent where women could take their daughters for FGM.

    • Peter Starr

      Oh my gosh. You have me laughing here in Tel Aviv at what you have written. Thanks for seeing it for what it really is.

    • dave

      This is the interesting lack of symmetry. Pro Israel people have better things to do with their time than create hatefests outside of cultural activities. The Scots have a lot to be ashamed of in their insane anti Israel behavior and tolerance of same. It is a shame that a child could not enjoy this without being subjected to hateful verbal attacks and fear. Am Yisrael Chai.

  • Congratulations to C O F I S and the UK Branch of Stand With Us.

  • I am happy that the pro Israel even went wellinspite of the nasty protest outside, and that the police did their job.

  • henry schachter

    Well done the Algemeiner for publishing this positive report, unlike the British Press who spend most of their time criticizing everything Israeli.


  • Yoel Nitzarim

    This is a wonderful change of pace from what one might have expected in a festival celebrating peaceful co-existence in Israel in Scotland. Thanks for publishing such good news on Tu B’Av!

  • North West Friends Israel are proud sponsors of this amazing event organised by Night incredible Nigel the bridge.

    Some of us were able to make the trip from Manchester to Edinburgh and it was well worth it.

    Sadly we had to walk through a cauldron of hatred. It seems the irony of demonstrating against a peace festival was lost on the anti-Semites who protested aggressively outside, abusing everybody who went into the event.

    Whilst I support the right to demonstrate it should be done in a respectful manner where people are not intimidated

  • I am glad the International Shalom Festival was a success and it should happen again next year, but still not a word about the appalling behaviour of Celtic fans at the match between Celtic and Hapoel Beer-sheva. No other country has ever been subjected to the hate and abuse showered on the Israeli side by the Celtic fans and of course the BBC did not mention it even when reporting on the game. I have always said that the BBC’s institutional antisemitism is more evident in what it does NOT say than in what it says.

  • Docvisuals

    Boorish antisemites displaying their usual troglodyte brownshirt-style behaviour – such poor form, really!

    Mazel tov to the organizers of the International Shalom Festival for persevering in their message of hope, peace and coexistence in the face of genocidal half-wit brutes and bullies, and to the local authorities who refused to appease the hecklers by giving way to their fascist veto.

  • Lehi48

    The Palestinian protesters should visit Gaza to taste the cultural developments over the last 10 years of autonomy. They should act upon there Freedom of Speech & Expression while they there, give broad encompassing statements about the Arts in Scotland versus Gaza.