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August 25, 2016 5:31 am

Scottish Jewish Community Feels ‘More Vulnerable’ to Antisemitism Under New National Police Force

avatar by Lea Speyer

The Scottish flag. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Scottish flag. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Jewish community in Scotland feels “more vulnerable” and less protected against antisemitic attacks since the formation of the country’s national police force, The Scotsman reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) — an umbrella organization representing Scottish Jewry — said that Jews believe their safety is “not a priority” of Police Scotland and that collaboration with the force has become “less effective” since its founding in 2013.

Following what SCoJeC called an “upsurge” in antisemitic incidents in 2014 — which occurred around the time Israel and Gaza were at war —  the group had remarkable close contact with senior police officers amid an “unprecedented level of fear and apprehension.” However, this relationship has since deteriorated, SCoJeC said.

SCoJeC said that Jewish leaders of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow have all raised concerns that Police Scotland has detrimentally replaced the work of local, known police officers ensuring the safety of their communities.

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Many Scottish Jews, SCoJeC said, now feel “more anxious.” 

This information was part of a larger SCoJeC submission to a Scottish Government consultation on police priorities outlining the Jewish community’s concerns.

Tory Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP) Jackson Carlaw — who has a large Jewish constituency — was quoted by The Scotsman with a response to the SCoJeC claims: “While antisemitic incidents in Scotland continue to be limited, it remains equally as important that the Jewish community feels safe and perceptions of religious hatred really count.”

According to Assistant Chief Constable Steve Johnson, Police Scotland “works closely with local communities” and treats reports of all hate crimes “seriously.”

“We have regular and productive interaction with Jewish communities across Scotland in order to understand their concerns,” he told The Scotsman.

SCoJeC’s report comes less than one month after the group released an audit of the Scottish Jewish community, which revealed that Scottish Jews are increasingly keeping their identity a secret for fear of being the target of antisemitism.

As reported by The Algemeiner, the group’s report — titled “What’s Changed About Being Jewish in Scotland” and commissioned by the Scottish Government — found that 17 percent of respondents are taking steps to hide their Jewish identity, which the study noted is “many more than in 2012.”

In addition, non-Jewish parents of offspring with Jewish heritage said they are concerned about their children being publicly perceived as Jewish, as it would pose a threat to their safety and security.

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