Frankie Richardson

The hypocrisy of Scotland’s anti-Zionist obsession
A poster advertising an Anti-Zionist Planning Event in Edinburgh

Today in Leith, Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, there will be a community planning event looking at ways to purge the city of 95% of Jews, and to pressure and coerce local businesses into boycotting products from Israel. “Make Leith a Zionist Free Zone” the posters proudly announce. “Escalate for Gaza.”

This comes on the heels of bus stops being spray painted with “Glory to Hamas,” and a street being renamed “Gaza Street.” My own son, the only Jewish child in his primary school, has had swastikas drawn all over his schoolwork and other children mocking him with Nazi salutes in the playground.

I don’t need to point out the parallels to 1930s Germany, the only people denying them are the people who also deny that “anti-Zionism” means the destruction of Israel and the extermination and ethnic cleansing of seven million Jews. I’m not even going to ask the obvious, “where do they expect me to go?” If I can’t live in Scotland but I’m also not allowed to live in Israel. These questions are pointless for people who don’t see me as human. I want to talk about Scotland. A country I love with my whole heart, whose deep-seated antisemitism is blinding it from an obvious allyship that could be transformative for her dreams of independence.

The Scottish National Party has been in power in Scotland for 17 years, suggesting, the incredibly close-run 2014 independence referendum included, that there is a large number of people in Scotland who are supportive of Scotland leaving the UK and becoming an independent nation. The MSP (Member of Scottish Parliament) for Leith, the community holding this event, is Ben Macpherson, a member of the SNP. Knowing the pro-independence camp as I do, I would bet anything that everyone at this ethnic cleansing event in Edinburgh tonight would also be a proud supporter of Scottish independence.

What does Scottish independence aim to achieve? To decolonize Scotland from a power that has been violently imposing itself on it for 800 years. To give full self determination to a people who have been subjected to violence, subjugation, neglect, ethnic cleansing, and cultural suppression for centuries. Millions have been invested in breathing new life into the Gaidhlig (Scots Gaelic) language and Gaidhlig medium education, as part of a wider commitment to the protection and preservation of this ancient culture and its undeniable connection to the land. Pro-independence activists and politicians talk about their goal to prove to a watching world that a tiny country can be a powerful player on the global stage.

What has Zionism achieved? Zionism has decolonized Israel from a power that has been violently imposing itself on it for more than 1,000 years. If we leave out the centuries of to and fro between the Christian and Arab armies during the Crusades, Israel had been under continuous Islamic caliphate rule since Saladin took Jerusalem on October 2nd 1187, just a century before King Edward I invaded Scotland in 1296, until the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the British takeover, which Zionism finally freed Israel from in 1948. Zionism has given full self-determination to a people who have been subjected to violence, subjugation, neglect, ethnic cleansing and cultural suppression for centuries. Zionism has breathed new life into the Hebrew language so that now all Jewish children in Israel can have their education in their ancestral language. Would the people who argue that Hebrew isn’t a real language because it had to be updated for modern use make the same argument about Gaidhlig, because they see words like Pàrlamaid and Ambaileans every single day in Edinburgh? Zionism has protected thousands of years of culture, heritage and archaeology, and the undeniable Jewish connection to the land, from the City Of David to Masada, from Be’er Sheva to Safed. Perhaps most impressive of all, Zionism has taken a strip of malaria swamp and desert smaller than Wales and built a global superpower, a world leader in innovation, while under constant threat of annihilation from it’s neighbors.

Photo Credit – Frankie Richardson

Everything that Scotland says it wants for itself, is just what it says Jews can’t have. There is no other explanation for that than rampant antisemitism. Scotland should be looking to Israel as an example of what’s possible. Sending politicians there to learn how to get the most out of a tiny country. Learning how to develop a powerful economy based on the innovation and brilliance of it’s people. Celebrating our shared experiences, our shared thousand year history of oppression, our shared connection to our respective homelands. Instead they raise pan-Arab flags in support of the most successful imperial power in world history, for no other reason than because it means they get to hate Jews.

There are those who are still desperate to see the good in these people. “They just don’t know the history!” they tell me. “They’re well-meaning but misinformed.” Eight months ago, I might have agreed. But there has been eight months of being told. Eight months to read books. Eight months to find out. The argument that they just don’t understand falls apart when you consider this one question; What would happen to me if I attended this event tonight, stood up and offered a history lesson? We all know. The truth is that they don’t want to hear the truth, and that means that whether they already know it or not is a moot point.

However bad this gets, however much they “Escalate for Gaza,” Scotland will now have to reckon with its own Nazi legacy. Scottish independence will forever be tainted with its “Freedom for us but not for them” reality. Its racist hypocrisy. That’s a tragedy, and one that genuinely makes me sad. Scotland, my heart, you could have been a second Israel, instead you are a second Nazi Germany. We will all live with the choices you have made.
About the Author
Freelance Journalist from the UK, writing about politics and antisemitism.
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