Saturday, 16 March 2019

SUTR-Scotland unfit for purpose in failing to stand up against Israel front groups

Placards with the following message were being paraded today in Glasgow by Confederation of Friends of Israel - Scotland (CoFIS), and Glasgow Friends of Israel (GFI):

A Crime 

Let's briefly indulge the purported 'logic' behind this set of claims: in effect, anyone who challenges or criticises the ethno-nationalist ideology of Zionism is anti-semitic, expressing hatred or animosity towards Jewish people, and, therefore, acting in a criminal way. 

Where, one wonders, does that formulation leave basic notions of free and fair speech, never mind serious critical enquiry? Are we to believe that anyone who opposes Zionism and its principal manifestation, the creation of a Jewish national state at the murderous expense of Palestinians, is to be labelled a racist criminal?

Such claims are, of course, utterly facile. Yet, such is the prevailing McCarthyite witch-hunt that almost anyone daring to criticise Israel, or its founding ideology, can now be openly smeared and castigated in this way.     

But there's something even more outlandish  to consider here: these placards were not being carried today in the middle of Glasgow at some selective pro-Israel event, but at Scotland's 'main' anti-racist rally, run by Stand Up to Racism. 

How, some may reasonably ask, did we ever get to the point where an organisation supposedly out marching in support of discriminated peoples could walk and stand alongside another organisation proclaiming such ignorant, reactionary and racist messages?

What might it take for SUTR Scotland to finally understand that CoFIS/GFI have one primary interest: the defence and protection of Israel and its murderous apartheid and racist state. When will SUTR come to see that CoFIS/GFI are nothing more than evangelical front bodies for the state of Israel, whitewashing its crimes, and using civil spaces like anti-racism events to gain 'respectability'?  

The much-diminished numbers at today's SUTR rally, coupled with the conspicuous and growing absence of once-supportive political/civil organisations, now illustrates even more clearly the political and moral vacuousness of SUTR's position. By not only refusing to declare CoFIS/GFI unwelcome at their events, but in failing to campaign directly against such groups, SUTR-Scotland has shown itself definitively unfit for purpose.