ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Scottish Socialists Invoke Conspiracy Theories.

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Reading this article on the Scottish Socialist party’s web site (reproduced below just in case it goes missing), I am torn between my natural sympathies for Scottish socialists and disgust that one of them would so blatantly invoke conspiracy theories to defend his comrades:

“The trial of the SPSC 5 protesting against a performance of the Jerusalem String Quartet
by Allan Armstrong, SSP International Committee – 25-1-10

Who are the Jerusalem String Quartet? Perhaps a quote from their Israeli state backers will give some idea.

“If one minute they’re in T-shirts and the next in ties and jackets, these days they can just as frequently be seen in army fatigues. Last year they were inducted into the Israeli Defense Forces and endured a month of basic training…
The Quartet now serves as Distinguished Musicians, performing for troops three times a week…
For the three immigrants {one member was born in Israel}, carrying a rifle in one hand and a violin in the other is the ultimate Zionist statement.”
Shelley Kleiman – World Zionist Press Service

Who are the five protestors? Kevin Connor, Neil Forbes, Vanesa Fuertes, Sofia Macleod and Mick Napier, all members of the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) in Edinburgh, disrupted a concert performance of the Jerusalem String Quartet, at the Edinburgh International Festival on August 29th, 2008. This was a protest against the Israeli state’s barbarous treatment of the Palestinians.

Initially the five protestors faced the relatively mild charge of ‘breach of the peace’. However, a few days before the trial, last March, and without any explanation, the charge was changed, at the instigation of the Crown, to ‘racially aggravated breach of the peace’.

This followed stepped-up Israeli state pressure upon the British government to make it illegal in the UK and EU to promote the growing international campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), directed against Israel. The campaign took off after the Israeli savage attack on Gaza, between December 2008 and January 2009, leading to 1417 deaths, 1181 of whom were non-combatants, including 114 women and 313 children, and the continued denial of Palestinian access to the necessities of life. The BDS campaign models itself on the earlier successful international campaign targeted at another apartheid state – South Africa. As members of the SPSC, the five protestors were heavily involved in the BDS campaign.

Of course, none of the anti-racist protestors at the concert shouted any slogans directed against Jewish people. Last November, the defence was allowed access to a BBC televised transcript of the performance. This completely verified the fact that their slogans were directed solely against the Israeli state. In court, on January 21st and 22nd, the Crown shamefacedly withdrew its accusation that this had been an anti-Jewish protest. Amazingly, however, when the defence called for the charges to be dropped, the Crown still appeared to want to proceed. The case was adjourned until March for the Crown to make its case, before the judge makes a ruling in April.

If the Crown case was to be upheld, this would make any effective protest against Israel illegal, on the grounds that to criticise Israel is to attack the Jewish people (63% of whom don’t even live in Israel!) Theoretically it would also make protests against Chinese state actions in Tibet, anti-Chinese; US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, anti-American. However, much the current government might like the latter to be the case, this isn’t going to happen. However, it wouldn’t be the first time that blatant hypocrisy was enshrined in British law.

This highlights the ridiculousness of the ‘racially aggravated’ charge, made at the behest of Israel, one of the last states in the world with a racist constitution. It also shows the lengths to which British government will go to protect their murderous ally from facing any effective sanctions for its longstanding war crimes and systematic repression of the Palestinian people.”

I don’t think any socialist should be proud of being arrested on this racially aggravated charge, for attempting to attack Israelis.

I think it is even worse that socialists push barely disguised conspiracy theories, were they assume that the Procurator Fiscal’s Office in Edinburgh cooked up the charges “at the behest of Israel”.

I will let readers pick this awful article apart, but thinking on this trial should be worth following, if only to hear the nonsense arguments put forward.

(Hat tip: entdinglichung)

Update 1: More on the Jerusalem String Quartet.

Update 2: Edinburgh Evening News covered this story in August 2008.

Update 3: Adam Holland touched on these issue in July 2008.

Update 4: Engage provided some background to those involved in March 2008.

Update 5: Greens Engage on Thoughts from an SPSC (Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign) supporter.

Written by modernityblog

22/02/2010 at 15:16

One Response

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  1. […] Mod takes issue with the Scottish Socialist Party Invoking Conspiracy Theories […]


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