Micheline Brannan, the Chair of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC), has lodged a complaint with the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer following a debate about the definition of antisemitism in which she and two colleagues were allegedly branded “ideological terrorists” at the Cross Party Group on Palestine meeting in the Scottish Parliament on 25th April. There was also an attempt to have them excluded from the meeting.
According to a SCoJeC statement, “Philip Chetwynd, Treasurer of the Cross Party Group, referred to the three observers as ‘representatives of Zionist organisations’, called them ‘ideological terrorists’ and he said he felt intimidated by their presence. He had been intending to lead a discussion in the Group about the definition of antisemitism in Scotland — although this was not on the published agenda — but said he would not give his presentation because of the presence of the three observers.”
The Herald Scotland reports that “Mr Chetwynd admits using the term ‘ideological terrorists’ but denies being antisemitic.” Mr Chetwyn told the paper: “I said I regard Zionists as ideological terrorists because I think that is what they are. They actually infiltrate and try and destroy pro-Palestinian activities wherever they come across it.”
In her letter to the Presiding Officer, Ms Brannan wrote that “The effect of the antisemitic attack which I experienced was distressing and concerning and indeed I have never in my adult life or my role as Chair of SCoJeC been targeted so overtly.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism takes a close interest in fighting antisemitism in Scotland and we commend Ms Brannan for standing up to these allegedly appalling comments and intimidation. We trust that the Presiding Officer will take an appropriately tough stand.