International - Middle East

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Israeli ambassador meets the Scottish government

Gaza after Israeli airstrike killed 2 more Palestinians


A recent meeting at Bute House between Alex Salmond and the UK’s Israeli ambassador, Daniel Taub, has only just come to light. Given the controversial nature of any official links with the pariah Israeli state the Scottish government felt it necessary to issue an explanatory statement:

“The First Minister held a courtesy meeting with the ambassador at Bute House on Tuesday of last week. The meeting was part of His Excellency’s first official visit to Scotland and a number of issues of mutual interest were discussed, including the situation in the Middle East and the Scottish Government’s support for international efforts to secure a peaceful two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The First Minister also discussed with the Ambassador the Scottish Government’s ongoing commitment to tackle and eradicate all forms of religious and racial prejudice in Scotland, wherever it occurs and whoever the victims are.”

It is rare that an ambassadorial courtesy visit would be turned down, even with representatives of a universally reviled rogue state such as Israel.  The problems with the visit came in its aftermath.

There seemed to be an agreed media blackout on the meeting. News only surfaced on Friday (2nd Nov) when the Israeli ambassador claimed in an interview with the Jewish Chronicle:

“”I gave the First Minister an update on the situation in the Middle East and shared with him my concerns about the elements of extreme hostility to Israel in parts of Scottish society.

“We also explored the possibility of co-operation between Israel and Scotland, particularly in the fields of business, technology, health and renewable energy.”

This last part goes way beyond the remit of a “courtesy visit” and, if true, would take the Scottish government into dangerous waters.  There is an ongoing international campaign – supported by Bella Caledonia – calling for sanctions to be taken against the Israeli state and for a boycott of Israeli goods.

So who is telling the truth here:  the Scottish government or the representatives of the Israeli state?

The Israeli state are masters of propaganda and spin.  Every foreign visit and every cultural exchange is used to present a false picture of normalised international relations.  In this respect Taub was using the visit to tell Jewish Chronicle readers: “Look, we are not international pariahs. The Scottish government wants to discuss trade links with us.  This will help give us respectability among the international community.”

This is how Israeli state propaganda works. Time-served critics of the Israel-Palestine conflict have heard all this before.  When it comes to claiming black-is-white the disinformation that comes out of the Israeli Ministry For Propaganda would make Pinocchio blush.  They are strangers to the Torah’s 9th Commandment: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Yet, despite this,  some on the Scottish left have taken the statements of the Israeli ambassador at face value, giving no credence to the Scottish Government’s summary of the meeting.  Based on little more than an Israeli spinmeister’s comments, the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign issued a statement at the weekend headlined: ‘Salmond’s New U-Turn on Israel’.  Their statement ended with the famous lines from Orwell’s Animal Farm about the pigs and humans being indistinguishable, alongside photographs of Tony Blair and Alex Salmond.

This comparison seems particularly loathsome when Tony Blair’s actions in the Middle East and Israel are set alongside those of Alex Salmond. It shouldn’t be necessary here to spell out the difference between two political track records. The words night and day come to mind. (The STV report lists some of the First Minster’s principled and humanitarian stands against Israeli aggression.)

What has further fanned the flames of controversy was a line in media reports claiming: “A follow-up meeting has been arranged between the Israeli embassy and enterprise minister Fergus Ewing.”

At this point alarm bells should quite rightly be ringing.  If the Scottish government make any attempt to normalise trade relations between Israel and Scotland this would be a disastrous move,and one with repercussions. It would be extremely divisive within the Scottish Independence movement and correctly be seen as an unforgivable betrayal of the Palestinian people.

Yet there is no evidence of this. No Scottish government sources are given for this proposed meeting nor any stated agenda.  The primary source for the Ewing meeting is, yet again, the Jewish Chronicle (1st Nov). The Scottish press only picked up on this later in the day which suggest the whole story has been promoted through Israeli PR departments.  The lazy Scottish media, as so often happens, have simply regurgitated Israeli press releases.

On this tenuous basis the SPSC, without a shred of evidence to back up their claim, blustered that the Scottish Government are now “building trade with Israel against Palestinian BDS call.”

Regular readers of Bella Caledonia know we don’t do uncritical cheer-leading for either the Scottish Government or Alex Salmond.  A wide-ranging inclusive movement for Independence needs friendly and critical dialogue.  There was a fine example of that around the debate on NATO membership when both sides stood their ground, thrashed it out, and a democratic decision was arrived at within the SNP.  As it happens Bella ended up on the losing side of that debate but we fought our corner.  We’d expect the same sort of robust debate with the Independence movement should any Scottish government – present or future – attempt to develop trade links with Israel.

Support for self-determination for the Palestinian people, and opposition to the Israeli military occupation of Palestine are non-negotiable.  This should be the principled position of our elected government too. It would be helpful if the Scottish Government set the record straight regarding the nature of any future discussions with the Israeli state.

Comments (57)

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  1. steven luby says:

    Whatever was said,not said, doesn’t really matter.All governments say one thing in covering up many things.Boycotting manufactured goods only hurt the business and employees of that business.Its an old,tired and much tried angry reaction to a failed attempt in hurting any government.It only ever hurts it’s people in the end.Politicians have a tendency in lining their own pockets and riding out boycotts.
    Thankfully whoever is trying to boycot the lives of a people from making money only stands to reason they support the boycott of goods from Iran.One people suffer why not two, along with the countless other peoples on this planet.
    Its politicians and media that should be hurt,not the people trying to work and provide food,housing,clothing and education for their children.

  2. Albalha says:

    This is indeed alarming, just wondering did BC try and ask the Scottish Government what the truth of it all was; what part of the JC piece is inaccurate? We all know the Israelis are tip top spinners but it would be somewhat comforting to have a further on the record statement from the SG.

    Alison Balharry

    1. “Israelis are tip top spinners” I was reminded of this recently. I posted in response who said that Israel needed nukes because they are threatened. I said so they should, since the stole somebody else’s land. I got a huge belligerent email response about Israel and how i was a left wing fool and needed teaching some history lessons. However since i am a long term watcher of the situation in the mid east i was able to repost their points one by one.

      on the issues in the article, i agree we should not abandon the Palestinians. On the boycott issue. An organised boycott is a very big target that the Israeli’s can counterattack. I personally prefer if people made it a personal issue- that way it can go on in a way that is much harder for traditional state apparatus can attacking (sort of guerilla versus convential army status). Also we also not stop having a dialogue with the opposite side. I is always better to argue your case politely than mudsling- it forces the other side to try and stay to listen to you.

  3. Margaret McGowan says:

    A documentary called “5 Broken Cameras” is on at 5.45 in the Filmhouse on Tuesday (6 Nov) & concerns Israeli illegal occupation of Palestinian land. The synopsis on the Filmhouse website is as follows:-

    When Emad Burnat buys a video camera to record the birth of his son, little does he know that he will suddenly be drawn into an extraordinary new role in his village of Bil’in in the West Bank. Overnight Bil’in has become the centre of an international campaign to halt the seizure of land and olive groves for Israeli settlers: one that the world must not be allowed to see. Navigating a dangerous path between truth and propaganda, family and friends, life and justice, Emad, and his camera, stay firmly in the firing line throughout this extraordinary film that shows the price of freedom steadily going up and up. Winner of Best Documentary at Sundance 2012.

    After the 5.45pm screening on Tuesday 6 November there will be an open discussion on the issues raised by the film, led by a representative of the Humanist Society of Scotland. Humanism is an ethical stance which asserts that we can lead good lives guided by compassion and reason, rather than religion or superstition. Humanists are vitally concerned with issues that affect our world.

  4. How can you express your view or change somebody else’s view if you don’t converse with them?

  5. Albalha says:

    Do you mean there’s not enough countries and politicans speaking to the Israelis?

  6. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

    The history of boycotting and not speaking to others has a bloody trail. Iraq, Afghanistan and now Syria. The ongoing poitical mess in these countries springs from a certain self-righteous high mindedness on the part of westerners who understand nothing of the complexities of life in the region. Nothing is as it seems, nothing is black and white, allegiances shift with remarkable ease. Eretz Yisrael is fighting for survival in a very hostile environment. The “Palestinians” can and do look after themselves and certainly do not need outside carers. And they are not exactly put upon innocents. When it comes to media manipulation they, whoever they might be among the factions, are no slouches. Israel is not perfect, granted and Mr Netanyahu has to be watched, but the state is closer to what one hopes the region might become socially, politically and culturally than its increasingly monocultural and intolerantly islamicized neighbours.
    If Egypt and Jordan, for example, talk to Israel why should the Scottish government not do likewise. Some people really out to get off that dated old Palestine right or wrong nag and look at the real in the politics of the ME. There is an “anti-semitic” strain in the dicourse on the left re Israel. Goes back a long way too. We should be careful the company we Scots keep. Protocols of the Elders of Zion on arabic language web sites show what attitudes Israelis have to deal with in real time. Its good to talk isn’t it?

    1. Albalha says:

      The “Palestinians” can

      Why have you used quote marks? And as you say fine if the SG wants to speak to the Israelis but why the secrecy?

      And surely, as someone who claims to know the Middle East, you understand the difference between anti-Israeli and anti-semitic …not to mention the accurate defintion of Semitic/Semite and the current usage, coined in the 19th century.

      1. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

        I use the quotes because of the wide variety of opinion in the west bank and Gaza. Not just Hamas and Fatah but all shades and nuances between. Most people In the region Arab and Israeli want a peaceful solution. Many outsiders do not. From American rightist hawks to the pathetic Mr Ahmadinadjad and his companions, this is a fight to the last drop of Arab and Israeli blood. Sickening, and made worse by the anti-Iran rhetoric coming from the former, aided by the wahaabi Saudi regime which detests Iran, its shi’ism and the territorial claim it has over Bahrain and would be quite happy for a war between Iran and Israel to ignite the region;plague on both your houses mentality.
        But that is beside the current point. Until the late sixties the people of the region, now called by the ancient name of the territory and the one used by the British mandate”Palestine/Falastiin”, were collectively known as arabs belonging to what was,during Ottoman rule, part of Greater Syria. Ethnically they are mixed as a result of plantations of Muslims from various parts of the Ottoman empire to dilute the non-muslim, largely Christian and residual Jewish, population. If they have an identity at all it is as a result of the UN’s creation of the state of Israel, with support of the Soviet bloc, in 1948 and the ensuing war with, principally, Egypt.
        I have no hold no animus against the people of what might become a “Palestinian state” but as the majority of the Israeli population consists of Jews kicked out of Arabic speaking countries, with some tacit support from the hardly pro-Jewish British foreign office, the resolution to this problem, in my view, lies in the hands of the peoples of the region. Live together they will have. They share much in common. Let the alone and reason will prevail. Meddle, strikes political/moral righteous poses and the Syrian mess will be unleashed with no quarter given. The rise of so-called fundamentalisms, religious and ethnic, will see to that. For Jews there is nowhere else to go. For Arabs this is ultimately an initiation into the real world of diversity; sophisticated and cosmopolitan maturity.
        You will probably not agree with this quick sketch but I think you will share my hope that peace and understanding come to the entire ME. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

      2. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

        Some hasty and passion induced typos in my comment. Hope makes sense. The ME and its future is of very great concern to me.

    2. Albalha says:

      This should be lower down but there was no reply option to your most recent comments.

      You say “For Arabs this is ultimately an initiation into the real world of diversity; sophisticated and cosmopolitan maturity.”

      And which countries in the world, particularly before the creation of Israel in 1948, do you think had the most diverse range of languages and religions?
      How widely have you visted the Middle East?

      1. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

        Under Ottoman rule plurality of culture and language flourished. With the Arab nationalists the Arabic language was the unifying element. Diversity was not encouraged. Christians and Jews who were the speakers of other semitic languages Coptic, Aramaic, Syriac or the non-semitic Armenian were required to conform to the new
        order or leave. Many did, and in the case of the Jews, with just the clothes they wore. Syria and to a certain extent the old Iraq tolerated diversity. The new attitude developing in the the region under an islamist umbrella has a problem with that. In Syria that diversity is rapidly being murdered by so-called freedom fighters, bearded, intolerant, foreign thugs largely. Israel, by the way, has a diversity of language that makes the place a fascinating cocktail of cultures. Hebrew, Arabic dialects, Ladino,Persian, Ethiopic, Yiddish,
        Russian……not bad eh! And the food,,,,,,,a delicious mix of the countries its citizens came
        from. The ME ought to be like that.

    3. Albalha says:

      Ah Israel that peaceful, multi cultural, multi linguistic, multi faith tolerant democracy that its critics just don’t get …… see completely where you’re coming from now. As you appear to have been to Israel may I suggest a trip to Gaza (if you haven’t been) and then let’s have another discussion.

      1. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

        ان شاءالله one day we might agree. At present suspect this is not possible. I have not been to
        Gaza but I know Arabic speaking countries
        really quite well. What is going on in Syria is paradigmatic, is that the correct term?, of
        everything wrong in the area. No civil society, no alternative to the ignoramuses who preach the friday hate sermon from the minbar. Be a shahiid for Allah….be like the Prophet and crush the wicked Jew, forget this world for paradise awaits the martyr. How dehumanising, how sad, how perverted. Israel, as i stated previously is far from perfect. But states under threat from extinction cant be expected to be normal and nice. After all when your citizens have forebears burned out of their homes, murdered, robbed etc ( -and i am not
        talking about the Shoah/holocaust) the memory lingers…..however i wish you שלמ since we at
        least share a view on Scotland’s future if we are poles apart on this topic. Had too many dialogues of this kind in my relatively short life to be bothered any more about not making “converts”. Ciao.

    4. martinthorpe says:

      Well argued Alistair, like you I’m no great fan of the state of Israel but the comparison to it’s muslim neighbours is stark. These are all by and large failed states whose inevitable collapse will have serious consequences for us in Europe. Exploding populations, semi-feudal social relations, endemic corruption and pathetic economic development are the norm. Quite why it is that those on the left feel drawn like lemmings to support this lot of undesirables has mystified me since I was old enough to start think for myself.

      My geologist step father spent many years working and traveling in the ME. A highly intelligent and thoughtful man his (often barely believable) accounts of the waste, incompetence, mismanagement and general sloth he encountered is a damming inditement of Arabs and their world. He describes Orwellian police states where fear pervades absolutely, governance is arbitrary and irrational and there is an utter lack of the intellectual essentials that we the West would consider critical to any concept of modernity.

      Fate has provided in the form of oil, riches beyond their wildest imagination but instead of sharing with their co-religionists the buggers instead waste it on mansions (I’ve just walked past a couple on The Bishops Avenue, Hampstead), military hardware or hoard it in Swiss bank accounts. Why, oh why progressives feel imperilled to involve themselves in this intractable mess is crazy. The ME is a mess but thankfully it’s a long, long way away. Its also worth remembering that we have quite enough of are own home grown intractable problems: the underclass, sectarianism, a structurally knackered economy, etc, etc. Lets concentrate on these and leave saving the world to Superman and Mr. Brown.

  7. picpac67 says:

    No-one with any moral sense can defend what Israel has done in the past 65 years – starting with the Nakba. It is in all senses a rogue state with no legitimate foundation. It has no constitution because it would have to state its territorial claims. It has been clear from the start that its long-term aim is to occupy and control the whole of Palestine, and ultimately rebuild Solomon’s Temple.
    Apart from its appalling treatment of the real Semites (the Palestinians) which has gone unpunished for far too long, it has a long and dirty track record of international terrorism, including evidence of involvement in 9/11. Have people forgotten the Israeli false-flag attack on the USS LIberty in 1967 which left 34 American sailors dead?
    All trade with Israel should have been cut long ago. Unfortunately, Britain has always acted as Washington’s poodle in relation to Israel, which receives more in aid from the US than the total of all America’s other foreign aid. Britain also has its own influential Zionist/pro-Israel lobby – especially in the BBC, which was shown by the Glasgow University Media Group to be consistently biased in favour of Israel.
    It is Israel and its neocon friends in Washington who are pushing hard for an attack on Iran – which could start a third world war. To its shame, Britain was one of the countries which facilitated Israel’s illegal and still secret nuclear weapons programme – while Israel hypocritically claims that Iran has no right to the same.
    Israel’s crimes have been tolerated for far too long. It is too late now to turn the clock back – but an independent Scotland that has a moral conscience should have no truck with this greatest of rogue states.
    If Israel (and its supporters everywhere, including in Scotland) had ever shown any real intention of seeking a just solution in Palestine, one might be prepared to give them another chance. They have not. It is time that justice took precedence over commercial and political interests.

    1. martinthorpe says:

      “Greatest of rogue states”??? I know its Sunday as we’re all a little hungover but please. I’m no great fan of the state of Israel and certainly not of the zionist project but this statement is pure nonsense. The list of states Arab, non-Arab that are infinitely worse transgressors than Israel is as long as your arm and whilst this certainly doesn’t exonerate Israel you have to ask how you yourself would react to an existentialist threat from all those around you, probably not in the most rational and sympathetic of fashions I’d wager.

      Look at the end of the day neither you me or any other contributor to this web site is going to have the slightest impact on this issue so lets leave it well alone and concentrate on that which we can effect.

  8. Disco says:

    Ummm! There are a lot of things I don’t like about the Israeli state, but I’m quite glad they’re there when I look at the growing emergence of crackpot fundamentalist Islamists in the Arab countries.

  9. Roger says:

    “a number of issues of mutual interest were discussed, including the situation in the Middle East and the Scottish Government’s support for international efforts to secure a peaceful two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

    How is the oppression of millions of Palestine a ‘mutual’ issue? Are the Scots oppressing the Palestinians as well?

  10. David Moynagh says:

    I do not think Alex Salmond would be at all interested in the economic potential in trading haggis for bagels. I would bet my last shekel that the story,just like the bagel has a hole in it for all to see through.

    1. Albalha says:

      Well surely that’s we need to hear from the SG?

  11. picpac67 – hear, hear.
    If the Israeli govt is showing the slightest interest in what’s happening here, no matter how ‘diplomatic’ that interest may be, it’s proof that the Yes campaign is being taken very seriously by major players. Salmond is nothing if not pragmatic, so he won’t want to fall-out with them, but he must realise that there is powerful anti-zionist sentiment here – to conflate that legitimate concern with anti-semitism is easy, but it’s become a tired, predictable tactic, as vacuous as it is dangerous.
    Zionist shills have the most organised, best-funded propaganda operation online – any discussion which even touches upon the legitimacy of the Israeli state immediately attracts the usual tirades invoking Islamic fundamentalism, the holocaust etc.
    If you emptied Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Stirling, Inverness, and ferried all the evacuees to the Isle of Arran, you’d still need to take a further 100,000 people from other Scottish towns and villages to bring the population up to the number currently packed into Gaza. Even then, the population density still wouldn’t be similar because Arran is 20% bigger than Gaza.

  12. Dave Coull says:

    I was agreeing with nearly all of this until I came to the bit about NATO and “a democratic decision was arrived at within the SNP”. Many members of the SNP have questioned just how “democratic” it was. What was proposed was nothing less than a U-Turn on a policy held for decades. Angus Robertson had promised there would be thorough discussion by the entire membership of the party BEFORE their conference. But by the time the details of his resolution were known, there simply wasn’t adequate time for that. But Robertson had the backing of Alex Salmond and the rest of the party leadership, and very heavy pressure was put on delegates to back the U-turn. Afterwards, it turned out that some branches which had specifically delegated their delegates to oppose the pro-NATO move were furious that their delegates crumbled under that pressure; they did not in fact behave as delegates. And even despite such pressure, the majority, out of OVER SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY DELEGATES , was just 39 votes. As many people have pointed out, 39 votes is considerably less than the “payroll vote” of folk who could have feared for their jobs if they went against what the leadership wanted. There was a motion to refer the matter back to the membership for further consideration before taking any decision. That very sensible motion was, unfortunately, defeated (but see my earlier comments). Two MSPs have since resigned from the SNP, and the turmoil within the SNP over NATO is continuing. This one will run and run, precisely because what was arrived at was anything but a “democratic decision”.

    1. Albalha says:

      Why do you think they want this U turn?

  13. Asif Iqbal says:

    It’s always easy o cast Isael as the bad guy, and in some cases their actions or wrong, but never do ou condemn the Hamas policy that calls for the expiration of Israel, not the bombs on buses or the rocket attacks. If the Arab States had not besieged Israel, if the Arab states had not treated the Palrstinianscas convenient lepers, we would not be in this situation

  14. Spout says:

    I spy hasbarists…apologists….
    littering these comments.
    Boycott all companies complicit in the illegal occupation.

  15. martinthorpe says:

    “Hasbara Brigade
    Hasbara is a Hebrew word that means ‘explanation.’ ‘Hasbara Brigade’ has come to mean posters who are obvious trolls who insert an aggressive pro-Israel slant into comments. There has been evidence that this is an official tactic of the Israeli government.”

    Spout, quite what you’re doing on this site is a bit of a mystery. You question the motives of those who disagree with you and paint them as mere agents of Israel – Christ that the buggers would pay me. You exhibit a tendency common to those of a closed mind; namely a failure to engage with the argument and instead resort to name calling and moronic cliche.

    The history of this blighted part of our world responsible as it is for generating three of the grandest and most dangerous mass delusions in human history is a sad inditement of our species, but it also demonstrates the absolute requirement for rational discourse and not hysterical balderdash.

    Israel is the best of a bad bunch but in the end what the hell has this got to do with Scottish independence. Are you and Kevin Williamson seriously suggesting that an independent Scotland have no diplomatic ties with Israel, is that what you’re saying. If it is then say so and stop pussy footing around. Man-up fella, statehood (which I assume you’re in favour of) will bring with it a raft of dubious responsibilities, membership of the EU and NATO, the pound stirling, Queenie, etc, etc. On a sliding scale, diplomatic niceties with the likes of Israel, let alone the truly criminal types like Saudi Arabia and Russia are simply a sad fact of life, get over it pal and if organising trade embargo’s is your bag might I tactfully suggest you bugger off to more appropriate pastures.

    1. martinthorpe,
      That’s quite a rant in response to just 15 words from ‘Spout’ – unless you’re familiar with him/her from a different site, it seems you’re assuming a great deal on the basis of not-a-lot. Perhaps you consider statements of support for Palestinians an annoying distraction, but they’re hardly off-topic considering the subject of the article. You clearly don’t have time for ‘the left’ in general (and yes, I’m aware of your interesting history of party-political allegiances because you hepfully listed them in a recent post elsewhere) but perhaps you can ‘man-up’ sufficiently to concede that raising objections to the behaviour of Israel (or ‘the zionist project’ as you called it – synonymous, no?) is about basic human decency – if that objection takes the form of a call for boycott, sanctions and divestment, and if that call attracts support, perhaps you’d care to address the reasons why such calls are made rather than dismiss the action out-of-hand.
      A bit less ad hominem and a touch more empathy with co-posters’ legitimate concerns/viewpoints would make your contributions to this discussion much more palatable – as things stand (and I really don’t mean this personally) you’re coming across as a supercilious fud.

      1. Stevie says:

        Ian it’s sweet that you jump to Spout’s defence but do you consider nipping on an internet forum and branding everyone you disagree with ‘hasbarists…apologists….’ in the spirit of Kevin’s call for robust debate or in fact showing empathy with your co-posters?

        Or is it just the same old shite that armchair warriors in the west spout about the IP conflict and have been doing fruitlessly for years. It might be exciting to imagine the other geezers that you are chatting to on the internet are all part of a grand zionist conspiracy and it’s only you standing between them and the trooth. However, they are just people waiting for the kettle to boil or something good to come on the telly or for one of their handful of pals to invite them out for a pint.

        To be honest the Indie ran an article about the portion of the UK’s national debt that an Independent Scotland would have to shoulder yesterday. I imagine the majority of people in Scotland would rather AS addressed that rather than wasting time on a side issue which is of interest to the the 20 old farts in the SPSC and the five ladies in Glasgow’s Southside who subscribe to the JC.

  16. Mick Napier says:

    The Scottish Government has already awarded £200,000 to an Israely settler company, Eden Springs, to carry out a business plan that includes marketing the products of another Israel settler company, SodaStream. until Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing denies that he will be meeting with Reps from the Israel Embassy, it is wisest to accept reports in the public domain. SPSC will be using FoI rights, as we used to winkle out Swinney’s role in the Eden Springs scandal, to find out who agreed to the follow up meeting and why. As far as the SG and a ‘loathesome’ award of Scottish taxpayers’ money to an Israeli company is concerned, the jury is no longer out. despite their warm words of support for Palestine in the past, the dirty deed was done.
    .Read full sordid story, backed up by full evidence, sources, documents

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Mick – your article on SCPS had a headline “Salmond’s New U-Tunr on Israel”. It claimed that following a meeting between AS and Daniel Taub trade links with Israel were being built. I’ve challenged that and am asking you to show us your evidence. You dont know what the outcome of that meeting was, nor whether it was being used to build trade links. Your only source for your attack on the Scottish government is the claims of a high ranking employee of the Israeli state. This is not good enough. Yet on this spurious basis you say AS is turning into Tony Blair. As I said before that claim is loathsome when you compare the track record of the two.

      The Eden Springs story does not constitute a “New Salmond U-Turn on Israel” as you seem to imply. The SE award happened two years ago. It is still unclear whether the SG were duped by Eden Springs on question of the company’s deliberately complex structure. Like you I’d like a straight answer on that one. If the SG were duped they should come out and say so. To my knowledge no further contracts have been approved at SG level (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that one) since then which makes me suspect the SG had their fingers burnt on this, something which your scatter gun attacks haven’t even bothered to consider. (Why not?) This is not to undermine the importance of the boycott of Eden Springs which I support. Nor is it to undervalue the good work by the SPSC to unearth the 2009 letter using a FoI request.

      The trouble with SPSC making wild unsubstantiated attacks on the SG/AS is that it undermines the credibility of the information disseminated by your organisation, and as a consequence you may lose the ear of people sympathetic to objectives of SPSC. Its a pretty safe bet that the majority of Scottish Indy supporters will be solidly behind freedom for the Palestinian people, whereas the majority of Unionist supporters of the British state will be more inclined to support the US-UK-Israeli political axis.



      1. Kevin
        I’m sure Mick, and myself, sincerely hope you prove to be right on this. But the evidence so far points the other way, doesn’t it? If not, why hasn’t the SG corrected the ‘Taubspin’.
        You are particularly affronted at Mick’s assertion that Salmond is moving rightwards towards sharing the position of Blair. He does lay out clearly Salmond’s previous statements, something you only give STV credit for, and there is clearly a major shift. Surely this can be drawn from and combined with his shift from condemnation of NATO to the very opposite? If you ask me, he has clearly done deals with the US and this ‘first official visit by His Excellency’ (FFS!) is part of the deal.
        Again I say this stooshie has more to do with a desperation to have Salmond as positive leader of the referendum campaign. Something you well know I have my doubts about but in no way am trying to undermine with raising this. In fact, I’d say the real danger is relying and trusting far too much in any bourgeois politicians, especially one as “pragmatic”, as Ian diplomatically puts it, as Salmond.

      2. bellacaledonia says:

        Tam – The whole point of this article was to challenge a misleading statement issued by SPSC, and to ask for the burden of proof rather than suppositions and guesswork. I choose to not to believe the Israeli Ambassador for simple reason the Israeli state has a track record of lying about everything they do. Yes I could be proved wrong but until there is proof then why cry wolf?

        As far as AS moving right and turning into Tony Blair – as yourself and SPSC claim – surely you can see that even if AS for pragmatic reasons chooses to embrace NATO this hardly puts him on a par with a disgusting reptilian war criminal like Tony Blair who lied, misled Parliament and the people over WMD and 45 min warnings, then bombed and murdered innocent civilians, and whose dodgy company is now benefiting financially from the illegal war in Iraq. Even accounting for a change in NATO stance there is a moral and political chasm between the two. I’m not cheerleading blindly for AS simply pointing out the bleeding obvious.


  17. ich bin ein burdiehouser says:

    What’s saddening for me is seeing kev and tdb, two of my foremost counter-cultural icons – exchanging heavy tweets over this. Please kiss and make up guys – we need yis both.

    1. Dinnae worry Burdiehouser, Kev & I are mates and never going to fall out, whatever differences might arise…but thanks for your concern.

      1. KW says:

        Tam’s a very close mate and kens I love him like a brother so thats no going to happen. 🙂 Which is also why I’m no letting him off wi fuck all. And vice versa nae doot.

  18. Stevie says:

    I wonder if Mike was aware he was in the pay of the Zionist Moonman Nexus when he was reporting on St Mirren versus Kilmarnock all those years ago.

  19. martinthorpe says:


    Personally I give you less than 24 hours living under Hamas.

    You find my tone slightly bluff, well why not be as good as your word and embrace the world of “submission” Islamic style. If you’re gay you’re dead, if you’re a communist you’re dead, if you’re an atheist you’re dead, if you’re a Buddhist/Christian, if you want to “marry out” you’re dead, etc, etc, you’re dead, period.

    The sad reality is that these lunatics were voted into power by thew people of Gaza, desperate times desperate measures maybe but the bottom line is that you Ian are alining yourself with some of the worlds nastiest little fascist bastards.

  20. martinthorpe,
    If your syntax accurately reflects your cognitive capacities,
    you’ve just confirmed how confused you are.

  21. bellacaledonia says:

    Just to clarify, IMO dialogue with the Israeli state, even if it has to be behind closed doors, can only help towards moving the conflict to a solution acceptable by all parties. This is very different from promoting trade relations.


    1. Albalha says:

      So does anyone know yet if the follow up Ewing meetings are in the diary or a work of fiction?

    2. I am finding it a bit difficult to follow Kevin’s line on this. It does seem to be chopping and changing since my initial tweet about Salmond’s meeting caused him to bluster that it was all just ‘Taubspin’. Then it was STVs report that was ‘fact’. Then backtracked away from that and now this baloney that secret talks with Israel “can only help move the conflict to solution” after calling it, quite rightly,a pariah state.
      How does he figure that out?? Israel has only one solution in mind- the complete destruction of any Palestinian entity whatsoever and a Greater Israel. The supposed “two state solution” is not on the agenda and its mention in the SG statement shows how they are falling into line with the imperialist position. No mention of any sort of justice for Palestinians. So Salmond is now on the side of Tony Blair. He has just had his ‘Clause 4 moment’ with the NATO vote ( which Kevin seems to be treating as a five-aside football match- “friendly” debate but ah well, lost that one, never mind ) and it’s no surprise that hard on its heels comes Hammond’s announcement about Trident and this ‘normalisation’ with Israel. And like with Blair and the Labour Party, there is the dangerous belief that the only way to win the referendum is with Salmond in charge. That’s why Kevin rushed to his defence and got into this tangle. I appreciate him opening it up to debate here but, of course. that has brought the Zionist trolls out to play. And on that, Kevin’s confusion with the use of the term Zionist also plays into the hands of the racist apartheid pariah state.

      1. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

        This is exactly the convoluted old style stalinist leftist logic that makes Hasbarah necessary. As i stated elsewhere the citizen of West Bank and Gaza are quite capable of defending themselves. They have the solid weight of the Islamic world behind them. Not that it has done them much good because, I can assure you, many Arabs are sick and tired of the “Palestinian affair” and the endless wingeing from the political nonentities and thugs who claim to represent its citizens. They ,ie their rotten leadership, are bad news. They got kicked out of Tunisia when Arafat was active and really screwed up Lebanon leading to the cathartic horrific atrocity in Sabrah/Chatillah. They dominate Jordan already. And were certainly involved in the factionalism that has led to the lamentable breakdown of Syria. Lacking effective unified leadership they are prey to every passing ideological notion. They’ve done the lot Naziism in thirties/forties, Arab nationalist socialism, communism and resurgent Islamism now. I do not know what the Scottish left gains from unconditionally supporting a cause which is everything contrary to its own outlook. They should leave such thin lipped, primly smug, eccentric posturing to the likes of Gorgeous George. Except, of course, it may be the old antisemitism (very much alive and sickening) of sections of the left that motivates it. Nudge nudge, wink wink, he’s a Yid, a sly hasbarah “propagandist” so he would say that wouldn’t he for no right thinking human being could actually say anything GOOD about that lot. You just cant win…..
        PS. Cameron is currently flogging big guns and
        nasty stuff to the “democratic” states of the Gulf
        and Ibn Saudia. Probably use them against Shi’i in Bahrain and perhaps Iran..Happy? Welcome to the horridly complicated world of political reality. Black, white, grey,bloody….take your choice. שלמ

      2. bellacaledonia says:

        “I am finding it a bit difficult to follow Kevin’s line on this.”

        That’s why I took time to try and set out my thoughts in the article above rather than in Twitter exchanges which can easily be misconstrued (as Jim Murphy tried to do with one of my Tweets in our exchange).


  22. Bella strikes again!
    Quite a serious issue to be ‘toying’ with; the ‘state’ of affairs with this issue is very complex, and ‘dependent’ upon many other facets of geopolitical policy. I’m not sure a ‘brief’ encounter does this issue any good. It’s very true most of this is about spin, and realpolitiks, but there are many who are very concerned about this geopolitical area of foreign affairs; and maybe that’s why scotland’s First Minister is ‘talking’ to the Israeli ambassador; I mean, if you’re not taking part in the game you can’t influence the outcome whatsoever.

    I think it’s good we talk to Israel. I also think there are many problems for Israel, and that region, shown in all the comments we seen so far.

  23. AF Bell –
    If Tam Dean Burn is using ‘old style stalinist leftist logic’, how would you describe the type you are using – you mention Sabra and Shatilla, and imply that the civilians summarily slaughtered there were somehow to blame? What perversion of ‘logic’ does that involve? Please enlighten us.

    1. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

      اقول تور يقول احلبوه A piece of Arabic wisdom.
      Roughly, i say it’s a bull, he says milk it.
      Lets beg to differ. By the way i implied no such thing. that is your particular construction. Anyway, Got2go.. Off to my hasbarah cell briefing! שלמ

  24. Aye, okay, we get the message – you can type Arabic. Big deal. For all I know, you’ve written ‘get it right up ye’. In the immortal words of Shania Twain, ‘that don’t impress me much’.
    What would be impressive is you, as an obvious supporter of Israel, explaining how it came to pass that the government of a tiny state, with almost exactly the same area as Wales (based on pre-67 borders) came to have such disproportionate leverage in world affairs; has simply ignored dozens of UN resolutions condemning its behaviour; has created a de facto apartheid state; exerts blatant manipulation of the US electoral system via the most powerful lobbying interests ever known.
    That would be impressive. But please, AFB, do us a wee favour – write it in English, eh?

    1. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

      Yeh, would be impressive…if i could be bothered. there is already hectares of print on “jewish power”, its use and misuse; mostly the latter of course. And we have Norman Finkelstein to tell us how awful Israel is from his self-lacerating perspective; nothing worse than a jew with identity hangups. When i read the type of stuff that brands Israel, and by extension Jews, as purveyors of lies and perpetrators of monstrous crimes i am inclined to think that little has really changed in the west. The nazi ideologues did a good job, for the views they formulated still find fertile ground for germination. That the “leadership” of the Palestinian cause has had and sadly still has a happy relationship with those views, notoriously personified in the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, amongst others, and the notorious Protocols, available for download from many Arabic language “militant” websites incl the Muslim Brotherhood, makes me intellectually adverse to the simplistic analyses of the problem retailed in most of the media, right or left. This often amounts to, if Israel did not exist, the best solution, or if the Israelis were nicer to their neighbours, all would be well. Oh dear, that needs to be added to the list of crass notions and cockups made by western powers
      in the region over the last two hundred years.
      The neo-Ottoman Turks are taking a keen interest in the affairs of the region now the EU and turkic central asia are not yielding the political influence dividends. With Kurds kicking off in Syria fighting the socalled activists to add to the rest of the mess the Palestinian problem will be the least of the next US presidents troubles. Turkey, NATO member, calling for alliance support…….boom boom….tisba ala kheir/oidhche mhath/guid nicht ya bey!

    2. Stevie says:

      Why don’t you answer that questions Ian. I’d like to know how can anybody rationally believe that a country as tiny as Wales can hold control the most powerful nation in the world not mention the UN. But I’m open to your ideas so with the greatest respect enlighten me.

      I notice a previous commenter, who you applauded mentioned that the BBC was not in fact run by a bunch of London centric media types but is in the pocket of the Zionists. The BBC is routinely lambasted for being anti-Israel by various websites and commentators, Jeremy Bowen being a closet Jihadi. So who am I to believe?

      Just to clarify things I’m a long term Labour supporter who for the first time voted for the SNP recently. I’m anxious about nationalism but have been impressed by the SNP and am at a bit of a crossroads. I’m a left-winger but am concerned about age old reactionary notions from the irrational right finding there way into progressive groups under the guise of anti imperialism or libertarianism. I understand these comments are below the line but back when I was a boy the people who were saying that Zionists controlled the UN, America and the media were generally ensconced in some compound in the backwoods oiling their guns and ironing pointy hats while waiting for the coming of the NWO/ZOG.

      Quite happy to have a discussion but I don’t want to have a big slanging match.

      Oh and I’m not one of the army of Zionist shills you mentioned earlier, I’m just a bloke, but if I see them I’ll let them know you were asking for them.

      1. Stevie,
        It’s not for me or anyone else to tell you what to believe, but when posters like AFB present an image of Israel which is so misleading, he must expect to be challenged. I’m no expert on ME politics – like many others, my awareness of the Palestinian situation has increased since the Second Intifada erupted in parallel with broader access to the Net.
        A slanging match? – it’s well-nigh impossible for this subject to arise without bitter arguments, and that in itself should serve as proof of how intensely many people feel about it.
        BTW, I did not accuse you of being a shill, and I did not say the BBC is in the pockets of Zionists. I’m not interested in arguing with you, martinthorpe, AFB, or anyone else – what I’m saying, and will continue to repeat, is that the Palestinians have been getting it in the neck for the past sixty years – it has to end. That position, as KW, TDB and others in this thread have reiterated, is non-negotiable, and any discussions with Israel, Murdoch, or anyone else ought to start with that position stated upfront.

    3. Stevie says:

      Hi Ian

      And thanks for the reply,

      You have to understand that many people also consider terms such as apartheid as being misleading when applied to Israel, incidentally that includes Judge Goldstone. Personally I find all that emotive stuff counterproductive. But you are right the Palestinians have been getting it in the neck for 60 years and i suppose it’s how we remedy that situation. I’m a two stater as are Norman Finklestein and Noam Chomsky and believe that dialogue and pressure is the way forward.

      My main concern, though is the increasing popularity of conspiracy theories which have their genesis in irrational right and allude to mythical Jewish power and a cabal of shady Zionists. I often see comments on progressive sites, which would be more at home in Stormfront, go unchallenged. In fact Respect’s new Woman’s officer was posting on facebook that she wondered why Hitler was ‘the bad guy’ which to me is flabbergasting, aside from the racism Hitler strung up every left winger he could get his hands on.

      I suppose being a Glaswegian I think it would be a great shame if Scotland’s tiny Jewish community, (which is largely in Glasgow) were made to feel unwelcome when conversations around the IP conflict cross the line

  25. Well, it’s a pity you couldn’t be bothered. I’m sure many of us would have enjoyed seeing your analysis of some pretty obvious questions rather than simply kicking the can into territory you prefer we focus on. For someone with such a sophisticated world-view, I wonder if you’ve ever, in your quieter moments, considered the sad truth that transplant operations don’t always work.

    1. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

      Hey! transplant! the whole region has experienced transplant. the Arab population largely transplanted the original Jewish population after the muslim conquest. the area was fertile and very attractive to the incoming tribes from Arabia. The process was t, h, of property, force marriage, concubinage,conversion and a fair amount of slaughter of the non-compliant. The Christian Aramaic/Syriac/ Greek speaking element, at the time probably the majority was also predated and reduced by conversion and the odd massacre over time. The we have the crusaders. New blood mix, plenty of familiar slaughter and reconversion. Then the ottoman transplantations. North africans, Albanians, Turks, Kurds add to the already rich mix. During all this time there are still jews living and against all odds surviving in the area. The constant is the jewish presence. Jews were never ejected from area. The romans in fact tried to wipe out the jewish presence, linguistically and ethnically but failed. They renamed the area, from which we have the name Palestine/Filastiin (derived from the earlier invading Philistines of course) in order to wipe clean the slate. Very messy, very ugly, very imperialist. The victors write the history. Muslim propagandists have done a good job skewing the history. The English in partic with their weird fascination for the exotic, the desert and all that nonsense did their job too. T E Lawrence disliked, Jews, Arab Christians, urbanized Arabs,….everything except the bedouin in their tents. Survives in the leanings of the FO for creating desert kingdoms and selling arms to those lovely emirs, sheikhs and sultans of the fabricated gulf states.
      Thats nough4 2day……must go.
      Anyway plenty on this in print and in english too. Not all written by you know who either…Seek and ye shall find…..salaam/shalom/שלמ/سكام

      1. Alasdair, your summary is quite correct in the transhistorical sense; that region is called Palestine, and originally comes from its historical meaning to the Romans; of Jeremiah 14;12, and Jeremiah 24;10. If you consider what this region means to God, and the different aspects of Judaism, (Orthodox, Messsianic, Zionist), then you can see it’s very complex. And,
        they fundamentally disagree with the Palestinians too. As we can see, this region is a very complex situation, and has been for thousands of years.

      2. To pre-date all, that region was given to the people of God, the people of Israel, upon which scripture tells us the book of Jeremiah has its prophetic origin from the book, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, 6;2.
        Getting complex, isn’t it !

  26. Mick Napier says:

    1. I take second place to no-one in detestation of Tony Blair, but a political crime is a crime and joining the Mafia or NATO is not defensible on any grounds, much less the cover all of pragmatism. NATO is massacring Afghans and Pakistanis and threatens to use weapons that will exterminate whole cities – newborn infants, pensioners, people going to work, and people’s aunties and children. Embracing NATO is embracing war and aggression. Poppy day is coming up – a reminder of how the Labour Party once embraced the use of bayonets with workers on both ends. Cheat me once…
    2. Anyone in Scotland joining Tony Blair and David Cameron in promoting the so-called “two state solution” today is a fool or a charlatan. It is a complete fantasy as you can see by using Google maps for five minutes, and a cover for the ongoing theft of Palestinian territory and Israel’s plan to bunch Palestinians it cannot immediately get rid of into open prisons. This openly discussed plan aims to secure a Jewish state without an Arab ‘demographic threat’. (If anyone speaks to you in this country of a demographic threat from the wrong kind of people, don’t continue the conversation.)
    3. I also can’t see the point in engaging with the likes of AFB, a person who can actually write “the citizen of West Bank and Gaza are quite capable of defending themselves” in the aftermath of the Operation Cast Lead massacre, not to mention subsequent small Israeli massacres that don’t even get to his ears. When many thousands were marching to try to stop OCL presumably AFB was telling them there was no need.

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