Stand Up To Racism
[where not all anti-racists are equal]
“Get to the back. You’re not welcome here!” That was the less than welcoming message from one of the key officials of the annual SUTR (Stand Up To Racism) march in Glasgow.
Since 2017, members of Scottish Friends of Israel groups have taken part in the annual Stand Up To Racism march in Glasgow. Their participation has not always been easy – in 2018, hate groups overwhelmed the police which led to violence, including sexual assault, and threats against ‘Zionists’. Meanwhile, an assortment of organisations have campaigned each year since for any group perceived to be 'pro Israel' to be banned from the march.
On 18 March 2023, members of Glasgow Friends of Israel and Highland Friends of Israel assembled in George Square for the start of this year’s march. Although there had been liaison with Police Scotland to ensure their protection, any ‘Zionist’ who dared to try and join the mainstream march was forcefully told by organisers that they were not welcome and ordered to the back, where they were separated from the rest of the marchers by a line of stewards. One Jewish lawyer was sworn at by an Afghan refugee whom he had personally helped many years ago. Meanwhile masked men stood menacingly and ‘protestors’ from a range of hate groups made obscene gestures and shouted vile abuse.
So, why do the Friends of Israel bother? Because each of the individuals involved, and we know them all personally, has a genuine commitment, as does COFIS, towards promoting community harmony and challenging discrimination, particularly antisemitism.
And when many people on an “anti-racism” march actively promote racism towards Israel and Israelis, we need to speak out.