SACC Statement on the Stand Up to Racism march in Glasgow on Saturday 17 March 2018:
SACC deplores the decision by Stand Up to Racism Scotland to do nothing to stop COFIS (Confederation of Friends of Israel in Scotland) participating in the march or to indicate disapproval of COFIS.
SACC as an organisation does not support the march. We leave it to individuals to decide whether to participate or not. We know that some will wish to do so, believing the march, even in these circumstances, to represent something bigger than the organisers. We know that others will feel unable to participate. We offer our solidarity to everyone who stands against all forms of racism, whatever decision they take.
COFIS (Confederation of Friends of Israel in Scotland) members marched with their banner as part of last year's anti-racism demo in Glasgow. They have said publicly that they will participate in the march again this year. COFIS works in partnership with the Israeli government and international pro-Israel organisations such as Christians United for Israel (led by John Hagee who is known for his antisemitic and racist outbursts). It was founded in order to counter the work of Palestine solidarity campaigners in Scotland. Its tactics include intimidation by smears of racism and lobbying local authorities to use and abuse hate crime legislation in order to protect the state of Israel.
A motion stating that the aims of COFIS are "incompatible with the principles and aims of SUTR" and calling for COFIS to be told that they are not welcome on this year's Stand Up To Racism march in Glasgow was discussed and defeated at the Stand Up to Racism Scotland steering committee meeting on 10 March. The motion was moved by individual SACC members and had been adopted by SACC as an organisation (full text of the motion here).
The Stand Up to Racism Scotland steering committee was set up following the first Stand Up to Racism Scotland Conference in September 2016. It is made up of individuals nominated and agreed by consensus at the conference. The second conference (re-scheduled from autumn 2017) was held on 2 February 2018.
Stand Up to Racism Scotland has not so far issued any statement about this matter. Instead it issued the following statement after the committee meeting:
"Stand up to Racism is a broad coalition comprising many civic organisations, refugee and migrant communities, as well as trade unions, political organisations and individuals. The key criteria are opposition to the rising tide of racism, Islamophobia, Antisemitism and the scapegoating of refugees and migrants. If you support these principles please come and join us on M17."
What Others Say
Statement from Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign: "It is with great regret, that we have concluded that we cannot participate in Saturday’s march since SUTR in Scotland and UK-wide has let it be known that the racist Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland (COFIS), will be allowed to present itself as an anti-racist group on the march with a banner and Israeli flags." Read the full SPSC statement for some valuable background.
Statement from Scottish Friends of Palestine: "We strongly advise and recommend a boycott of this Saturday's march and demonstration in Glasgow. SUtR cannot choose which racist state to oppose and which to ignore" More background here, read it as well as the SPSC statement.
Anti-racism means no Zionist banners: a letter from Jewish anti-racists
Friends of al Aqsa Edinburgh says: "FOA - Edinburgh will be boycotting this anti-racist demonstration. We will not march with a racist apartheid state!"
Apologists for Israel’s crimes not welcome on anti-racist protest: article in the Morning Star by Margaret Pacetta and John Hilley
A Fraudulent Quid Pro Quo - Israel, Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism: article by Richard Haley
Keep our anti-racism march anti-racist! SACC news item, 28 Feb
"United Nations bodies, national Governments and civil society actors,including religious organizations, should formally endorse the principal finding of this report that the treatment by Israel of the Palestinians is consistent with the crime of apartheid." - Recommendation of the report "Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid" by Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley, commissioned by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)