April 14, 2009

Scottish solidarity activists charged with "racially aggravated conduct"

Five Palestine supporters arrested last year for disrupting a concert by an Israeli group are due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Friday.

The campaigners, all members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), stood up during the Aug 29th Edinburgh Festival performance of the Jerusalem Quartet and made statements including “End the Siege of Gaza—Boycott Israel!”

The campaigners were originally charged with Breach of the Peace, and had been due to be tried on March 9th. However, at an Intermediate Diet one week before the trial, the Procurator Fiscal made a motion to desert that case and bring forward new charges that their Israeli boycott protest was “racially motivated”.

Sofia MacLeod, SPSC Secretary, and one of the five accused said, “Given the absurd nature of a charge clearly designed to criminalise the growing campaign to boycott Apartheid Israel until it respects Palestinian human rights, rather than oppose the new charges, we welcomed the opportunity to highlight that to boycott Israel is the opposite of racist.”...(Scottish PSC)

Now that's prosecutorial intelligence! There is no way this isn't going to end with eggs on their face. The only question is, can we testify?

PS. The musicians of the Jerusalem Quartet, who volunteer to play for the IDF whenever in Israel, are exhibit A in the case for the moral bankruptcy of that thing euphemistically described as Western culture. Digest this:
Only once has politics interfered with the quartet's music, when Palestinian students succeeded in stopping a Jerusalem Quartet performance in Manchester, England. "For the most part, however, the kinds of people who enjoy what we have to offer are not interested in politics," said Pavlovsky. (Jewish independent)
Needless to say, a musician cannot make a statement a lot more offensive about his audience than that. It is twice offensive, first suggesting that the massacres committed by the IDF are "politics," who gets which office, that smart people don't pay much attention to, and then suggesting that his high minded audience couldn't care less about the fate of other people. That is reason enough to stay away from the Jerusalem Quartet. But you bet Pavlovsky is right. His audience probably don't just listen to music. They wear it.

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