'Scottish Jews are alienated, vulnerable and may leave country'

Jewish community leader in Scotland warns that growing number of local Jews no longer feel secure. 'Many are considering emigrating.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Scottish flag
Scottish flag

Scotland is home to just 2% of Jewish population in the United Kingdom, yet they are feeling the rise of antisemitic feelings that have been spreading across Europe in recent years.

According to a recent survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, close to 90% of those questioned say they believe that for the past five years, antisemitism has been increasing throughout Europe.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents - mostly from Germany, France and Belgium - polled in the survey said they have thought of emigrating Europe.

Ephraim Borowski, the director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC), is a recipient of the MBE award, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, awarded to those who have contributed to public service, the arts and sciences as well as charitable and welfare organizations.

Last February, Borowski presented his feelings on the matter to a group on freedom of religion or belief at the Scottish Parliament.

“The general message is not that it is terrible being Jewish in Scotland. But in recent years there has been a very worrying increase in the level of anti-Semitism in the country, with the result that many Jewish people report they are actively considering emigrating from Scotland.”

Mark Gardner, director of communications at the Community Security Trust, a charity set up to ensure the safety of the Jewish community in the UK, responded to Borowski’s statement.

“This is an accurate summary of the fact that despite the many positives of Scottish Jewish life, many Jews are still considerably more nervous about the state of antisemitism, politics and society than was the case 10 or 20 years ago. A similar trend can be seen in Jewish communities across Europe and in this context, Scotland and indeed the UK as a whole remain relatively better than elsewhere.”

While some British politicians, such as Jeremy Corbyn has shared his antisemitic feelings and dislike to Israel, other politicians in Scotland feel differently.

Jackson Carlaw, a Scottish politician in Eastwood, an area with a sizeable Jewish population said, "Scotland's Jews are entitled to feel safe, to feel valued and to look forward with the same optimism as any of us."

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said: “It’s truly horrifying that more and more Scottish Jews do not feel welcome in their own country and would actually consider moving away.

“The Scotland I love is an open, tolerant and welcoming place for people of all religions and none. There should be no place in our society or politics for anti-Semitism or racism. Politicians of all parties must be vocal in condemning the disturbing rise of anti-Semitism.”