Scottish first minister promises to tackle rising anti-Semitism

Meeting with Scottish Jewish leaders, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reiterates her commitment to combating Jew-hatred in Scotland.

Dan Verbin ,

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Flag of Scotland

In a meeting with Scottish Jewish leaders, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reiterated her determination to combat anti-Semitism in Scotland.

During an online conference with the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC), Sturgeon was asked about the significant increase in anti-Semitism in Scotland as detailed by a Community Security Trust report that found UK anti-Semitism, including in Scotland, was at an all-time high during the first half of 2021.

The SCoJeC gave Sturgeon examples of anti-Semitic graffiti and harassment in high schools and universities and the “vulnerability of Jewish people in remote areas.”

Sturgeon said that she understood the Jewish community's concerns, noting that many incidents go unreported due to the victims feeling vulnerable about repercussions, especially if they live in an isolated area.

Sturgeon added that she wanted to meet with and hear from as many members of the Scottish Jewish community as possible, and stated her intention to convene a public meeting with the community as soon as it was possible.

“We appreciate Ms. Sturgeon's understanding of these sensitive and complex issues. Her willingness to suggest ways in which she can support the Jewish community across Scotland to feel safe and tackle rising anti-Semitic hate crime as well as other matters of concern, is particularly welcomed,” said SCoJeC Chair Nicola Livingston.

Sturgeon said in a statement that she found the meeting “incredibly useful.”

“I would like to reassure our Jewish communities that anti-Semitism will not be tolerated in Scotland, and we remain committed to tackling it,” she said. “It unequivocally remains the case that matters abroad do not, and can not, justify anti-Semitism or expressions of racial or religious hatred of any form.”

She added: “Later this year we will report on the progress of our Tackling Prejudice and Building Connected Communities Action Plan, and develop a new hate crime strategy in consultation with stakeholders, including SCoJeC and GJRC (Glasgow Jewish - Representative Council).”