Hate speech motion to be discussed at Aberdeen City Council

Israel has approved the building of homes in the West Bank

A cross-party motion condemning “racism, xenophobia and hate crimes” is to be debated at Aberdeen City Council this month.

Liberal Democrat Martin Greig and independent deputy council leader Marie Boulton will bring it to the full council meeting with the pair expressing particular concern over “anti-semitism masked as anti-Israel sentiment”.

Mr Greig called it the “socially acceptable form of intolerance”.

The Labour group have also indicated they are likely to support the motion.

UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who previously described Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends”, has been accused of failing to root out anti-Semtism in its ranks.

Mr Greig said: “I think many people support the anti-Israel lobby without thinking about the political situation in the Middle East.

“I think the region’s only democracy gets an undue amount of criticism while the actions of its neighbours are often ignored.

“This is a very much pick-and-mix approach to foreign policy and human rights.

“It’s completely unacceptable to target innocent individuals as if they represent a country or its government.”

Mrs Boulton added: “To suggest everyone from a country is responsible for the actions of a government is incredibly naive. I’d hope that people can just be judged on their character.”

The managing director of Jehrico Cosmetics, Nissan Ayalon, runs two stalls in Aberdeen shopping centres.

The 31-year-old Israeli, who moved to the UK from Petah Tikva in 2011, said he had received numerous threats since he arrived.

He said: “Scotland is an amazing culture and we can’t let a few rotten apples spoil the entire barrel.

“If a Chinese guy was selling Chinese products nobody bothers them, it would be considered racist to harass them no matter what their government has done.”

Aberdeen’s Trade Union Council has taken a strong pro-Palestine stance.

Unite union regional officer Tommy Campbell said: “We hope the city councillors will continue with the city council’s proud historical record of opposing racism and apartheid in South Africa by also opposing the racist apartheid policy of the current Israeli Government.

“Criticism of the crimes committed by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people is not being anti- Semitic at all and those who propagate this view don’t appear to listen to the many Israeli citizens and millions of Jewish people around the world who along with millions of other people of different religions and races all equally condemn the Israeli government for its crimes against the Palestinian people.”