The SPSC Five

By Ahmed Asif

Five members of a pro-Palestinian group are appearing in court on the charge of racism after protesting at the Edinburgh Festival against the Jerusalem Quartet.

The members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign interrupted the performance on the 29th of August by shouting anti-Israeli slogans during the performance, chants of “End the siege of Gaza” and “Boycott Israel” were echoed throughout the hall.

One of the members who participated in the protest who was subsequently arrested by police  stated on the nature of the arrest that “Given the absurd nature of the 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”.

pro-Palestine supporters protest outside the Queen's Hall in Edinburgh. (Picture courtesy of Edinburgh News).
pro-Palestine supporters protest outside the Queen's Hall in Edinburgh. (Picture courtesy of Edinburgh News).

The Jerusalem Quartet started their performance but were interrupted on several occasions, as the first protester was escorted out by police and the performance resumed another pro-Palestine supporter stood up and voiced her say stating that Palestinians could not enjoy the same level of freedom of movement as the Israeli’s and also criticised the Israeli army.

The original charge of breach of peace was upgraded by the procurator fiscal a week before the trial was due to begin. The procurator fiscal felt that that the conduct of the five members of the SPSC was “racially motivated”.

The SPSC targeted this group because they all participated in active military service in the IDF and also because the Jerusalem Quartet is supported by the Israeli government who they accuse of violating Palestinian human rights and their ongoing illegal occupation of Palestinian land.

Journalist and honorary President of the SPSC, Marion Woolfson stated that the charges being put forward against her fellow members as “ridiculous”.

Lothian and Borders Police declined to comment under the Data Protection Act.

The trial continues.