An event at the Scottish Parliament involving an organization that supports illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank was cancelled after pro-Palestinian supporters raised concerns with MSPs.
A group called Friends of Roots UK (FoRUK) was due to speak at Holyrood on 16 November last year at an event organized by the parliament’s Cross Party Group (CPG) on Building Bridges with the Israeli occupation.
Critics said the group should not have been invited to Holyrood, claiming that it supports “apartheid” and is an “attempt to whitewash the crimes of the Israeli settlers”.
Scottish Greens MSP Maggie Chapman, co-convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s CPG on Palestine, was among those voicing concerns. She said the event should never have been scheduled, arguing that it is “totally inappropriate to be showcasing speakers” that back West Bank settlements.
“The settlements in the West Bank are a core part of the occupation and are symptomatic of the injustice that has been inflicted on the Palestinian people,” Chapman added. “They are the manifestation of the daily apartheid and abuse that millions of Palestinians have been forced to endure.”
She said Palestinians on the cross party group were “outraged” that any speaker who would try to justify the West Bank settlements could have been invited, which is why she could not attend the event.
“There can be no place for apartheid in our parliament, or for those that would try to whitewash, minimise or excuse it. Palestinian civil society has called for a boycott associated with the settlements: we should heed these calls,” Chapman said.
Eurig Scandrett, chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said pro-Palestinian supporters across Scotland contacted MSPs to voice concerns after learning the event was to due to take place.
“It is clear that FoRUK is an attempt to whitewash the crimes of the Israeli settlers,” Scandrett claimed. “They say they want a dialogue between settlers and Palestinians while these same settlers are illegally occupying Palestinian land, stealing water, destroying crops, killing livestock and violently attacking Palestinians. Racist colonisers who try to justify Israel’s apartheid should not be given a public platform.”