Righteous Jews
Auschwitz survivor slams Scottish prosecutors for "taking sides with Israel"


24 January 2010

One of the few remaining survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camp has criticised Scottish prosecutors for what he refers to as "taking sides with Israel".

Hayo Meyer, an outspoken critic of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, made his comments in support of 5 pro-Palestine campaigners charged with "racially aggravated conduct" after a boycott protest of a concert by an Israeli group.

The campaigners, all members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), interrupted the Aug 2008 Edinburgh Festival performance of the Jerusalem Quartet. They were originally charged with Breach of the Peace, but weeks after last year's violence in Gaza which took the lives of 1400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis, the Procurator Fiscal changed the charge to include the racist element.

They were accused of making "comments about Jews, Israelis, and the State of Israel", but at a debate this week at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, a BBC audio recording of the event revealed that their criticisms had been focussed on the State of Israel. The debate will continue on March 29th when the Procurator Fiscal will make his arguments.

Meyer, who is in Scotland this week as part of a speaking tour, described the complaint as "ridiculous". Said Meyer, "While Israel continues its occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people, it is our duty to criticise it. This racism charge is ridiculous.

"It worries me that while Palestinians are humiliated and discriminated against every day, western leaders including Gordon Brown not only appease Israel, they support it. Unfortunately, it appears as though the prosecutors too are taking sides with Israel."

Meyer survived almost a year in the notorious Nazi death camp after being caught by the Gestapo in 1944. It is estimated that of the 6 million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, around 1 million died in Auschwitz.

SPSC chair, Mick Napier, is one of the 5 accused: "We thank Hayo for his support. He knows better than anyone that Israel has a long record of abusing the tragic history of the Holocaust in order to suppress criticism of its own crimes. Especially since Gaza though, people are no longer taken in by their claim that anyone that criticises Israel is anti-Semitic."

Meyer's ten-day speaking tour, entitled "Never Again´┐ŻFor Anyone", is jointly organised by the SPSC and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Week, an annual commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz.

The meetings are all open to the general public and entry is free. Today's meeting is in Edinburgh's Augustine Church at 2pm. Full details can be found at www.scottishpsc.org.uk