A protest by students in Cambridge against Tzipi Hotovely in 2022 (Picture: Rob Ferguson)

A campaign led by Jews has won the cancellation of planned visits by Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely to synagogues in Scotland—and then the withdrawal of Hotovely’s whole Scottish trip.

A former deputy foreign minister, Hotovely supports the construction of settlements on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, declaring “this land is ours, all of it is ours”.

After being appointed ambassador to Britain she declared the Nakba, the violent expulsion and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, as “an Arab lie”.

An open letter that noted the synagogues’ decision said, “As Scottish Jews we are appalled that Tzipi Hotovely, is making a visit to Scotland while the killing continues in Gaza, and we call on the Scottish government and our community leaders to send a strong message against her visit.

“Hotovely is a far right extremist who has consistently demonstrated a complete disregard for international law throughout her political career, and has an appalling record of racist and inflammatory behaviour. This includes referring to Israeli human rights activists as ’war criminals’ and ‘an enemy’ within.

“She has accused Palestinians of being ‘thieves of history’ who have no heritage or connection to Israel-Palestine, claimed that there is ‘no Palestinian people recognised in the world’.

It went on, “As Scottish Jews we believe that Hotovely’s values and politics have no place in our community and faith organisations.

“Among our number are Orthodox, Liberal and Reform Jews as well as those from other denominations, including religious and secular Jews. We unite against the association of Judaism with Israeli state policy, and with the weaponisation of Jewish identity to justify war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

The letter thanked the Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation and Garnethill Synagogue in Glasgow for listening to the concerns and cancelling the ambassador’s visit to both synagogues.

And it went on to demand the Scottish government cancel the ambassador’s visit, put maximum pressure on the Westminster government for the Israeli ambassador to be expelled from Britain and to use their powers to stop arming Israel and condemn the atrocities taking place in Gaza and the West Bank.

Hotovely pulled out of the whole programme. To cover the retreat, a spokesperson for the Israeli embassy said, “Unfortunately, due to a conflict in scheduling, a planned delegation visit to Scotland has had to be postponed. The delegation will be rescheduled for another date in the near future.”

If there is such an attempt, Hotovely will face opposition again.

View the open letter 
Scottish national demonstration, Free Palestine, Stop Arming Israel, Saturday 15 June, 10.30am, Glasgow Green.

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