In his answer to a Parliamentary Question from Bob Doris MSP about how the Scottish Government “seeks to support Jewish culture in Scotland”, Humza Yousaf, the Minister for Europe and International Development referred to their grant to SCoJeC to explore how attitudes to being Jewish in Scotland have changed since their previous grant to create a picture of the contemporary experience of Being Jewish in Scotland.
He went on to say “We stand absolutely shoulder to shoulder with the Jewish community here in Scotland, whose contribution is vast. We all know that it has contributed to our economy and our education sector; its contribution has also been social and cultural. We should celebrate that, and all of us across the chamber, regardless which party we belong to, have a duty to stamp out anti-Semitism wherever it exists. On the attacks, although there is a lot more work to be done, I am pleased to note that there has been a 15 per cent decrease in anti-Semitic incidents, which is a 35 per cent decrease from the year before. However, there is a heck of a lot to be done.”
Unfortunately, however, these statistics were clearly erroneous in light of previous figures provided by both Police Scotland and the Community Security Trust (CST), so we immediately contacted Mr Yousaf, who replied “Almost as soon as I had sat down I realised I had made a mistake. I didn't mean to refer to antisemitic incidents I meant to say race-hate incidents. Straight after questions yesterday I instructed my officials to amend the record as is appropriate when mistakes of this nature are made.”
The Official Report has now been corrected, and Mr Yousaf has written to us apologising for any concern and distress caused, and adding:
“The Scottish Government is well aware through our partnership with Police Scotland and SCoJeC that, during 2014, there was an increase in reported incidents of anti-Semitism in Scotland, and across the UK. This is unacceptable. We will not tolerate any form of racial or religious prejudice, including anti-Semitism, and we are committed to tackling all forms of hate crime using the full force of the law.”
Click here to read Mr Yousaf's letter in full.
We welcome his prompt and unambiguous acknowledgment of his error and that there was actually an increase in antisemitic incidents in the second half of last year, as well as his reiteration of the Scottish Government’s support for the Jewish Community and its zero-tolerance attitude to hate crime in general and antisemitism in particular.