SCoJeC Director Ephraim Borowski, accompanied by JLC Scottish Public Affairs Manager, Danielle Bett, held a very positive and productive meeting at the Scottish Parliament with leaders of the Scottish Labour Party, to discuss a wide range of issues affecting the Jewish Community in Scotland, including the handling of allegations of antisemitism by the UK Labour Party.
Following the meeting, Scottish Labour and SCoJeC issued the following statement:
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard MSP and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Communities Monica Lennon MSP met representatives of the Scottish Jewish Community today. Ephraim Borowski, Director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC), was accompanied by the Scottish Public Affairs Manager of the Jewish Leadership Council, Danielle Bett, at the meeting in the Scottish Parliament.
The constructive discussion covered the lived experience of Jewish people in Scotland, antisemitism, and the anxiety that it causes.
Richard Leonard made clear that there is zero tolerance to antisemitism in Scottish Labour, and there is no place for it in society.
Richard also invited Ephraim to contribute to the Independent Advisory Panel that is informing the work of Scottish Labour's Equalities and Diversity committee, and Ephraim has also agreed to make a presentation to the Scottish Parliamentary Labour group.
SCoJeC will also contribute to the development of a Scottish Labour training and education programme which will be available to Scottish Labour party members in due course.
Scottish Labour looks forward to working with SCoJeC in order to promote a better understanding of the concerns of the Jewish community in Scotland, and to develop a positive and productive relationship in future.
Commenting after the meeting, Ephraim said:
"We were very encouraged by the positive and supportive atmosphere throughout the meeting despite the difficult issues we were discussing, and were grateful for the opportunity to discuss the experience of "Being Jewish in Scotland", both positive and negative. We were pleased to be invited to participate in a number of initiatives by the Scottish Party to address antisemitism and racism and discrimination more generally. We were heartened to be told that there are no pending disciplinary cases relating to antisemitism within Scottish Labour, and pleased to be able to reassure the Party leadership that we have always been grateful for their support since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament. This appears to have been in stark contrast with the experience of the Board of Deputies and JLC at their meeting with the Westminster Party, and we entirely support their efforts to have these issues resolved in a prompt and meaningful manner."
"The situation in Scotland is somewhat different from the rest of the UK, and it's reassuring to hear that Scottish Labour are willing to help tackle antisemitism in politics and society. I look forward to working alongside SCoJeC to ensure our community's concerns are heard and addressed. It's encouraging to see we have partners in the Scottish parliament to support us in this work."
Later in the week, Community representatives also held friendly and constructive meetings with former Leader of Scottish Labour, Kezia Dugdale MSP, Labour front-bencher, Anas Sarwar MSP, and Glasgow Labour Leaders, Councillors Frank McAveety and Archie Graham, all of whom expressed their abhorrence of all forms of antisemitism and their desire to work together to tackle hatred and intolerance in Scottish society.