About SCoJeC
 New on Site
 What's On
 Four Corners
 Daily Digest
 Points of View
 Report an Incident
 Members only
 Support SCoJeC
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)


SCoJeC briefing for SNP at Westminster

29 November 2022

SCoJeC briefing for SNP at Westminster

Following successful engagements with local politicians, SCoJeC was invited by the SNP Shadow Minister for Equalities, East Renfrewshire MP Kirsten Oswald, to speak to her party colleagues about the experience and concerns of Jewish people in Scotland. SCoJeC Director Ephraim Borowski and Public Engagement Manager Kirsty Robson were joined by Jonny Newton from the Community Security Trust, for a meeting that was chaired by Ian Blackford MP, then Leader of the SNP at Westminster, and Deidre Brock MP, the SNP Shadow Leader of the House, and attended by almost half of the Party’s MPs.

SCoJeC briefing for SNP at Westminster

Ephraim talked about the demography of the Jewish community in Scotland, stressing that there are Jewish people in all parts of the country, although some prefer, for a variety of reasons, to hide their identity. He said that SCoJeC’s roles are complementary – representing Jewish people throughout the country requires us to connect with them, and that itself is a form of support because often people who are isolated either by geography or circumstances have never previously had a chance to talk about their experiences. Ephraim and Kirsty also touched  on the role of SCoJeC in working with the Scottish Government on day-to-day issues affecting the Community that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, including education, burials, and family law.

Jonny Newton, who is the CST’s Head of Government and External Relations, gave an overview of the rise in antisemitic activity in many countries including the UK, and referred to how this relates to conflict in the Middle East. He said that Scotland is unfortunately no exception – the most recent Antisemitic Incidents Report – for the first half of 2022 – recorded ten incidents that took place in Scotland, and we are aware of several more since then.

SCoJeC briefing for SNP at Westminster

In the discussion that followed, MPs shared their concerns about rising levels of hate crime, and touched on the importance of effective education across the country. Ian Blackford reflecting on past engagements with SCoJeC and spoke about the importance of tackling hate crime and prejudice across Scotland. When Kirsty Blackman MP asked how SCoJeC supports education about Jewish people, we were pleased to have the opportunity to speak about our Sharing Jewish Scotland project funded by Sky and the Corra Foundation, which seeks to tackle prejudice with the message that Jewish people are just like everyone else. Alison Thewliss encouraged her colleagues to take the time to learn more about the community by visiting the Scottish Jewish Heritage Centre in her constituency of Glasgow Central, and Anum Qaisar touched briefly on the issues that affect people from all minority communities, and said she is keen to discuss how she can best support Jewish people within her work.

Kirsten Oswald MP said “We are very grateful to SCoJeC and the CST for this excellent meeting. MPs found the opportunity to hear from Ephraim, Kirsty, and Jonny hugely helpful, and welcomed the opportunity to engage in discussions on the importance of working together to combat antisemitism. Meetings like this, delivering increased knowledge and welcome dialogue, are a great example of constructive collaboration."

Ephraim Borowski said "We are very grateful to the SP Westminster group for inviting SCoJeC to speak to them about both the positive and negative experiences of being Jewish in Scotland.  We were very encouraged by the level and interest and engagement of all the MPs who were present, and we look
forward to continuing to develop these relationships in their constituencies."

SCoJeC thanks the following Members of Parliament for their time and thoughtful contributions to the session:

Mhairi Black (Paisley and Renfrewshire South), Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber), Kirsty Blackman (Aberdeen North), Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith), Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West), Angela Crawley (Lanark and Hamilton East), Martin Docherty-Hughes (West Dunbartonshire), Marion Fellows (Motherwell and Wishaw), Peter Grant (Glenrothes), Kirsten Oswald (East Renfrewshire), Anum Qaisar (Airdrie and Shotts), Tommy Sheppard (Edinburgh East), Alison Thewliss (Glasgow Central), Philippa Whitford (Central Ayrshire).


We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.
To find out more about cookies and how to manage them through your browser settings see our Cookie Policy.

Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation no. SC029438