It was reported this morning that the Golf Hotel in St Andrews had cancelled a J-Soc Ball, scheduled for tonight, because of pressure from protestors who objected to the fact that proceeds from the ball were going to support charities which included the Jewish National Fund and Friends of the Israeli Defence Forces, as well as Elem, which seeks to help homeless Jewish and Arab youth in Israel.
The hotel manager explained that he had received threatening phone calls and emails, and felt that a planned demonstration by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Committee raised health and safety concerns for the hotel’s staff and guests. Although people should be free to demonstrate, the SPSC typically goes further, and tries to disrupt and close down events of which it disapproves. In 2011 a member of the SPSC was found guilty of a racist breach of the peace after he abused a Jewish student’s flag of Israel.
A spokesman from the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council expressed his great disappointment that a ‘hotel of its stature had caved in so easily to intimidation’.
Update: The ball eventually went ahead in an undisclosed location. Here’s some more information about the more aggressive responses it attracted.
Fears arose that the protest would turn violent when anti-Semitic comments were posted on Facebook. One protester wrote: “Friday we send them into hell.” Another, commenting on the police’s presence at the ball, said: “Mi5 Mossad boot boys don’t stand a chance.”
The SPSC spokesperson condemned any threats.