AN INVESTIGATION into Police Scotland’s meddling with Palestinian justice campaigners shows the force has been working with propagandists for Israel, activists said yesterday.
The force has been heavily criticised by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) for its handling of a series of complaints made by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC).
The force itself had failed to uphold any of the complaints, but the watchdog’s investigation confirmed activists’ concerns over incidents that happened last year.
Officers were involved in attempts to “intimidate Palestine solidarity campaigners in Aberdeen,” according to SPSC Aberdeen branch chairwoman Fiona Napier.
In one case cops showed up at a campaigner’s home late at night to warn him not to attend a protest the following day. The commissioner said the police’s response to the complaint about this was “at odds” with the evidence.
Another involved a uniformed police officer asking to take part in an SPSC work
shop — they were asked to leave but the commissioner’s probe found information gathered by the officer — including an individual’s personal details — was recorded on police systems.
And the commissioner also dismissed as “inadequately reasoned” the police justification for shutting members of the public out of a court hearing.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request made by SPSC unearthed correspondence between Crown Office personnel and a pro-Israel lobby group that discussed a pro-Palestine workshop and an ongoing legal case in Glasgow.
The lobbyist reported to the Crown Office contact that “our colleagues in Aberdeen have reported this [meeting] to the local police, who are taking the matter very seriously.”
The PIRC has instructed Police Scotland to consider whether its actions were lawful and adhere to the European Convention on Human Rights.
SPSC chairwoman Sofiah MacLeod said that the investigation and FOI documents reveal a pattern that should be a cause of concern for all rights campaigners.
She said: “We already know that the Israeli government is trying its best to influence governments to turn a blind eye to Israel’s brutal apartheid policies and occupation of Palestine and to criminalise Palestine solidarity actions.
“The Priti Patel scandal and the Al Jazeera exposure of the Israel lobby in the UK have revealed much of what is going on.
“SPSC investigations confirm that the pro-Israel lobby is working with some success in Scotland to influence the Crown Office, Police Scotland, Scottish government and other institutions.”