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THE SNP refused today to take action against an MSP who blamed the 1948 Nakba (catastrophe) on the Palestinian people, despite hundreds of complaints and calls for his suspension.
MSP Richard Lyle is seeking support for his assertion in a parliamentary amendment that the mass expulsion of over 750,000 people from historic Palestinian land was a “self-inflicted tragedy.”
The comments were branded “racist” and “vile,” as Mr Lyle claimed that he had merely sought to “provoke discussion.”
A week after the amendment was published, pressure on the party to take action has grown, with numerous letters sent to the SNP urging a probe into Mr Lyle’s conduct.
The Morning Star understands that more than 150 letters have been sent by human-rights activists to the SNP head office demanding his suspension, an investigation into the matter and a statement clarifying the party’s position on Palestine.
The Star asked the SNP whether Mr Lyle would face an investigation and be suspended from the party while this was under way, but it failed to respond.
Campaigners have expressed disappointment at the lack of response, with the secretary of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign sending an email to the SNP HQ saying that “the appearance is that the SNP is shielding a racist.”
In a statement, the group added: “Richard Lyle is either abysmally ignorant of the situation in Israel-Palestine or a willing participant in the sinister efforts of the Israel lobby in Scotland.
“The SNP should now suspend his membership and investigate his racism towards and his demeaning of Palestinians.”
The SNP’s Friends of Palestine group has written to party officials asking what disciplinary action will be taken against the MSP.
Convener Nadia El-Nakla told the Star: “We have been inundated with complaints from party members and colleagues on Richard Lyle’s vile racist comments regarding the Nakba and also an outpouring of support from members for Palestinian rights in the face of growing oppression from the apartheid regime in Israel.
“We’re also immensely thankful for the solidarity from colleagues and friends from other parties at Holyrood in our calls for action to be taken against Richard Lyle in response to his abhorrent statement that the ethnic cleansing and forced displacement of over 750,000 Palestinians in the ongoing Nakba was, in his view ‘self-inflicted’.”
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