Two members of the Scottish parliament spoke out against the antisemitism faced by Jews in the country, after it emerged that many members of the community are considering leaving Scotland due to feelings of alienation and vulnerability.
Jackson Carlaw, the acting leader of the Scottish Tories, said, “Scotland’s Jews are entitled to feel safe, to feel valued and to look forward with the same optimism as any of us,” the Herald on Sunday reported.
Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine called for lawmakers to condemn local antisemitism.
“It’s truly horrifying that more and more Scottish Jews do not feel welcome in their own country, and would actually consider moving away,” she said. “Politicians of all parties must be vocal in condemning the disturbing rise of antisemitism.”
Their remarks came in response to a parliamentary committee meeting about the fears of the local Jewish community.
Ephraim Borowski, director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJec), told a gathering of the Cross-Party Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief last year that local Jews feel that times have changed.
“Mostly the Jewish community used to feel that Scotland was a good place to be Jewish but for many that has reversed,” he said, according to the minutes from the meeting outlining his presentation. “Many Jews actively discuss leaving Scotland because they feel alienated, vulnerable and not at home.
“The general message is not that it is terrible being Jewish in Scotland,” Borowski said. “But, in recent years, there has been a very worrying increase in the level of antisemitism in the country, with the result that many Jewish people report they are actively considering emigrating from Scotland.”
Asked by the Herald on Sunday about Jewish feelings about possibly leaving the country, Borowski cited a 2015 report by SCoJec in which one-third of the community said they felt increased anxiety and vulnerability.
Mark Gardner, director of communications at the Community Security Trust, said that Borowski’s remarks reflect a general increase in antisemitism across Europe, the Herald reported.
“This is an accurate summary of the fact that despite the many positives of Scottish Jewish life, many Jews are still considerably more nervous about the state of antisemitism, politics and society than was the case 10 or 20 years ago,” Gardner said.