The capital’s Jewish community is “alarmed” as City Council prepares to discuss twinning with Edinburgh and Gaza City

Edinburgh City Council will formally consider a petition next week calling for a partnership with the Palestinian city of Gaza.

The Twinning Edinburgh-Gaza Petition will be discussed by the Council as part of the agenda for the Political and Sustainability Committee next Tuesday (29 March).

The petition was written by Pete Gregson, who was suspended from Labor in 2019 after being expelled from the GMB union for his comments and abusive behavior towards a female Jewish Labor member and union employee.

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Gregson has claimed that Israel is a “racist endeavor” that “exaggerates” the Nazi murder of six million Jews “for political reasons.”

The petition was also backed by SNP MP for Edinburgh East Tommy Sheppard and SNP MP for Central Ayrshire Philippa Whitford.

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Offer Edinburgh to twin town with Gaza City

Anti-Zionist writers Norman Finkelstein and Ilan Pappe are also listed as supporters of the twinning proposal.

According to a report in Jewish News, the British Advocates for Israel group is among those objecting to the move.

In a letter to the council’s head of legal affairs, UKLFI explained that because Gaza City “is governed by Hamas, which is banned in its entirety under the Terrorism Act 2000… it is very difficult to imagine how council members or Officials doing so could participate in partnership activities without committing crimes.”

The UKLFI letter added: “Edinburgh’s Jewish community is alarmed by the petition, particularly as it promotes the elimination of Israel as the world’s only Jewish state.”

Gregson held a rally outside the Edinburgh City Chambers on Wednesday ahead of the meeting at which he is also scheduled to speak.

His petition reads: “We call on Edinburgh to partner with Gaza City as we would clearly benefit at present with Munich, Xi’an, Vancouver, Santiago, Nice, Krakow etc. in its current impoverished state.

“Britain, which was to some extent the architect of the Palestinians’ calamity in giving the beginnings of what is Israel today to the Zionists through the Balfour Declaration of 1917, certainly owes the Palestinians some reparation.

“Edinburgh, as the home university of Arthur Balfour, can help recognize Britain’s historic responsibility in the Holy Land. If the Edinburgh Council takes this step to help the refugees from Gaza City, the UK could begin to take responsibility for the situation it helped create in the Middle East.”

Edinburgh with around 450,000 inhabitants and Gaza City with 550,000 inhabitants are about the same size.

In May last year, several hundred demonstrators gathered in Glasgow’s George Square for a rally in solidarity with the Palestinians.

Demonstrators shouted “Liberate Palestine” and waved Palestinian flags and placards just hours after the area was cleared of a sea of ​​broken glass and debris left behind by Rangers fans celebrating the club’s league title.

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Chrissy Callahan

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