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Scottish Court to Rule on Whether Anti-Israel Protesters are 'Anti-Semitic'

By dlindorff - Posted on 01 June 2011

By Ken Ferguson

Cupar, Scotland--This county town of Fife, is not exactly a news hot spot. Probably the last big story here was the landing of Italian
balloonist Vincenzo Lunardi nearby in 1785 at the end of a 43-mile flight from

However the small town’s sleepy Sheriff court is about to host a key
legal case involving a US student from New York and two anti Israeli
protestors who have been charged with racism.

For the information of US readers, in Scotland the Sheriff isn’t some John Wayne figure with the star on his chest, but is rather the bewigged judge presiding over the local court.

This case centers on an incident at nearby St. Andrews University, where
two students are facing racially aggravated conduct charges after
allegedly making comments and gestures critical of the State of Israel
and its flag.

Press reports are already in danger of prejudging the case, with
headlines such as the one reading “St. Andrews University students in court to
face anti-Semitism charges" that ran in the local daily, The Courier.

According to one of the charged students, Paul Donnachie, "Whilst in
the room at the student residences of an individual who I considered
a friend, Chanan Reitblat, I placed my hands down the front of my
jeans and onto an Israeli flag which belonged to him, accompanied by
comments to the effect that Israel is a terrorist state, and is guilty
of many civilian deaths.”

He continued, “The action was not malicious. However, it sparked a
great deal of political debate amongst our group of friends within our
Hall of Residence, whereby the nature of the State of Israel was

The following day, after hearing that Mr Reitblat had been upset by
his actions, Paul says he "wrote a letter stating that, whilst I would not
apologise for my opposition to the actions of the Israeli state, I
would apologize for the manner in which I chose to mediate my
political opinions on this occasion."

Despite this conciliatory action, the following day police officers arrested both Paul and his friend Simon Colchester and held them in custody for 36 hours before they were made to appear in court charged with “threatening and abusive
behaviour,” which was subsequently amended to the more sinister charge of
“racially aggravated conduct,” a violation of the Criminal Law...

For the rest of this article by Ken Ferguson, Scottish correspondent for ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent online alternative newspaper just now celebrating its first full year of publication, please go to: ThisCantBeHappening!


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