PRO-Palestinian campaigners are to protest against Israel’s participation in a major sporting event which begins today.
The Women’s 2015 Under-19 Lacrosse World Championship will see more than 30 teams compete over four days at Peffermill.
Israel’s involvement in this, and any, international sporting event is unacceptableAngus Maclean
Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists have been urged to protest at the event and call for Israel’s team to be excluded.
The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) has scheduled demonstrations at each of the matches involving Israel. The team is pencilled in to play South Korea today, New Zealand tomorrow, Finland on Saturday and the US on Sunday.
Angus Maclean, of SPSC, said: “For 67 years Israel has defied international law and Palestinians are calling on civil society and grassroots organisations to take a stand against ethnic cleansing and genocide.
“We will be present at each of the matches to protest and send a clear message that Israel’s involvement in this, and any, international sporting event is unacceptable.”
The Edinburgh Friends of Israel have set up an online petition calling on the Scottish Government, the city council and Lacrosse Scotland to “guarantee the safety of teenage girls representing Israel” at the lacrosse event.
A statement on the Change.org website reads: “Scotland has an enviable reputation for hospitality and celebrating culture. The SPSC has targeted a sporting event to further its extremist campaign of hatred and misinformation.
“We must not allow anti-Israel extremists to vandalise Scotland’s international image by carrying out their threat to disrupt an event for young people, and above all everything must be done to guarantee the safety of the young teams/delegations.
“Anyone who believes that political campaigns should not be thrust upon sport, particularly when youngsters are involved, should sign this petition.
“We need to show that campaigns based upon hatred and vilification have no place in events hoping to strengthen international goodwill and develop lasting friendships.”
Last summer an Israeli Fringe show, The City, a “hip hop fable” part-funded by the Israeli government, was cancelled following disruptions by demonstrators over the situation in Gaza.
A second show by Israeli student dance company Pola was also pulled after it had been warned that its performers could be put in danger if they went ahead with a show at the St Bride’s Centre.
A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “We are aware of a planned demonstration due to take place at Peffermill.
“Officers have been liaising with the relevant agencies and individuals to ensure the event passes without incident.”
Tournament organisers are aware of the planned demo but declined to comment, while the city council confirmed it was aware of potential powderkeg protests.
The Israeli Embassy in London said it knew of the SPSC’s plans but had no further comment to make.