Scottish hotel cancels Jewish event after "threats"

St Andrews Golf Hotel has cancelled a Jewish student event after critics claimed that the venue received threats from pro-Palestinian activists

by The Commentator on 26 April 2013 10:08

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Student from St Andrews University have reportedly been stopped from holding a charity event due to threats sent to the venue - the St Andrews Golf Hotel.

Jewish students were due to hold a black tie Matzah Ball at the prestigious location with almost 100 expected to attend from around the UK. Money raised was to be sent to seven Israeli charities supported including the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and Friends of the Israel Defence Forces (FIDF).

But following pressure from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), as reported by the Jewish Telegraph, hotel manager Niall Thompson cancelled the booking.

Sources have said that the hotel has received threatening emails and calls and was recently made aware that there was going to be a demonstration. Thompson is noted as saying that felt that he had to cancel due to health and safety concerns for staff and hotel guests.

Paul Morron of the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council said of his conversation with Thompson, "I conveyed the extent of the concern of the Jewish community that a hotel of its stature had caved in so easily to intimidation - something that would damage its reputation." 

"I contacted Inspector Meek, of St Andrews Police, and he told me that they had not had any serious concerns about policing the event.

"We regard this as a very serious incident, setting a worrying precedent in Scotland. "It's not up to others to dictate to the Jewish community what charities they should support. That's just not acceptable."

Scottish Jewish Chaplaincy chairman Nicola Livingston added: "Students should be allowed to go about their ordinary business without fear of intimidation.

"This was purely a social event. Most of the charities are welfare ones, including Save a Child's Heart, which saves the lives of children from around the world, including Palestinian children.

"Giving in to bully-boy tactics doesn't do the reputation of the hotel any good at all."

On its website the SPSC called for the event organisers to end their support for JNF and FIDF. It also called for the hotel to retract its support unless these charities were renounced and for protests outside the hotel against "fundraising for apartheid and ethnic cleansing".

Organisers are trying to secure another venue for the event. The hotel was not available for comment at the time of publication.

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