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Humza Yousaf MSP meets Jewish Community

Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for External Affairs and International Development at the Scottish Parliament, dealt with a series of questions put by members of the Jewish Community at a meeting on Tuesday 13 May, arranged by Glasgow Jewish Representative Council. He was welcomed by Paul Morron, President of the GJRC, and Edward Isaacs, Immediate Past President.

An able and confident politician, Mr Yousaf, who says he has, in his short political career, learned that “everything is not always black and white”,  discussed a variety of issues facing the present, and any future, Scottish government, but the majority of queries concerned the Middle East.
Asked about the lack of concern shown by the Scottish Parliament on the plight of Christians in territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority, by the terrorist groups in Gaza and in other Arab countries, he assured his audience that he continually raised the subject given the opportunity.

Regarding the attempts to boycott Israeli businesses, he was clear: “I can assure you that I do not support boycott of goods from Israel”.  Asked if that included settlement goods, he responded:  “All Israeli goods”.

On the Israel-Palestinian dispute, Mr Yousaf said he supported a two-state solution, “based on the ‘67 borders,” and believed that the settlements and their continued building are illegal. He would not be drawn further on the subject other than to point out the identity of his views with those of the UK Government. 

Directly questioned whether he considered Israel an “apartheid state,” he replied “No!

Mr Yousaf denied any relationship with the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the extremist fringe group that has published anti-Semitic cartoons and whose programme is considered “offensive” by the UK Government. He pointed to the bad press he receives on the SPSC website.

It was pointed out to the Minister that there was an equal, if not greater, number of Jewish than Arab refugees as a result of the Arab-Israel War. He was asked: Do you accept that a just and lasting peace agreement could be better achieved by both refugee positions receiving equally just solutions, as called for in UNSC Resolution 242? He admitted he was uninformed in that respect and would like to know more.

Humza Yousaf took pains to emphasise his pro-justice beliefs and expressed genuine regard for any concerns held by Scottish Friends of Israel.

The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Scottish Friends of Israel.

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