Conference confusion over Palestinian flag

Gina Mete
News Editor

Glasgow City Council have raised doubts over the veracity of reports that an international business conference, due to be held in Glasgow, was cancelled in response to the decision to fly the Palestinian flag over city chambers.

The six day trip in question was supposedly organised by a member of the Fortune 500 group, which consists of the top 500 worldwide corporations and would have brought 600 visitors from the company to Glasgow.

Glasgow’s Lord Provost Sadie Docherty received an email from Richard Cassini, the man purporting to be vice-president of the New York-based company, saying:

“We were scheduling six days in Glasgow, three for business and three for leisure time.

“Having read your statement endorsing Hamas and its leadership due to the number of Muslims in your city, I have decided to cancel all plans for our trip. We are a Fortune 500 Company, so costs were really not a serious consideration, location was.

“Hopefully, the Muslim population that you so sincerely endorse will have the spending power of the very people you have chased away so well.”

However a ‘City Council insider’ told the Herald that there are concerns that the email was a hoax, as it was sent from a personal email account and never revealed the company Mr Cassini worked for. A council spokesman said: “We have no record of anyone planning a trip of this nature. It is likely that we would have heard if such a trip were being planned.”

If the trip was genuine, it raises concerns over whether the decision to show support for Palestine has been detrimental to the city economically.

However Docherty emphasised:  “Glasgow is home to many friends of Palestine and this is a deeply distressing time for them.” Writing to Vera Baboun, the mayor of Bethlehem, she also said:

“They represent a variety of ethnicities, political persuasion, faiths and none. However, they are united by a common desire to support the Palestinian people.

“In solidarity with Bethlehem and Palestine, Glasgow City Council will raise the Palestinian flag on Friday August 8. We hope that peace can be found to ensure human rights for the people of Palestine.”

The decision to fly flag has been called “the worst kind of gesture politics” by the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council. The President of the Council Paul Morron commented:

“Glasgow has just celebrated the most wonderful and inclusive Commonwealth Games, the essence of which was bringing people together and overcoming division.

“The city council as the host of the Games should be emulating their spirit and bringing people together, not causing offence and division within their community.”