Community leader warns Scottish Jews considering leaving country

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Robert Somogyi
Writer

In a presentation given to the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party group of freedom of religion or belief, Ephraim Borowski, the Director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, said that “many Jews actively discuss leaving Scotland because they feel alienated, vulnerable and not at home.” The former Head of the Department of Psychology at University Glasgow expressed his concerns over the worsening situation of Jewish residents of Scotland stating: “Mostly the Jewish community used to feel that Scotland was a good place to be Jewish but for many that has reversed.”

A recent report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on Jewish people’s experiences with hate crime has found that a majority 85% of the surveyed consider antisemitism and racism as the most urgent problem in their country. The report was targeted at the residents of 12 EU countries who consider themselves Jewish, with the biggest number of respondents in the United Kingdom.

In comparison with previous studies, the opinion that antisemitism is a worsening problem in European Jewish communities has grown. While the majority of anti-semitically motivated discrimination in everyday life remain unreported, 89% of the respondents perceived an increase in antisemitism in their country over the last 5 years.

According to the FRA’s report, nearly a third (29%) of the surveyed Jewish people in the UK have considered emigrating because of feeling insecure as a Jew.

Mark Gardener, Director of the Community Security Trust expressed his agreement with Borowski’s comments. However, he stated: “In this context, Scotland and indeed the UK as a whole remain relatively better than elsewhere.”

Jackson Carlaw, MSP for the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, reacted to these developments stating: “Scotland’s Jews are entitled to feel safe, to feel valued and to look forward with the same optimism as any of us.”