The three-year trial of two Palestinian activists in Scotland has ended in a convictions, after a protest against an Israeli cosmetics store in 2014.
Mick Napier and Jim Watson from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) were part of a demonstration at the Braehead shopping complex outside Glasgow in September 2014, just weeks after Israel’s military action in Gaza.
Napier was convicted of aggravated trespass and of failing to follow police orders to leave the Jericho Skin Care cosmetics store, while Watson was also convicted of failing to leave when directed.
A spokesman for Jewish Human Rights Watch, which supported the prosecution, said it “welcomed” the ruling, whilst Glasgow Friends of Israel chairman Sammy Stein said: “The conviction has opened a window onto the hateful and intimidatory tactics used routinely in Scotland by so-called pro-Palestinian campaigners”. He added: “The guilty verdict is also most welcome and sets an extremely helpful precedent for the police as they seek to protect people from intimidation.”
The verdict on Friday brought the three-year process to an end, concluding four days of witness testimony and cross-examination.
But, despite their convictions, which they will appeal, Napier heralded Friday’s ruling as a win, because an additional charge of ‘racial aggravation’ was dismissed by Sheriff Barry Divers.
Napier said that Israel supporters “were clearly very disappointed… They had hoped the intense lobbying of Scottish legal officials that had led to the absurd ‘racism’ charges being raised in the first place would lead to convictions that would deter others from supporting Palestinian rights”.
Following the trial, Napier tweeted a picture with pro-Palestine activists, accusing those who brought the case forward of trying to “criminalise criticism of Israeli apartheid and Israeli genocide”.
— Mick Napier (@micknapier) July 17, 2017
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.