NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Israeli businessman claims anti-Semitic 'hounding' in Scotland

Nissan Ayalon
Image caption Nissan Ayalon sells Israeli cosmetics from stalls in Aberdeen

An Israeli businessman in Aberdeen has claimed he is being hounded by campaigners he describes as anti-Semitic protestors who want to force him and his family out of Scotland.

Nissan Ayalon, who sells Israeli cosmetics, compared his treatment to "a game of chase the Jew".

However, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign insist they are not racist or anti-Semitic.

They said they were only objecting to the selling of Israeli products.

Mr Ayalon sells products made with Dead Sea minerals from stalls in shopping centres.

'Nowhere else'

He previously had stalls in Belfast and Glasgow, but felt forced to close them down, and moved to Aberdeen where he said the treatment had continued.

Mr Ayalon told BBC Scotland: "It's like I don't have the right to exist. I have to justify my existence. I have to ask for permission to live, to walk to work.

"We were accused of murdering, mass murdering, slaughter, criminals, we were called criminal enterprise. We were called baby killers.

"There is nowhere else for me to go. I love it here, where is my equal opportunity?"

'Ludicrous' claim

Mick Napier, of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign - which protested outside the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, marking 100 years since the Balfour Declaration which paved the way for Israel's creation - said of anti-Semitic claims: "It's ludicrous.

"We hate the sin, not the sinner.

"It's the company that's being targeted, the individual is irrelevant.

"We talk to people, we try to persuade people to shop elsewhere. He is selling the proceeds of crime."

Image caption The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign was involved in a protest in Edinburgh on Thursday

Jewish Human Rights Watch (JHRW) is an organisation which was set up to address a claimed rise in anti-Semitism in the UK.

JHRW's Robert Festenstein said: "If you target a Jewish man and drive him from Belfast to Glasgow, and then from Glasgow to Aberdeen, and then try and drive them from there, however you claim you might not be anti-Semitic it's impossible not to acknowledge the truth.

"And it's not enough for them to say we're only interested in the product he's selling.

"It's about as serious a case as we've found."

'Condemns racism'

Concerns over the issue have been raised a number of times in recent months in meetings at Aberdeen City Council.

Aberdeen councillor Martin Greig called for more to be done, and said: "I think it's really chilling that we have individuals persecuted on the basis of their religion."

However, Aberdeen City Council co-leader Jenny Laing said: "It's evident that this administration condemns any kind of racism.

"We are committed to working to ensure that does not happen."

A spokesman for the Grampian Racial Equality Council (GREC) said they were aware of the situation and would do everything they could to find a resolution.

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