Scotland politics

MSP Sandra White apologies over anti-Semitic tweet

SNP MSP Sandra White Image copyright (C) British Broadcasting Corporation
Image caption Ms White led a debate on Palestine at the Scottish Parliament earlier this year

An SNP MSP has apologised unreservedly after retweeting a "repellent and offensive" anti-Semitic image.

Sandra White said she had not intended to retweet the picture, and had deleted it when she realised what had happened.

The image showed six piglets suckling at a sow with the word "Rothschild" and the Star of David on it.

The piglets are shown as representing the UK, the US, Israel and terror groups Islamic State, Al Qaeda and Boko Haram.

Ms White has written a letter of apology to the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (ScoJec) for any offence that had been caused.

'Accidental retweeting'

In her letter, the Glasgow Kelvin MSP wrote: "I would like to take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly for the offence that has been caused by my accidental retweeting of this offensive image which I too find repellent and offensive.

"I had not intended to retweet this picture, and was horrified to learn that I had done so. As soon as this was brought to my attention, I deleted the tweet.

"Anyone who knows me or has known me over the many years I have served in public office will know of my love and tolerance for all peoples; all faiths and all religions."

Ms White led a debate at the Scottish Parliament earlier this year calling for Holyrood to recognise the Palestinian state and the need for a two state solution to the situation in Israel and Palestine.

But she said in her letter that "there is nothing that happens in Israel or Palestine that can be justification for any racial or religious hatred".

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also written a letter to ScoJec director Ephraim Borowski in which she stated that "the image in question is certainly not something I would expect to see tweeted by Sandra or by any member of the party."

Ms Sturgeon added: "Having spoken to Sandra directly about this matter I know that she understands the seriousness of this accidental re-tweet and deeply regrets the offence it has caused. We all share the view that nothing must be done that provides the views expressed in the image any legitimacy whatsoever.

"Regarding the original tweet itself, I find it and the image it contained abhorrent. I will not tolerate anti-Semitism or religious or racial hatred of any kind at any level in our society."

Mr Borowski welcomed Ms White's apology and Ms Sturgeon's comments.

'Unequivocal condemnation'

He added: "Her original post was exceptionally public, broadcast on Twitter to an international audience, and remained there for three days before being deleted.

"We are glad she has now, as we requested, made her apology and unqualified condemnation of anti-Semitism in all its forms, wherever it may be found, equally public, by posting that on Twitter too.

"We are grateful to the first minister for her unequivocal condemnation of the original post as 'abhorrent' and 'completely unacceptable', and for making unambiguously clear her refusal to tolerate any form of antis-Semitism in Scottish society.

"We have replied expressing the hope that we will continue to maintain a constructive relationship with her government to the benefit of the Jewish community and Scotland as a whole."

ScoJec said the image retweeted by Ms White had been "reminiscent of the very worst of Nazi propaganda" in its use of "cartoon hook noses and rubbing hands" and had contained pictures that originated on neo-Nazi websites in the US.

It said the image had "played to the enduring anti-Semitic charge that Jews use wealth to control others to go to war on their behalf."