A ROW has broken out after a pro-Israel lobby group was approved at Holyrood in a bid to counter claims that MSPs are overly hostile to the state.
MSPs from all parties, with the exception of the Scottish Greens, will be represented on the ‘Building Bridges with Israel’ cross-party group, which aims to establish closer cultural, academic and economic links with the country.
It has been set up in a bid to oppose anti-Semitism and offer an ‘alternative viewpoint’ to what it says is a pro-Palestinian stance that has been dominant since the Scottish Parliament’s inception in 1999.
The group will hold its first meeting early in the New Year, with members including Scottish LibDem leader Willie Rennie, Labour’s Mary Fee and SNP MSP John Mason.
Jackson Carlaw, the Tory MSP who will act as convenor of the group, said: “This is not going to be a group that will simply be an apologist for the Government of Israel. This is not a group being set up with a view to having a row with anyone or being antagonistic. It’s genuinely there to seek to have bridges build between the Jewish community, Scotland and the state of Israel.
“But it is sadly true that there have been more anti-Israel motions in the Scottish Parliament than all of the other parliaments of the EU put together. I think that is evidence underpinning the suggestion that it has not been an even-handed discussion.