Board of Deputies anger over Scottish council’s links with group sharing offensive material

Board of Deputies Vice President Marie van der Zyl has expressed anger and disgust that a Scottish Council will continue to fund, support and publicise a pro-Palestinian group whose leaders have publicly posted and shared antisemitic material.

Marie wrote to West Dunbartonshire Council to alert it to the fact that leading members of West Dunbartonshire Supports the People of Palestine (WDSPP) had shared and promoted a vile assortment of antisemitic imagery, tropes, and conspiracy theories on social media, including links to sites that promote Holocaust denial. This was uncovered by blogger David Collier. Perhaps unaware of these facts, West Dunbartonshire Council made premises available for WDSPP events and publicised the group’s activities on its website. With the new information, Marie requested that West Dunbartonshire end the association.

However, Council Leader Jonathan McColl replied: “The shared posts are quite clearly the worst kind of conspiracy theory nonsense, designed to cause offence, and in no way contribute to sensible debate.

“That said, having looked at what you have sent, I cannot see anything written by any of the individuals on behalf of the group they are involved in that could be seen as racist.”

Marie said: “We supplied West Dunbartonshire with clear evidence that leading members of WDSPP had shared and propagated some of the worst antisemitic tropes, such as Jews controlling and manipulating the world for nefarious ends, a fact not disputed by Councillor McColl. That a council can promote and support an organisation whose leaders are spreading antisemitism, is something which causes huge distress to the Jewish community. This is no different from material that far-right extremists post and should not be tolerated by any public body.”

“We have expressed our views in no uncertain terms to Mr McColl and once again request him to sever relations with this disgraceful group.”

Keep Informed

Sign up for our weekly briefing, delivered to your inbox every Thursday, giving you up to date news on events and activists of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, as well as the activities of member organisations and partners. 
Subscribe to Community Briefing


The Board of Deputies relies on the generous support of the Jewish community through individual contributions and donations. Help us be the voice of the British Jewish community by donating today. All funds received go to our core charitable mission.