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Scottish BDS Activist Gets 12 Months for Acid Attack

Scottish BDS Activist Gets 12 Months for Acid Attack

Attack on “stall girl” selling Israeli products inspired by intense anti-Israel demonstrations.

According to media reports last week (see, for example, here and here) Scott Harrison, a Scottish anti-Israel activist, was sentenced last week to a year in jail.

Back on October 25, 2014 he threw acid in the face of an 18-year-old woman manning a stall in Glasgow shopping center. The stall was owned by the Israeli cosmetics company Kedem.

The victim, Greek-born Iona Georgianna, said she felt like her face was “melting” during the horrible attack. Luckily, a quick-thinking co-worker had the good sense to throw water on her head, sparing Georgianna from the worst of the acid’s effects.

A Scottish court handed down the 12-month sentence for assault to injury. Harrison will be held in custody pending the results of an appeal filed by his lawyers.

Based on his online profile Harrison fashions himself as a “lover of peace, freedom” and a free speech supporter. The blogger Aussie Dave of Israellycool managed to capture some of his Facebook pages before they were removed, proving once again that anti-Israel propagandists seem to be oblivious to the saved screenshot:

Aussie Dave, pic from tweet 2

Scotland: A BDS Hotbed

Scotland has long been a “hotbed” of anti-Israel sentiment, with an active BDS movement—the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC)—involved in repeated threatening and intimidating “bully-boy tactics”.

As documented in a post for the pro-Israel UK-based website Harry’s Place, SPSC leaders believe Zionism to be a “racist and fascist ideology” and think that the “Holocaust was a joint venture between Zionists and Nazis”. Senior members of the group have a disturbing penchant for neo-Nazi websites and routinely condone terror attacks on innocent Israelis (including minors) as legitimate acts of “resistance”.

Last spring BDS activists affiliated with the SPSC pressured a prominent British photography gallery in Edinburgh to cancel its co-sponsorship with the Israeli embassy in London of an exhibit featuring Israeli multimedia artist Yael Bartana. The Stills gallery reportedly returned the 1,300 British pounds that the embassy had contributed to the show after multiple threats were lodged against it by the SPSC. The SPSC reportedly threatened to “mount non-stop demonstrations outside the gallery for the three-month duration of the exhibit if the Israeli embassy’s sponsorship was not cancelled”.

Scottish BDS, Feature Image

Ironically, Bartana’s work is well-known for its “critical treatment of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians”. That was obviously an irrelevant factor for SPSC Israel haters though.

The blackmail brought to bear on the Stills gallery last year isn’t a one-off incident.

There’s actually a long track record of similar episodes involving SPSC pro-Palestinian activists acting to shut down Scottish Jewish events that involve Israeli groups and Israeli involvement in Scottish cultural events.

Here’s another illustrative example: Back in April 2013 the SPSC prevented the University of St. Andrews’ Jewish Society from holding a charity ball after the venue’s staff reportedly received a slew of “threatening emails and calls” from SPSC activists. The hotel canceled due to “health and safety concerns for staff and hotel guests”.

Scottish hotel

Jewish students had planned to hold the black tie event at a prestigious location—the St. Andrews Golf Hotel—with over 100 expected to attend from around the UK. The proceeds were to be sent to a number of charities, including the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF). However, Save a Child’s Heart, which spares the lives of children worldwide (including Palestinian children) would’ve also been a beneficiary—proving once again that BDS activists are typically oblivious to the real needs of the people that they profess to care so much about.

In the end, the charity ball was held a month later. But it had to be scheduled for a different, secret location, guarded by plain-clothes police officers.

More such instances happen regularly from year to year.

Now we can add a horrible anti-Semitic hate crime to the list.

From Hateful Speech to a Hate Crime

The heinous attack on an innocent young woman selling makeup at a Glasgow mall says a lot about Scotland’s BDS scene. But its implications are also generalizable.

What’s important to note in this particular case of “vicious criminality” is that BDS activists affiliated with the SPSC had been aggressively targeting Kedem outlets throughout the UK for weeks prior to the attack.

SPSC had even “encouraged freelance harassment by passersby” in order to “drive them out”.

SPSC Facebook page

Speaking last week to the UK’s Jewish Telegraph, Glasgow’s Jewish Representative Council President Paul Marron said “It shows the dangers of anti-Israel sentiment when it gets out of control”.

Critics of the anti-Israel boycott movement—especially on American colleges and universities—have long been raising these concerns.

It’s now well-documented that there are higher rates of anti-Semitic hate crimes (from physical assaults and the defacement of property to the questioning of Jewish students’ suitability for government service) on campuses experiencing active BDS campaigns.

Writing a few months ago for a local California newspaper, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, co-founder and director of AMCHA Initiative, a nonprofit that combats campus anti-Semitism says that:

It is hardly surprising that the University of California—ground zero for campus-based Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activity—provides an unfortunate case study. There has been a huge uptick in anti-Semitic incidents and many are tied directly to anti-Israel BDS campaigns. Countless acts of anti-Semitism have plagued several UC campuses this year, including swastikas spray-painted on a Jewish fraternity house immediately following an anti-Israel divestment campaign, protests of a Hillel-hosted LGBT event by anti-Israel activists and signs blaming the Israeli army and all Jews for 9/11. And such acts are often concurrent with contentious anti-Israel BDS demonstrations that include flagrant anti-Semitic rhetoric”.

UC Davis Swastikas

It’s a critique of BDS that’s shared by Mark Yudof, president emeritus of the University of California and the chair of the advisory board of a new organization, the Academic Engagement Network (AEN) that aims to bring administrators and faculty together to address the challenges of the campus anti-Israel movement.

In an important recent op-ed, Yudof argues that “BDS can be appropriately described as anti-Semitic” for a variety of reasons, among them the fact that:

whether deliberate or not, whether outliers or mainstream BDS advocates, the epiphenomena of BDS are anti-Semitic incidents”.

Bottom line: Last year’s sickening acid attack on a young woman in Glasgow offers a sobering tutorial on the dangerous consequences of unchecked anti-Israel vitriol.

Aussie Dave, pic from tweet


Miriam F. Elman is an associate professor of political science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Syracuse University. She is the editor of five books and the author of over 60 journal articles, book chapters, and government reports on topics related to international and national security, religion and politics in the Middle East, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Follow her on Twitter @MiriamElman


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12 fucking months? For an attack that was most definitely intended to disfigure for the rest of her life, and could very well have blinded her?

That’s a joke.

    No, it’s an insult. Joker should have been tried on considerably more serious charges than assault; attempted murder, at least.

      Milhouse in reply to Rusty Bill. | December 28, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      Attempted murder could not possibly have flown. There was no evidence of intent to kill her, and it was very unlikely that she would die from it. Assault with intent to injure was probably the top charge available. And 12 months is a reasonable result, considering that there wasn’t any permanent injury. In what jurisdiction do you imagine he’d have got more?

        No permanent injury? Just because they saved her eyes, doesn’t mean her eyesight wasn’t affected. You might also want to google “acid scars face” and take a look at them.

          Milhouse in reply to genes. | December 28, 2015 at 11:37 pm

          If there were any permanent injuries that would have been mentioned in the story. It’s not, so there weren’t. That leaves only intent to injure, and in no jurisdiction is that going to get more than a year.

          CalFed in reply to genes. | December 29, 2015 at 1:29 am

          “…and in no jurisdiction is that going to get more than a year.”

          Can’t agree with you on that. In most states, even without serious permanent injury, a man throwing acid in a women’s face would likely be charged either with attempted mayhem or assault with intent to maim. Either of these charges are serious felonies punishable by significantly more than 12 months of incarceration.

        stevewhitemd in reply to Milhouse. | December 28, 2015 at 10:38 pm

        You might also want to google the acid attacks that have become common in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Young women do indeed die — not all that often but it happens.

        If you shoot someone with a gun you’ll have a hard time convincing a jury that you “didn’t mean to kill” that person. Ditto if you knife someone. I think the logic with an acid attack holds: you can’t later claim that you didn’t mean to kill her just because you melted her eyeballs.

          The fact that death occasionally results from such an attack does not support a charge of intent to kill. You admit that it does not happen often; it’s an unlikely result, therefore it can’t have been the intended result.

        You’re out of your mind.


          On the contrary, I am the voice of reason while you are stark staring insane, and need to be locked up in a rubber room. I don’t believe you have ever made a reasonable remark on this blog. Note that I’m not the one who took this personal, you are. Meanwhile go ask any prosecutor, in any jurisdiction you like, what sort of charge such an attack could possibly support.

    SeanInLI in reply to Olinser. | December 28, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    Be grateful they got even that much. The UK doesnt really punish criminals most of the time, and prison there is a bit like sleepaway camp. Since his crime was against Jews, he will also be quite the hero in the UK’s muslim-heavy detention/ rehabilitation system.

      Milhouse in reply to SeanInLI. | December 28, 2015 at 11:59 pm

      His crime was not against Jews; the victim was Greek.

        Sanddog in reply to Milhouse. | December 29, 2015 at 1:14 am

        She was an employee of an Israeli cosmetic company. The intent was to cause her grievous injury because she worked for an Israeli company. The idiot probably thought she was Jewish.

          Milhouse in reply to Sanddog. | December 29, 2015 at 1:22 am

          There’s no evidence that the idiot thought she was anything, or cared what she was.

          CalFed in reply to Sanddog. | December 29, 2015 at 1:56 am

          So, it is your position that a pro-Palestinian activist threw acid on a girl who was working in an Israeli cosmetics booth by happenstance? That even though BDS activists in the UK have been targeting Kadem for boycott for more than two years, this activist simply chose this particular booth for his attack at random?


          Milhouse in reply to Sanddog. | December 29, 2015 at 6:44 pm

          No, of course not. He targeted her because she was working for the company. He didn’t give a **** who or what she was.

          CalFed in reply to Sanddog. | December 29, 2015 at 10:15 pm

          “He didn’t give a **** who or what she was.”

          Obviously he did give a **** about what she was. As you pointed out, she was targeted because she was an employee of an Israeli company

It’s ironic the BDS sees a collaboration between Zionists and Nazis without any evidence to support it. But they can’t seem to accept the collaboration between Muslims and Nazis, despite much evidence and facts.

To top it off, they attempt to insult pro-Israeli advocates by comparing them to Nazis or Hitler, but in the next breath, they praise Nazis and Hitler for the atrocities committed to Jews.

There are nothing worse than hypocrites.

The POS should have gotten Life imprisonment

“Wounding or Inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent

Title: Offences against the Person

Offence: Wounding of inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent

Legislation: Offences against the Person Act 1861 section 18

Mode of Trial: Indictable only

Statutory Limitations & Maximum Penalty: Life imprisonment”

    1. What GBH? Thankfully there was none. Therefore he could not have been charged with it. Assault to injury was almost certainly the highest charge possible.
    2. The manual you cite is for England, not Scotland.

      mckyj57 in reply to Milhouse. | December 29, 2015 at 12:12 am

      Saved “the worst” of the effects. What were the effects? If there was permanent disfigurement, then GBH may be justified.

        Milhouse in reply to mckyj57. | December 29, 2015 at 1:25 am

        If there were any permanent damage the news stories would certainly have said so. That isn’t the kind of information that reporters hide! If it bleeds it leads. And if there had been any GBH he would certainly have been charged with it, or with whatever the Scottish equivalent is.

      For someone who can’t take chiding, you’re very brave in the face of another person getting acid thrown in their eyes because of their religion.

      (Hey, this could be my first reasonable comment!)

      Signing off from the rubber room.

      Say goodnight to your parents.

Reading the post and the links was disturbing enough. European antisemitism never seems to be far below the surface. Listening to a troll try to defend it – that’s a bit much. If we were stupid enough to accept the argument that it should be treated as a simple assault because the victim wasn’t seriously injured, we would be accepting that a slap that’s thrown and misses is the same as a gunshot that misses – no bad, everyone go home. Intent does matter, and intent can be inferred from the weapon used. Deadly weapons imply deadly intent, regardless the outcome of their use.
Even more disturbing is the statement that the crime could not be anti Jewish because she was Greek. Didn’t the Nazis used to categorize people like that?
Trolls are an unfortunate part of the internet culture. I generally try not to feed them, but there are times that seem to demand a response.
I agree with others that, based on the obvious attempt by the perpetrator to cause serious injury, the authorities should have taken the crime more seriously.

I did some quick searchers for other acid throwing attacks in UK and the lowest sentence I could find was five years. Whether or not the victim had permanent injuries might make the difference between 30 years and 5 years, but that’s like saying my defendant shot the victim but the victim is OK so my client should get a slap on the wrist.

Furthermore this was a hate crime, the random victim was targeted because she worked at an Israeli company. Suggesting otherwise is like saying the murders of Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner weren’t hate crimes because they weren’t black.

I’m sorry but can anyone honesty argue that if a Jew or Christian threw acid on a non Muslim victim because she worked at a Mosque or for a refugee center, they would have received a 1 year sentence.

It’s obvious that anyone making the argument that this sentence was appropriate has not bothered to look at other acid attacks in the UK and the details and outcomes of those cases. This sentence is a silent endorsement for his crime. It’s also telling that it received little press in the UK media and a world wide victims advocate group based in the UK has been silent.

The newspaper this was originally cited, the Scottish Sun, has no such article. This story appears nowhere other than pro-Israeli sites. I’d very much like to see it in a neutral source. The possibility that someone’s making up this story is troubling. Our Ishmaelite cousins are notorious for fantasy, not us.

Eliezer Eisnberg: I have no idea what you are talking about. The Scottish Sun covered the incident. Here is a link to the original article. It is easily found (within 2 minutes, by my count) by doing a simple search on the newspaper’s website under “acid attack in Glasgow”:

Empress Trudy | January 1, 2016 at 1:35 pm

He’ll be out in 9 and working for Jeremy Corbyn or George Galloway.