Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 13:03 UK

Protest over Israeli exhibition

Protest banner outside Holyrood
The protesters unfurled a banner outside the main Holyrood entrance

A small group of demonstrators has gathered outside Holyrood to protest against an exhibition being held there by Scottish Friends of Israel (SFI).

The exhibition aims to highlight Israel's contribution to "science, medicine and technology".

But a petition lodged at the parliament last month claimed it was "nothing more than a shameless PR exercise" on behalf of the Israeli government.

SFI insisted opposition to its exhibition was "absurd and blinkered"

The exhibition, which was sponsored by Ken Macintosh MSP, is due to be held in the parliament's garden lobby until Thursday.

A petition lodged by Sofiah MacLeod of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign called on the parliament to cancel the event, which she claimed would "potentially implicate all of us in a whitewashing of Israeli crimes" if it went ahead.

The petition had more than 1,000 signatories, but the parliament's corporate body said the exhibition could go ahead as it did not breach Holyrood rules, which allow MSPs to sponsor small-scale exhibitions which provide information or highlight issues to other members.

SFI has dismissed Ms MacLeod's claims, and said it had no "direct or indirect interaction with the Israeli government".

In a letter to the parliament's petitions committee, the organisation said: "The proposed exhibition does not attempt to deliver any political message whatsoever, its purpose is to draw attention to the remarkable achievements of the medical and scientific community of Israel."



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