Monday, December 14, 2009

Author of sectarian study is Celtic supporting member of pro-IRA fanzine

Paul Hutcheon

Published on 13 Dec 2009

Politicians question impartiality of ‘tainted’ report

A study into sectarianism funded with public money has been questioned after it emerged that one of its authors is a member of a pro-IRA Celtic FC fan group. Fatima Uygun joined the online version of fanzine Tiocfaidh Ar La earlier this year. Tiocfaidh Ar La translates as “Our Day Will Come” and is a popular IRA slogan in Northern Ireland. The fanzine has been a consistent supporter of the Republican armed struggle in Northern Ireland.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) last month unveiled a report into sectarianism in the workplace. The study – aided by £10,000 from the Scottish Government and matching support from publicly-funded body Sense over Sectarianism – found sectarian prejudice had evolved into a “more subtle and disguised form”.

The report, co-written by Ms Uygun, Professor Gerry Finn and Andrew Johnson, called for firms to be legally required to record sectarian incidents in the workplace.

Ms Uygun, 42, joined the Tiocfaidh Ar La (TAL) online fanzine as “Fatima Celtic67” in February – after the academic study was completed. The publication, set up in 1991, describes itself as anti-fascist, anti-racist and in favour of “politically progressive movements”. However, it also claims to be “the authentic voice of the republican-minded Celtic supporters”.

One issue of the magazine honoured a former IRA chief of staff, while another article, published after former prime minister Tony Blair started peace negotiations in Northern Ireland, dismissed calls for the IRA to disarm: “On this issue, it might be prudent to remember what James Connolly said to the Irish Citizen’s Army on the eve of the Easter Rising – ‘Hold on to your rifles’.”

The same article noted: “The people who forced the Brits into negotiations with Sinn Fein were the volunteer soldiers of the IRA. The British Establishment was bombed to the negotiating table.”

On former First Minister Jack McConnell’s anti-sectarian stance, another article noted: “In reality, this campaign has been a cover to push back growing expressions of Irish nationalism.”

In an interview with the left-wing Class War publication, a spokesman for TAL said: “It was essential TAL clearly expressed its support for the republican people and their struggle to get the Brits out, by any means necessary.”

Although the STUC study focused on discrimination against Catholics and Protestants, one passage noted: “Much that is claimed to be sectarianism is better described as anti-Irish racism.”

Uygun told the Sunday Herald her political views played no part in the study: “My politics aren’t particularly a secret. I’m a revolutionary socialist. I’m not a nationalist. I believe in both Protestant and Irish people actually working together, to bring about a better world.”

Asked why she joined the TAL forum, she said: “I’m a fan of a whole range of things. It’s just one of those things. I’m a bit uncomfortable with my personal beliefs being brought into this.”

She added: “You shouldn’t really be writing stuff about this, because it’s really not helpful to the research. I hope you are not going to be putting anything in about my own personal beliefs. It’s really unprofessional of you to even bring it up, really.”

Ian Davidson, Labour MP for Glasgow South West, said: “It seems to me inappropriate that someone with such strong views has been involved in the composition of the report. It calls into question its impartiality.”

Robert Brown, a Liberal Democrat MSP for Glasgow, said: “There are some points raised by this study that are valid regardless of who wrote it, but perhaps there are some limitations on how much reliance you can place on it if it has come from a source that’s too much on one side of the argument.”

Bill Aitken, a Conservative MSP in Glasgow, said: “The public, having paid for this study, are entitled to expect this research has been carried out by those whose views are not tainted by opinions already expressed on the same subject.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “It was for the STUC to take forward work on the report and pick the research team.”

Grahame Smith, STUC general secretary said: “The STUC believes this report is a significant contribution to the debate about sectarianism in Scotland.”

Sectarian attack on Airdrie binman by Celtic fan

Dec 9 2009 by Gordon Robertson, Airdrie & Coatbridge
A COUNCIL insider has blown the whistle on an alleged sectarian assault that has shamed a Coatbridge cleansing depot.
An investigation has been launched into the vicious attack that left a 22-year-old Rangers-supporting binman with fractured ribs.
One of his colleagues – a Celtic fan – whacked him on the back with a shovel in front of other workers.
The shocking incident is now being investigated by police and is the subject of a separate probe by council chiefs.
Our source said: “He is a young dad from Craigneuk in Airdrie who comes from a mixed family and he thought a lot of what was going on was just banter.
“His wee sister goes to a Catholic school but just because he supports Rangers he was attacked.
“His family are very upset that the story is in the paper but it is better to have this kind of thing exposed.
“The council might be embarrassed but they have got to sort this out.
“This kind of thing cannot be tolerated and the guy who did it should be charged
“It shows you how these things can get out of control.
“Anything could have happened to that young boy and it could have been a lot worse.
“I have come to you because I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”
The attack allegedly took place at Blochairn in Glasgow but the workers were based at Souterhouse Cleansing Depot in Coatbridge.
Both men are now believed to be based at other depots.
The incident was said to have happened shortly after a Rangers 2-1 win over Celtic on Sunday, October 4.
Our source said: “The boy thought it was bit of banter after the game and was laughing and joking and not taking it seriously.
“He was in the works van together with a lot of other workers and he went out for a break and before he knew it he was whacked in the back with a shovel.
“You could see the mark on him, it was like at tattoo.
“He was in so much pain he went to Monklands A&E and found out he had fractured ribs.”
The council insider added: “It is shameful that none of the workers who saw this have come forward.
“Regardless of your religious or ethnic group this should not have been allowed to happen and it should have been reported straight away.”
Council chiefs are now looking into the incident and allegations that the Airdrie dad was a victim of sectarian bullying.
A spokesman for North Lanarkshire Council said: “We do not discuss individual personnel matters.
“However, any violence towards our employees is unacceptable.
“This case will be fully investigated in line with our normal procedures and action taken as appropriate.”
A spokesman for Strathclyde Police confirmed their own investigation into the claims was under way.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Binman beaten with shovel by Celtic fans in sectarian attack

Dec 7 2009 By Janice Burns

A BINMAN was battered with a shovel by sectarian workmates after they found out he was a Rangers fan.
The man, who is in his early 20s, endured months of sectarian abuse at the hands of Celtic supporting colleagues before he was attacked at a rubbish tip.
North Lanarkshire Council have launched a probe after the young dad reported the assault to police.
The dad-of-one, from Airdrie, suffered broken ribs in the attack.
Last night, Strathclyde Police confirmed they were investigating the assault.
Sources told the Record that a gang of Republican sympathisers working at the council refuse collection depot in Lanarkshire preyed on the young man.
An insider said: "This cannot be allowed to happen in this day and age when sectarianism is condemned.
"The poor lad had no idea how bad it was when he joined the council.
"He used to eat his lunch with them but couldn't stand the anti-Protestant and Rangers rants so he started eating in his car.
"Then they found out he was a Rangers fan and that was the start of the victimisation and bullying.
"He would go to work every day and get abused. He was told that if he reported it he would be out of a job."
The young man was assaulted in a revenge attack after a Rangers victory.
His colleagues drove him to a secluded spot on a rubbish tip and attacked him with a shovel, breaking his ribs.
The insider said: "He didn't want to tell the police at first but his family convinced him to do the right thing and report it because they wanted to put a stop to it."
The victim has now been moved to another depot for his own safety.
North Lanarkshire Council confirmed an investigation was under way.

Friday, December 4, 2009

IRA songs at Celtics UEFA Europa League match

The Scottish Sun

WHEN the fans start losing interest, it's time for the board to take notice.

When those fans self-style themselves as the greatest in all the world? When they love to boast in song that over and over, they will follow you?

So here sit Celtic. Not even halfway through the season, but already not good enough for three of the five competitions they entered.

Playing to a half-empty, half-hearted Parkhead. Again.

The atmosphere as their Europa League slog ended in inevitable failure was so flat that even when they were playing well, the only singing was from a little knot away up high in the Lisbon Lions Stand.

And it does them no credit that they seemed more interested in boasts about joining the IRA than in supporting their team.

You looked around this massive arena and saw an empty seat for every one taken up, a join-the-dots of faces looking fed-up and frozen.

Here and there, a few right-on punters half-heartedly waved their Palestinian flags at the little cluster of visiting Israeli fans.

Even when You'll Never Walk Alone came on the tannoy at the start of each half, there was no knee-jerk grabbing of every scarf to raise it high and take the rafters even higher. The attitude seemed to be: Do we HAVE to?

Celtic fans anti-Israeli protest & aftermath



There were arguments outside Celtic Park last night as pro-Palestinian supporters attempted a “peaceful protest” during the Europa League match against Israeli side Hapoel Tel-Aviv.

Security officials attempted to move on the 60 or so protesters who were distributing placards branded with the Palestine flag within the Parkhead grounds.

Officials said no permission had been given for the protest.

The demonstrations were vocally opposed by some fans who saw the trade union’s call to action as a political hijacking of the club.

The actions followed on from calls from the Scottish Trade Union Congress for Celtic fans to show their support for the cause during the match.

STUC Deputy General Secretary Dave Moxham said: “We hope that Celtic fans will join with us in a demonstration of support for a just and lasting peace in Israel/Palestine based on a safe and secure Palestinian homeland living side by side with Israel.”

He continued: "I am today writing to Celtic FC and Hapoel Tel Aviv FC outlining the reasons and purpose of this call and making clear that we attach no blame either to Hapoel Tel Aviv players, nor their fans, for the outrageous actions of their government.”

Their plan was to distribute thousands which would be seen by the “millions around the world… including those living in Israel and Palestine.”

However the club itself had voiced concerns over the plans, saying a crowded football match was, "not the place for a public demonstration", and urged supporters not to compromise safety at Celtic Park.

They added: "We have further concerns that any behaviour within Celtic Park, in breach of UEFA Regulations and Respect campaign will have serious implications and consequences for Celtic as a club.”

Last updated: 03 December 2009, 15:06


The Scottish Trades Union Congress has been widely condemned for “politicising football” after it handed out thousands of Palestinians flags at the Hapoel Tel Aviv/Celtic match at Celtic Park in Glasgow.

Campaigners from the STUC and the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign took 10,000 Palestinian flags to distribute to fans entering Celtic’s ground as an “act of solidarity” with Palestinians, almost one year after Israel’s operation in Gaza, Cast Lead.

Dave Moxham, STUC deputy general secretary, insisted that a demonstration at the game was justified.
He said: “This December marks the one year anniversary of the Israeli invasion of Gaza in which 1,400 men, women and children were killed in an act described by the United Nations as ‘indicating serious violations of international human rights’ and ‘amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity’.

“Israel also continues to flout international law through its illegal occupation, through increasing settlements and building its so-called security wall which separates Palestinians, family from family and community from community.”

Collecting for Palestinians outside the Celtic Park ground

Mr Moxham said he had written to both clubs, “outlining the reasons and purpose of this demonstration and making clear that we attach no blame either to Hapoel Tel Aviv players, nor their fans, for the outrageous actions of their government.

“We hope that Celtic fans will join with us in a demonstration of support for a just and lasting peace in Israel/Palestine based on a safe and secure Palestinian homeland living side-by-side with Israel.”

Mick Napier, chairman of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, described the flag initiative as a”an opportunity to let the Palestinians know that we have not forgotten their ongoing suffering.”

But the club strongly opposed the calls for a demonstration. Its spokesman, Iain Jamieson, said: “Celtic Football Club believes in football as a powerful medium for social integration. Celtic has always been a club for all people, regardless of gender, age, religion, race, politics or ability. We therefore believe Celtic Park is no place for a political demonstration”.

Outside the ground on Wednesday night around 60 volunteers from STUC and SPSC tried to hand out rolled-up Palestinian flags and anti-Israel material to supporters. But each campaigner was immediately surrounded by a large crowd, furiously debating the issue, with many fans shouting: “We don’t want you here.”

Match stewards approached the campaigners telling them to stop handing out flags and fliers on Celtic FC property.

Some flags were taken inside, though not anywhere near what the organisers had hoped. More than 300 Hapoel Tel Aviv supporters, with a dedicated high security presence, flew Israeli flags and banners.

At the end of the match a campaigner tried to run on to the pitch with a Palestinian flag. He was quickly escorted away by police, and booed by Celtic fans.

Steven Purcell, leader of Glasgow City Council, wrote to the STUC to express his “disgust” at their using a football match for political purposes.

David Links, a trustee of JNF/KKL Scotland, which hosted a reception for the Hapoel team and Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor at Celtic Park, is a long-time Celtic fan. He said: “I think it is totally wrong for the STUC to be involved in a football match. I feel disappointed at the fans who did pick up flags. There could have been serious aggravation here.”

Celtic fan Alan Levy said: “It was disgraceful to see campaigners handing out the flags. People didn’t even understand what they meant, and it was very worrying to see people accepting them.”

Israeli ambassador Mr Prosor said: “Sport prevailed over politics. Since Hapoel were originally a team based on the Israeli unions, it seems ironic that people demonstrated against them.”



Tel Aviv fan attacked after Celtic match

By Robyn Rosen, December 3, 2009
A 53-year-old man has been arrested after an incident involving Hapoel Tel Aviv fans in a Glasgow pub.

The man was held after allegedly brandishing an offensive weapon in a pub in Sauchiehall Street before Wednesday’s Europa League game against Celtic.

A police spokeswoman said: “A 53-year-old man has been detained by police in relation to brandishing an offensive weapon during a disagreement between two groups of males.

“There are no reports of any person being injured.”

Celtic won the game 2-0 but Tel Aviv progress to the next round thanks to Hamburg’s victory over Vienna.


Originally Posted by greetin brigade
Aye I was 1 of the guys that got roughed up. Also I spent a night in the cells for my troubles, charged with breach of the peace but it was a completley made-up charge and they've not even taken a statement from me so I'll be gobsmacked if it goes any further. Winded the polis up constantly about what a joke they are, got a brekkie off em n a sleep in a surprisingly warm cell so it was hardly the worst experience I've ever had. Though I think I may have just been kept warm by ma donegal sweater! Thats a tip to anyone who thinks they may ever possibly be facing the same fate.

We were down in section 121 and at the front of the crowd there was some space where we decided to face the pitch then the directors box which was in close proximity.
We unfurled a banner saying "stop israeli genocide in gaza" and held up some palestinian flags, The stewards moved in fairly quickly and forcibly took the banner from us, We continued to stand there and wave our flags and 1 of the stewards tried to pull if off me to which of course I wasnt happy to comply and thus held onto it.
He pushed me back aggressively then other stewards and polis joined in. I kept my composure as always and told them it was private property, said alls I wanted to do was make a peaceful protest and that I wanted my property back. Stewards and polis were typically hyped up though and because I didnt put my head down and beg forgiveness the officer who seemed to be in charge of the section came over and told tweedledum & tweedledee to "eh, jus do him for breach o the peace, that'll do it" or somethin along those lines.
My friends were able to continue waving their flags for a while longer but they soon were made to leave also. 1 of them was threatened with arrest for turning back around with his flag to the crowd. 

In fairness to alot of the crowd, they began to boo the polis for removing us but as I was being put into the van I had to put up with other so-called celtic fans shouting things like "ye's wouldnt even know how spell palestine never mind know anything about it" 
I've been there twice, I've been attacked by both the israeli army and police on numerous occasions and I'm well versed on the history of the region. If people like the one's who were shouting at us had any education on palestine then they'd probably be standing with us! There's far too many 'suits' at cp that havent a clue and don't care (because their ok, they know they can wake up in the morning to find food on the table, fuel to heat their homes and no sound of bombs being dropped around them).

I want to make it clear to everyone that we were still inside the crowd section and had made no attempt to get onto the pitch or anythng like that. Its a disgrace that the stewards are able to come in and pull a banner from the crowds section that was in no way racist or sectarian. The banner said "stop israeli genocide in gaza". The flags we waved were palestinian and the 1 I had ripped off me and the stick broken off was split 4 ways, had the tricolour, basque, palestinian flag and starry plough on it.

A sad day when we cant even peacefully protest against a member of a govenrment that is ethnically cleansing a region of its indigenous peoples!

Get the conservatives out. They're ruining the atmosphere at the games anyway. Seem to think that buying a season ticket constitutes being a fan. Turn up then sit there and watch it as if its eastenders, making no effort to sing or cheer the bhoyz on. People like them are the reason the atmoshphere's gettin killed at CP.

Up the rebels! Im happy to have got arrested and next time I hope there's 100 with ma!! All in the name of the cause

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Celtic fans in Nazi rally

Rob Harris reports from Dublin on the Palestinian rally that turned nasty, overshadowing the World Cup match

THE blazing afternoon sun is beating down and youngsters with kaffirs wrapped round their heads mimic Palestinian terrorists, drawing on the full power of their small voices to scream anti-Israel slogans.

"Victory to the intifada," shouts one, perched on his father's shoulders as a megaphone is thrust into his face. Another clutching a "death to Israel" placard, is encouraged to join in with the chanting hundreds.

Slowly it forms into a sea of Palestinian flags and banners; the baying crowd's animosity towards the Jewish State is unequivocal.

Incitement to hatred? Not to the police, who turn a blind eye and happily offer consent to the protesters venting their venomous spleens.

It's an all-too-familiar scene frequently played out across the Middle East.

Yet these aren't the dusty streets of Ramallah or refugee camps in Gaza. Welcome to the embodiment of liberal harmonisation: 21st century Europe and one afternoon on the streets of the Irish capital.

What had been promoted as a political protest against Israeli government policy turned out to be a furious demonstration of vitriol against the State - and anyone Jewish who caught the protesters' gaze.

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign pledged it would be peaceful, but the evidence on the streets revealed far more disturbing manifestations.

The timing was meticulous, coming just hours before Israel challenged Ireland at Lansdowne Road for a World Cup spot.

As the early afternoon downpour subsided, a ragbag of activists gathered at 3pm on the plaza outside Dublin's Central Bank.

The influence of non-Palestinian groups was unmistakable.

The presence of Sinn Fein banners, IRA supporters and Socialist Workers' members was barely concealed. A teenager, barely 16, flogged copies of Republican newspaper An Phoblacht. A Palestinian flag was draped round his back.

Floppy-haired teenagers togged out in black Nirvana and Slipknot T-shirts arrived in search of an afternoon's 'entertainment'.

They eagerly accepted placards claiming the Israeli army were responsible for the deaths of 3,600 children. Chants about the security barrier were interspersed with cackling as they mischievously adjusted the words.

Either they are unusually well informed for their age or they were just looking to stir up trouble on an otherwise mundane Bank Holiday weekend.

Whatever their politics, conflict can never be a laughing matter.

Girls, who have barely finished nursery school, waved banners proclaiming Sharon to be a war criminal that their parents had cajoled into their tiny arms.

Like so many generations of Irish children bedevilled by conflict, they risk being the latest young pawns in a complex political battleground.

Then there were the football fans. Celtic and Ireland shirts were encased in Palestinian flags - any tactic to incite the opposition before such a decisive match.

Mostly it was a tame affair - for such a gathering. Leaflets were handed out; flags were being flogged for 10 Euros; and the chatter between marchers was punctuated by chanting.

Until the baying crowd scented their blood: passing Israeli fans.

They had come to support their team, on the brink on an historic second-only qualification for a major international football tournament.

None would talk politics, that was a matter for another day - back home.

Instead they shrugged their shoulders, amazed that they were facing such animosity.

The only conflict they expected to witness was on the Lansdowne Road pitch.

That changed when they came into the sights of the radar of the Palestinian supporters.

Their blue stripes and Magen David flags acted like red rags to a bull.

Unprovoked, they found demonstrators squaring up to them, ranting about Israel.

The travelling fans were bemused.

They assumed they'd left hostilities at home, thousands of miles away.

Now they were expected to act as spokesmen for Ariel Sharon, despite no-one enquiring whether they backed the Premier.

"Sieg heil! Sieg heil!" shouted one Irish fan as he proudly Nazi saluted the city's guests - scenes captured by our photographer.

All the Israelis had done was to offer a handshake as a gesture of peace, after spotting the potential flashpoint. It was declined in a forcible manner.

The garda (police) response to quell the tensions? To force the Israelis out of the vicinity, as if they bore the brunt of the culpability. The rules of engagement were established.

And worse was to follow. Initially the Socialist Workers, Sinn Fein activists and Muslims reserved their condemnation for the "occupation of the Territories" and the Israeli military.

Until the marching hundreds spotted another group of Israelis. Their Budget Hyundai hire car - adorned with "Israel loves Ireland" posters - was designed to be an illustration of goodwill in this febrile atmosphere.

No chance. Hissing, booing and jeering followed. These Israelis were targeted for backing a simple, non-political message of peace.

A Muslim - clad in an "end the occupation" T-shirt, a kaffir around his forehead and a Palestinian flag tied round his neck - gesticulated aggressively towards them.

A one-fingered salute made his feelings transparent: you're not welcome.

Gardai seemed to concur. Confronting the vehicle's owners, their posters promoting harmony between the two nations were confiscated and screwed up.

Free speech wasn't applicable for the Israelis on Nassau Street. Their only crime was being football fans.

As one senior constable warned the fans to vacate the vicinity of the protest, without warning their vehicle was removed at speed down the street by a colleague. They were dumfounded.

An officer monitoring the protests told me: "We've been told to remove Israeli flags and banners. I don't want to be here, but I'm only doing my job."

Edging slowly towards the Embassy, a middle-aged Irish woman whipped up the crowd in a frenzy with yells of "Israel is a waste of space" into her megaphone
Passing pub-goers chanted: "Up the PLO. Up the IRA". Groups of marchers were soon echoing this.

Arms raised aloft, the spectre of Nazi salutes again reared its ugly head on the route. Gardai turned a blind eye.

As the rally continued down the long road, the venomous chants built up apace.

Increasingly it resembled a rally in the Palestinian territories supporting jihadist militants.

There they revel in terror; here the guise was a peaceful demonstration.

When they spotted a man sporting a Republic shirt and a kippah, the police stepped in. He was a Chelsea fan from London, and had come for the weekend with friends to watch the match. Bafflingly, the garda tried to remove him from the street. When the Palestine Solidarity marchers spotted him, the response was by now sadly predictable. They turned their venom on him, despite displaying no signs of affiliation with Israel and being one of their own - an Ireland fan. The kippah was enough; this made him fair game.

Again this overt antisemitism and incitement to hatred was unchallenged.

By the time the crowd reached the Israeli embassy their blood was boiling. But as the international television crews pitched up, the speeches delivered by the Palestinian supporters were forced to take on a moderate tone.

Against a backdrop of a re-creation of the security barrier, they claimed their argument was not against Israel.

Try explaining the "waste of space" and "victory to the intifada" yells that reverberated around Dublin.

They called for the aerial attacks on Palestinians to stop. Then issued a plea for bombers of their own.

One became suspicious of my presence, having followed them on foot for nearly three hours.

"Your sort aren't welcome," the Muslim protester angrily informed me - assuming that I was Israeli.

At 5.20pm as the crowd dispersed could Dublin now prepare for the main event, a World Cup qualifier?

WITH the clock counting down until kick-off, the strains of Hevenu Shalom Aleichem and Am Yisrael Chai struck up at the rear of the Israeli Embassy.

A small group of flag-waving Israel fans began passionately expressing their support.

Some were Irish Christian Friends of Israel, others had made the trip across the Irish Sea and later fans from the Jewish State upped the tempo with festivities and flag waving.

In an instant, the atmosphere was soured when a break-off from the Palestinian rally breached the confines of this peaceful gathering on the narrow pavement.

"A tiny crew of middle-aged motley tree huggers," remarked one observer. But with their giant flags they were determined that their presence was felt.

The Israeli team had been due to pass by the embassy to greet the travelling fans en route to Lansdowne Road, but security concerns prevented this from happening.

Meanwhile the police - so hasty preventing anyone interfering with the earlier Palestinian demo - did nothing to halt this intimidation.

Palestinian supporters were allowed to heckle and taunt. One delivered repeated shouts of "Nazis".

Despite Israel fans urging them to halt the standoff, the police response was mute.

The scuffles were inevitable.

One skin-headed man openly admitted to being an Irish Republican Army backer, the terrorists responsible for some of the worst violence in Ireland and Britain.

Sealed lips from watching police, despite their quick-fire interventions earlier in the afternoon against the Israelis.

The two sides remained fixed in place, eye-to-eye, flag-to-flag, until they departed for the match.

As one protester packed up his placard, another poster was already in place on the reverse, campaigning for the bin tax to be axed.

The bedraggled coalition had revealed their true rent-a-mob colours. On to the next demo then.

INSIDE the creaking Lansdowne Road, specks of red, green and white exposed themselves, but stewards appeared powerless to remove the Palestinian flags being hoisted in the stands.

Initially animosity was reserved for Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.

The Taoiseach's anthem was booed, while silence ensued throughout the Hatikva.

The 600 Israel fans in the North Bucket braved the teeming rain to belt out the anthem with pride.

But within 11 minutes of the whistle the Israelis were silenced. Lethal strikes from Ian Harte and Robbie Keane appeared to wrap up the tie. Struggling to press forward, Israel didn't appear to have a chance.

On their journey through the heated streets of Dublin, the team had been distracted by a replay of last month's Champions League final. Now they desperately sought to draw inspiration from Liverpool's comeback, a feat they accomplished within six minutes of the break.

Stage one was completed by Avi Yechiel, who marked his international debut with a well-timed equaliser.

Stage two came in the second minute of injury time when Yossi Benayoun, who was being watched by Newcastle United scouts, was brought down in the penalty area.

After being forced thrice to retake the spot kick, with jeering ringing in his ears, Avi Nimni displayed coolness to level the tie and edge Israel closer to the World Cup finals in Germany.

At half time fans burst into a chant of "Israel Milchamah" - Israel's army - while the Irish were in shock. In the VIP area, an ashen-faced Taoiseach faced an ecstatic Roman Abramovitch, as the Chelsea owner tucked into kosher sandwiches.

And as the tie went into a nailbiting second 45, the visitors faced a barrage of antipathy as their players fought to defend the draw. The acrobatics and apparent histrionics of goalkeeper Dudu Awat infuriated the home crowd and they never forgave him for seemingly feigning injury which led to Andy O'Brien's sending off.

If anything, it was surprising that just one red card was brandished by Greek referee Kyros Vassaras. Israel defender Shimon Gershon feared the closing stages were developing into a street fight. "Tackles and elbows were flying in everywhere," he said.

At 9.31pm, with dusk settling over Dublin, Israel secured the vital point that nudged them closer to the finals in Germany. One Israel fan summed up the mood: "For the first time in Irish history, Israel was attracting the ire and venom of the Irish public with total justification."

However, an Irish fan would not let the tension remain on the field. As Awat was sitting in the lobby at the team's hotel, a bucket of ice was hurled at the Israeli keeper, who was already suffering from a suspected broken nose.

It underlined the rage facing Israelis even before the match. And it signalled the end to a disturbing day the Irish capital would rather forget.

A city that has played witness in centuries past to the tortuous results of bloodshed was again given the oxygen to become a battleground for simmering rivalries - even in the 21st century.

Even in Europe, where for one weekend Israelis hoped to find solace in sport and escape the daily traumas back home. Some chance.

Celtic fans & STUC bizarre anti jewish protest

The STUC call for Celtic fans to have a Palestinian flag protest when Israeli side Hapoel Tel Aviv visit Glasgow tomorrow night took me by surprise. Not that the STUC would call for solidarity with the Palestinian people – I’m a trade union member and know about the long standing links between the Scottish Labour movement and the Palestinian cause.
I just got a feeling that, well, sometimes it’s easy to get people to wave flags and then stand back and watch the fall-out. Let’s face it, we all know about how certain flags can be a red rag to football fans, sometimes even the football authorities in this country, and let’s face it, there are a few songs that get sung from the stands that quite frankly are reprehensible and racist.
But I’m not sure that the STUC, or any other public bodies, got much further than a limp condemnation of these matters. So why pick on the visit of Hapoel to Celtic Park this week for a protest call?
Hapoel have a fairly interesting history. They began in the 1920s and were associated with Histradut, the Israeli trade union. The word “hapoel” itself is Hebrew for worker, and they were seen as a communist club, and yes, they do play in red shirts.
Fans of Hapoel see themselves as a special kind of fan – political, socially-aware people who rail against corruption in Israeli society. While most of the banners at games proclaim undying loyalty to their team, they like having a go at rivals Beitar Jerusalem, a “fascist, racist” club in the eyes of Hapoel fans.
My favourite banner though was their “Say No to Racism” banner – well actually they had two. One written in Hebrew, and one in Arabic.
Maybe I’m being glib, but I get the feeling that Hapoel fans, the people who would bleed for their club, aren’t the kind of people who are going to be full-square behind the continuing annexation of Palestinian land. Dare I say it, some of them may actually be opposed to the way that Palestinians are treated in Israel. So why does the STUC think that a protest at tomorrow’s game is a good idea?
Got to say, I don’t remember the STUC calling for Rangers fans to fly Palestinian flags when Maccabi Haifa visited Glasgow a few years ago. And it’s not as if the political situation in Israel was a whole lot better for Palestinians then. Admittedly, there was a lone protester at that match – but he wasn’t a Rangers fan and I don’t think the STUC paid for his lawyer.
Do the STUC think Celtic fans are stupid? “C’mon Bhoys, show some solidarity with the oppressed Palestinians... youse are always greeting about oppression, they’re your kind of people... here’s a flag, and it’s got green and white in it...”
Football can bring people together, and politics can divide football fans, even those who support the same team, but there is nothing worse than politics hijacking other people’s events without being upfront about it.
If there is a Palestinian flag protest tomorrow night in the East End of the Glasgow, then any outrage afterwards – and there would be plenty  – would be directed at Celtic fans, not the STUC who called for it.
David Coyle is a finalist in's The Write Factor competition. The views expressed are not necessarily those of STV plc. If you would like to read more from this writer, use our comment system below.
Last updated: 01 December 2009, 16:09

Celtic fans anti Jewish protest

Published: 28 Nov 2009

PLANS to stage an anti-Israel protest at Parkhead during Celtic's match against Hapoel Tel-Aviv sparked fury last night.
The Scottish Trades Union Congress urged Hoops fans to wave Palestinian flags during the clubs' Europa League game on Wednesday.

They want supporters to show opposition to the Israeli invasion of Gaza a year ago in which 1,400 died.

But last night Celtic said they were "extremely concerned" by the protest plans. A spokesman added: "Celtic Park is no place for a political demonstration. Our primary concern is that event safety may be compromised."

Celtic also warned any demo may result in the club being punished by UEFA.

And Dr Ken Collins, a former president of the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, said: "Any attempt to use sport to divide people is completely wrong." The STUC wrote to both clubs explaining it wanted to support "lasting peace" between Israel and Palestine.

Former Lord Provost and Celtic fan Alex Mosson***, 69, said he intends to wear a Palestinian flag at the match. He said: "I fully support this."

Hapoel were unavailable for comment last night.


Alex Mosson (Ex Lord Provost and convicted criminal)


From: Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date: May 18, 1999

Author: Currie, Brian; McCOLM, EUAN

CONVICTED criminal Alex Mosson is the new Lord Provost of Glasgow.

The Labour politician will become the public face of Scotland's largest city despite convictions for assault and housebreaking.

Colleagues in the Labour Group of Glasgow City Council voted by a clear majority for Mosson to take over the high-profile civic role, which will pay him £24,000 a year of public money.

Reformed alcoholic Mosson will also become Lord Lieutenant of Glasgow - the Queen's official representative in the city.

Last night, the 58-year-old said: "My colleagues have placed their trust in me and I won't let them down.
"I'm looking forward to working with a unified group and taking Glasgow into the Millennium.
"I've overcome my past difficulties with the support of my family and today with the help of the Labour Party."

The Record exclusively revealed yesterday that Mosson had been jailed for nine months for assault and six months for housebreaking.

Shortly after we broke the story, desperate Mosson spoke to a local newspaper in an 11th-hour bid to salvage his tarnished reputation.

Playing for the sympathy vote, the politician blamed his battle with alcoholism for his violent behaviour.

He told how he sank so low that he once broke into a pub to satisfy his craving for drink.

The councillor for Anderston said: "The convictions were part of my problem.
"It is something I am not proud of, but it is a fact that with the support of my wife and my family and my faith I have overcome that problem.
"I overcame the problem of alcoholism and I have worked on behalf of the people of Anderston since 1984."

Saying he has been sober for the past 21 years, Mosson added: "Because of my own illness, I have been able to identify and assist others in similar positions.
"I have represented the city at home and abroad with dignity."

Unemployed Mosson, who lives in a plush Victorian home in Glasgow's upmarket west end, will now take home a hefty salary and enjoy countless perks of office.

He is entitled to the use of a chauffeur-driven limousine, and will preside over lavish functions within the opulent City Chambers. On the international stage, he will represent Glasgow's 620,000 people.

Mosson's supporters argued that he was a worthy candidate for the job of Lord Provost because his convictions from the late 1960s are now "spent".

Although Mosson enjoys that protection, employees of Glasgow City Council working in areas such as social work and education have no option but to reveal details of their past crimes.

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, which usually prevents such convictions being disclosed after a set time, is not applied.

Yesterday, the Scottish Office admitted that the new Secretary of State, John Reid, would not be able to prevent Mosson becoming the Queen's representative in Glasgow.

Of the 32 Lord Lieuten-ants in Scotland, 28 are recommended by the Scottish Secretary.

But the four city Lord Provosts are appointed by their councils.

A spokesman for the Scottish Office said: "For the 28 Lord Lieutenants selected by the Secretary of State, obviously the appropriate calibre of person is looked for."
But he added: "The Secretary of State cannot intervene when it comes to a Lord Provost."

In yesterday's election, Mosson won 41 votes from the Labour Group, with challengers Bill Timoney and Bashir Maan receiving 23 and 10 votes respectively.

Councillor Jean Macey was chosen as deputy Lord Provost.

Councillor Charlie Gordon was elected unopposed as council leader, and Jim Coleman is his deputy. All the positions will be formally confirmed at a full council meeting on Thursday.

Last night, an SNP spokesman said of Mosson's new role: "This shows that nothing has changed with Labour in Glasgow. It's the same old cronyism.
"This is an embarrassment for the Labour Party."

Liberal Democrat councillor Dr Christopher Mason added: "I am very concerned at this."

A Labour Party spokesman said: "The appointment of Lord Provost is a matter for the elected representatives on Glasgow City Council."

Delusions of a Celtic supporter - Irish Independent

By Kevin Myers - Irish Independent
Wednesday December 02 2009

The Federation of Irish Societies in Britain is this week celebrating the proposed changes in British census laws that will allow millions of British people to declare themselves of Irish ethnicity.

What 'Irish ethnicity' actually means, I cannot say. Does it include a Celtic supporter from east Glasgow who, like his parents, has never been to Ireland, has three beer bellies, no job, a life expectancy of 48 (also the number of cigarettes he smokes every day) and a disability allowance to make those few remaining years bearable?

Huge numbers of people in west Scotland regard themselves as 'Irish': this is their right. They can equally regard themselves as Rwandan. We are all entitled to our delusions. It is a quite different matter when those delusions are given legal status in a census.

Once upon a time, the British census largely wanted to know which direction one's toes were pointing when the numerator called. But in recent decades, as immigration and its consequences made census-taking an increasingly ideological affair, the sub-categories of Britishness became defined by the dogmas of multiculturalism. It was not enough to be born in Birmingham. Were you black British? Afro-British? Cari-bbean-British? Asian-British? This endless appetite to subdivide, to celebrate differences and make them the defining features within a society, is the core of multiculturalism.

To multiculturalists, people are never simply people: they are always representatives of this or that ethnic group.

Once you embark on this 'ethnic' idiocy, it goes on forever. What would a British census make of Samantha Mumba? To a civilised mind, she is simply Irish. But to the new Broederbond-rules of multiculturalism, she belongs to the undefined category of Afro-Irish; and unless the Afro-Irish are given their ethnic identity, it is clear proof that they are being racially oppressed.

Absurd? Not at all. The extremely silly English actress Emma Thompson has an adopted Rwandan son (yes, I know) who studied politics at Exeter University. Far from being grateful for this break in life, he said he was appalled to discover that he was the only African studying politics there. He complained that he was twice subjected to racist insults in his time in Exeter.

His mother called a protest meeting about this, and from the outset denounced the whiteness of Exeter. (And all multiculturalists agree. There is something imminently racist about whiteness -- unless it is Irish, that is). The next item at the meeting -- and I am not making this up -- was a serious discussion about how to reduce the whiteness of Devon and Cornwall.

This is infantile stuff, unworthy of the attention of adults; yet it is a symptom of the political correctness which drives the multicultural agenda. Try the same question in the Irish context: how are we to reduce the whiteness of the Burren or Connemara? Or put another way, though one that multiculturalists never would tolerate, how can we make Lagos or Khartoum less black?

It is not just that the sheer imbecility of multiculturalism sooner or later divides, it is the implicit divisiveness of multiculturalism which either imposes racial categories, or encourages people to imagine them. After all, an Irish 'ethnicity' after, say, several generations in Britain, is surely an entirely British confection.

Moreover, relocate these questions to Ireland. What was Eamon de Valera, born in the USA? James Connolly, born in Edinburgh? Patrick Pearse, father English? James Larkin, born in Liverpool? Erskine Childers, born in London?

The Federation of Irish Societies, interestingly enough, questioned the presence of the category of 'Northern Irish' in the British census

It was also opposed to the conjoining of Irish Traveller and gypsy (note, please, the lower case, thanks to the absence of Irish equality laws over that word). But once you break down Traveller/gypsy, what kind of Traveller are you? A Ward, a McDonagh, or New Age? Or what kind of gypsy are you? Romany, Didicoy or Roma? Gay? Bi? Transgender? Vegetarian?

However, there are some questions which are still unacceptable. A census in Britain might enquire whether respondents are ethnically African or Gaelic, but never Anglo-Saxon. For in the weirdly wonderful ethos of multiculturalism, some ethnicities are more inherently wrong than others. Sudanese clearly means diversity; Devonian obviously means racism.

Surveys of perceptions are no more than just that. For 'ethnicities' are imagined things. DNA analyses are different. They tell us of the origins of our populations, and they are ethnographically interesting. We are all descended from immigrants: my blood group, B+, suggests I am partly of Korean origin.

But once our ethnic origins become self-defined categories in must-answer censuses, they take on a status which any racist will welcome.

To create subordinate ethnic groups based on 'racial ancestry' is to exalt half-remembered or imagined bloodlines above the greater community.

The result is the diseased kultur of the volk: also known as Bosnia-Herzegovina.

- Kevin Myers

Irish Independent

Celtic fans Nazi shame

A front-page Evening Times headline on 6th September 1941 read 6th September read:


The following day’s paper featured a letter from a member of the public who noticed the contrast in front page articles where one focussed on Russia's fight in WWII and the other on "those hooligans who bring such a disgrace to our city and our national sport."

He continued, "Here, on one side, was a country fighting so valiantly in its own towns and streets not only its own battle but ours as well, and fighting regardless of creed or anything else. On the other hand, we have citizens of this country, allied to another, fighting among themselves all over a game of football."

On the same day, Sir Patrick Dolan Lord Provost of Glasgow, said, "It is shameful that Glasgow's great contribution to the war effort should be impaired by a few hooligans who seem to be more concerned about their club winning than that Britain should defeat Hitler in the struggle for a better world."

Celtic Park shut-down threat

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