Israel banned from International Culture Summit in Edinburgh

Human rights activists have welcomed the Scottish government’s decision to block Israel’s participation in the first International Culture Summit, which was held in the Scottish Parliament building last month.

A coalition of campaign groups labeled “Don’t dance with Israeli apartheid,” which had planned to protest any official Israeli presence, said that Tel Aviv had declined the invitation to attend a conference “encouraging cultural dialogue among nations,” the Palestine News Network reported.

The Cultural Summit brought together about 40 culture ministers from around the world. 

The Scottish government’s Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, said the gathering “offered an unprecedented opportunity to discuss the use and value of the arts, culture and the creative industries, and their role in encouraging dialogue among nations.” 

In 2010, the Scottish government called for trade sanctions on Tel Aviv after Mossad spies travelled to Dubai on forged British passports to kill senior Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

Al-Mabhouh was found dead in his hotel room on January 19, 2010. The Dubai police said the murder was carried out by a hit squad of at least 11 people using stolen identities, in many cases forged British, Irish, French, German, and Australian passports. 

More than half of the people identified as being responsible for the killing share the names of foreign-born Israeli nationals.