Dark passions behind gauntlet of hate

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On Tuesday I went to see the Israeli show The City at the Underbelly, as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

I believe in the right to peaceful protest but this was something else. This was frightening.

A crowd of people were screaming and shouting in my face, chanting at me: “There is blood on your tickets” and wilfully intimidating the public in the hope that they would be too afraid to go in.

Mostly it worked. A small number of people including five bewildered girls ran the gauntlet with help from the police.

The Fringe staff were wonderful and tried to offer some sympathy. “Is this Scotland?” I thought. Did I just get vilified for going to a theatre performance?

I am not ignorant of the current situation in Israel/Palestine. It is one of many conflicts that rage throughout the globe.

However, it is time for people to do some soul-searching.

The Israeli show is the only one that will be forced to shut down at the Fringe this year.

At the recent Palestine Solidarity Campaign demonstrations in France there were shocking outbreaks of antisemitism and in London placards that read “Hitler was right”.

How easily passion can turn dark. I wonder how the Scottish public going to the Fringe will respond.

Will they congratulate the protesters on their success at shutting these artists down, or (if another safer venue can be found) will the public dare to run the gauntlet like I did?

Christine Muir

King’s Park