Another fake antisemitism plot in Scotland to smear pro-Palestine activists has been exposed.
The Law Society of Scotland has fined pro-Israel lawyer Matthew Berlow £500 after he played a key part in faking a graffiti attack at his home then used the bogus incident to smear the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC).
An investigation found that Berlow knew that his associate Ed Sutherland had created a fake Facebook identity under the name “Stevie Harrison” to infiltrate the SPSC in January last year.
And it was “Stevie Harrison” who wrote a social media post highlighting vandalism daubed on Berlow’s home in Glasgow. The post said: “A certain Jewish lawyer woke up this morning to find ‘Free Palestine’ spray-painted rather prominently – no idea who was responsible.”
Berlow then fuelled the story by playing the victim and commenting on the post: “Idiocy. Typical SPSC behaviour criminal.”
Berlow and Sutherland are both linked to Friends of Israel which aims to promote the interests of the Zionist regime in the UK.
But Berlow later admitted to the Law Society that he knew the scenario to be faked. But he claimed he went along with it because the Harrison character was being used “to monitor various disruptive activities of the SPSC.”
A preliminary ruling found Berlow failed to maintain the standards of behaviour expected for a solicitor.
It stated: “The pertinent issue is the solicitor’s comment, ‘Typical SPSC behaviour’ and the association between the SPSC and the supposed act of vandalism in the post. The post was made by the alias Stevie Harrison.
“The reporter has been provided with no evidence to find that Harrison was recognised as a member of the SPSC.
“Conversely, as the reporter is satisfied that Harrison is an alias and the social media profile fake, Harrison would naturally be unable to attend any demonstrations or meetings organised by the SPSC.
“Furthermore, following the words ‘no idea who was responsible’, there are a number of emojis portraying a wink.
“The reporter is satisfied that the choice of the words and emoji were intended for readers of the post to draw the inference that the act of vandalism had been committed by Harrison.
“The reporter is therefore satisfied that the comment made by the solicitor associating the act of vandalism with the SPSC was unfounded…
“The reporter is satisfied that when commenting on the post, the solicitor would have known that the post was false and no vandalism had taken place.
“The reporter is satisfied that the purpose of the comment was to associate the ostensibly criminal act with members of the SPSC despite the solicitor being aware at the material time that no criminal act had taken place.”
According to the Daily Record, Berlow claimed last night that he had launched a sting to catch out a person who was stalking him.
He said: “Unfortunately I made it too real and named an organisation I shouldn’t have. It wasn’t my intention to blame the SPSC for a fictitious event.”
Mick Napier, chair of SPSC’s Glasgow branch, said: “We welcome the finding against Berlow but the gravity of the offence clearly merits more than a £500 rap on the knuckles.
“I believe those who have been defamed, including myself, should be awarded exemplary damages. We have been smeared as anti-Semitic and that is serious and quite unacceptable.
“The LSS decided no damage had been done to myself or the SPSC but I would urge it to reconsider this because the damage to our reputation, in accusing us of such criminal acts, is impossible to deny.”
Berlow’s unmasking comes a few weeks after his associate, Edward Sutherland, a member of Confederation of Friends of Israel in Scotland (COFIS), admitted to posting antisemitic material on social media to discredit groups campaigning for Palestinians.
Writing for 5Pillars following the scandal Islamic Human Rights chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “The sheer number of similar incidents in the recent past points to nothing short of a systematic, well organised strategy aimed at discrediting and destroying critics of Zionism and Israel.
“In 2019, at the height of the Labour antisemitism row under former leader Jeremy Corbyn, an investigation by the Electronic Intifada exposed 10 bogus Twitter profiles posing as Corbyn supporters and posting virulent antisemitic posts.
“Two years prior, the Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV network aired a 4-part documentary exposing a plot headed by Israeli embassy staffers in London to undermine pro-Palestine sections of the Labour Party and take down pro-Palestine politicians.
“Last month, Reuters exposed what it called a “deepfake” profile that was being used by Israeli and U.S. media outlets to attack the reputations of Palestinian academics. The publications carried op-eds by a fictitious writer called Oliver Taylor accusing Mazen Masri and his wife, Palestinian rights campaigner Ryvka Barnard, of being “known terrorist sympathizers.”
“As a vocal critic of Israel, the Islamic Human Rights Commission has itself long been a target of Zionist black ops. British Zionism’s leading mouthpiece the Jewish Chronicle has been at the forefront of attempts to vilify the annual Al-Quds Day protest that IHRC co-organises.
“Two years ago, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, whose primary purpose is arguably to stigmatise as anti-Semitic anyone who actively opposes Israel, tried unsuccessfully to bring a prosecution against a pro-Palestinian protestor taking part in the 2017 London rally.
“While the scale of the dirty tricks campaigns is worrying in and of itself, what is more disturbing is that self-styled anti-racism organisations and activists are themselves plying racial hatred in order to secure political advantage.”