[Boycott - Sports]
Conflict affects sport and arts
2 August 2006
A match involving the Israeli cricket team in Glasgow has been abandoned amid fears of demonstrations over Israel's campaign in Lebanon.
Organisers, the European Cricket Council, said it was cancelled because of public safety issues.
The Edinburgh International Film Festival has also cancelled sponsorship from the Israeli Embassy following protests from pro-Palestinian groups.
Jewish leaders said they were concerned about anti-Semitic feeling.
Originally, police said the European Cricket Council could not find an available venue for the Israel match on Thursday.
We are very worried that threats to Israeli interests could spread to Jewish interests in the city
The Israeli cricket team had been expected to play Jersey in Newlands, in Glasgow's south side, on Thursday.
That match was switched to Anniesland, postponed then cancelled. Both teams will now receive one point in the tournament.
The team is due to meet Norway on Saturday in Hillhead, Glasgow, in the European Cricket Council's second division championship match.
Osama Saeed, of the Muslim Association of Britain, said of the decision to drop the match: "This is fabulous news, though we would wish that the decision had been taken earlier by the organisers on the grounds of principle rather than practicality."
However, Dr Kenneth Collins, from the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, said: "We have had evidence in the past that when things get hot in the Middle East there are outbreaks of anti-Semitism.
"We have already had daubings on a synagogue in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh and we are very worried that threats to Israeli interests could spread to Jewish interests in the city.
"The Jewish community in Glasgow are not spokesmen for Israel. We have a natural sympathy with what happens there and many of us have relatives there and we are very concerned about how Israel is treated and how it's looked upon."
Meanwhile, the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) had agreed to accept a £300 travel grant from the embassy in London to bring over Israeli director Yoav Shamir.
His film Five Days, which chronicles Israel's violent pull-out from Gaza last year, is one of dozens being shown at the high-profile event later this month.
But on Wednesday EIFF artistic director Shane Danielsen said the money had now been declined in the wake of Israel's conflict with Hezbollah militants.
Mr Danielsen said: "This funding was secured some three months ago, well before the commencement of current hostilities in Lebanon.
"Of course we acknowledge that the situation has altered dramatically since then, and with this in mind, took the decision early yesterday to decline any funding from the Israelis."
Mr Danielsen said screening of the film would go ahead as planned and that the festival would pay for Mr Shamir's travel if he chose to attend.
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