David Meikle
Glasgow city councilor David Meikle waving flag from city hall balcony. Photo by Screenshot from Twitter
Text size

As the Palestinian flag flies from Glasgow city hall in a gesture of solidarity with Gaza during the fighting with Israel, a city councilor has bucked the trend by waving the Israeli flag from a top-floor balcony. In response, nearly 2,000 locals have signed a petition demanding his resignation, the BBC reports.

Referring to David Meikle, a Conservative from Pollokshields ward, the petition notes: "His decision to fly the Israeli flag on Friday August 8, without any authority or formal consent from the top floor of the City Chambers, while the Palestinian flag was being officially raised on the approved authority and consent of The Lord Provost of Glasgow, leaves us, the citizens of Glasgow, with no option but to move a vote of No Confidence in his tenure as a local representative of the ward."

Prior to Meikle's demonstration, the Scottish city's Lord Provost Sadie Docherty wrote to Vera Baboun, mayor of Glasgow's twin city, Bethlehem, to tell of the flag-raising and offer her "heartfelt sympathy" to the people of Gaza.

“Glasgow is home to many friends of Palestine and this is a deeply distressing time for them. They represent a variety of ethnicities, political persuasion [and] faiths … However, they are united by a common desire to support the Palestinian people," Docherty wrote.

The raising of the Palestinian flag had incensed many in Glasgow's small (4,000 pop.) Jewish community. The Glasgow Jewish Representative Council said it was “angered and hurt” by the move, with council president Paul Morron calling it the “worst kind of gesture politics.”

Meikle agreed, and also took exception to Docherty's letter. “I failed to read in the letter where the Lord Provost mentions the plight of the Christian population in Bethlehem who are leaving owing to harassment. I also failed to see in the letter any condemnation of the Hamas terrorists who have declared war on Israel and their use of civilians as human shields to protect its forces.”

He then flew the Israeli flag from a top-floor balcony of city hall, tweeting a photo of himself doing it, but later deleting the Twitter account.

The controversy has naturally been reflected in social media comments by Glaswegians. One, Elaine Cooper, wrote she was "absolutely disgusted any Scottish council would blatantly support an organisation like Hamas.”

Others, however, tweeted that seeing the Palestinian flag over city hall made them "proud to be Glaswegian." One local tweeted that "London needs to take a leaf out of Glasgow's book."