Wednesday, June 29, 2022
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RE teacher ‘posted anti-Semitic messages to gain trust from lawyer accused of whistling German national anthem at Jewish peer’

AN RE teacher ‘shared anti-Semitic posts online to gain the trust of a lawyer who allegedly whistles the German national anthem when passing a Jewish peer in court’, a panel was told.

Edward Sutherland admitted to the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) yesterday that he set up a fake Facebook profile under the pseudonym Stevie Harrison.

The 52-year-old, who taught at Belmont Academy in Ayr, South Ayrshire, has been accused of posting vile messages on social media under the account, including writing: “F**k Israel”.

Edward Sutherland
Edward Sutherland teaches RE at Belmont Academy. Credit: Facebook

He admitted to posting the messages online but denies breaching the code of conduct.

The panel heard evidence yesterday from pro-Israel lawyer Matthew Berlow who claims Mr Sutherland made the comments to try and snare another lawyer, Neil McPherson.

He claimed Mr Sutherland set up a fake profile to lure anti-Semites into exposing their views and alleged that Mr McPherson whistles German songs when passing him in court.

Mr Berlow admitted that he has had a months-long dispute with Mr McPherson and claims he gave Mr Sutherland his home address and wife’s registration number.

Speaking yesterday, Berlow said: “Edward Sutherland is viewed as a hero by the Jewish community and is of exemplary character.

“Neil McPherson walks past me in court and whistles Deutschland Uber Alles.

“He gave ‘Stevie Harrison’ my address in the hope of damage occurring. I have reported Mr McPherson to Police Scotland.”

The German national anthem begins with the lines ‘Deutschland Deutschland uber alles’ which translates to Germany above all.

It is not not sung any longer when the anthem is played and is known to be a phrase used by some as an anti-Semitic trope.

Sammi Stein, a member of Glasgow Friends of Israel, said: “Mr Sutherland, as well as a few others in our organisation, have false identities on social media.

Matthew Berlow
Matthew Berlow was giving evidence to the GTCS hearing. Credit: BerlowRahman

“We do this to expose people who express anti-Semitic sentiments.”

Neil McPherson was recently fined £2,000 by the Law Society of Scotland for comparing Auschwitz concentration camp with Paisley.

Mr Sutherland, from Prestwick, South Ayrshire, faces being struck off the register following a string of allegations relating to the inappropriate Facebook account.

Messages from the account read: “Back after a 30 day ban, my first thought? F**k Israel.”

While sharing a link to a JustGiving page raising money for a Jewish solicitor who is known to Sutherland, another read: “I’ve seen it all now. Zio p***k’s asking for donations.

“Should be in the f**king jail for all the stuff he’s done.”

Sharing a post from a group member of the Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign Facebook page, he allegedly wrote: “I knew I’d seen that f**king zio before.

“Tried to stitch up a good mate of mine. P***k. Free Palestine ya b*****d”.

Along with laughing emojis, another post read: “Zio p***k [redacted] been a bad boy. All these Muslims he claims to employ and two of his lawyers are done for drink driving.

Other messages read: “Looks like a certain Zio’s big nose is out of joint. Don’t worry [redacted]. You’re going to get what’s coming to you. I hear you’re in a lot of trouble. And that complaint’s going in.”

“A certain Jewish lawyer woke up this morning to find Free Palestine painted rather prominently”.

Sutherland was a convener of the Confederation of Friends of Israel (COFIS) at the time but stepped down pending investigation.

The hearing continues.

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