SBC launch investigation as Twitter 'hate' sparks anger
Fuelled by the conflict between Israel and Gaza, hate posts have spiked on social media, and representatives from the Borders Palestine Solidarity group claim Kelso Councillor Simon Mountford is contributing to that by spreading Israeli propaganda.
An official complaint has now been lodged with Scottish Borders Council as members of the group believe Councillor Mountford has broken the local authority’s code of conduct.
Elisa Smith told the Southern: “We (Borders Palestine Solidarity) were looking into why SBC lit up the building Israel’s colours after October 7, and it was Councillor Mountford who pushed for it.
"I was on his Twitter page and it’s full of retweets of Islamophobia. He says ‘views are his own’ on his profile but he is a spreader of hate and as a council representative surely this is not right?
"Pro Palestine groups are being called all sorts of hateful things but we are supporting people who are being ethnically cleansed by an oppressive regime. Meanwhile, people like Councillor Mountford, who says he’s a Christian, are spreading hate in the Borders.”
At meeting of the full council in November, a motion calling for a ceasefire in the Israeli/Gaza conflict was narrowly passed despite a claim by Councillor Mountford that it was "pontificating on foreign affairs".
He said: "None of us can watch the sight of such suffering and be unmoved. However, in common with many other councillors, I have strong reservations about the council pontificating on foreign affairs, which are way outwith our remit and over which we have absolutely no influence. This becomes just gesture politics, I'm afraid.
"I also feel the motion is naive as it fails to recognise the realities of the situation. It fails to mention the 1,200 Israelis who were butchered or the 240 taken hostage. It ignores the scores of young people slaughtered and raped during the raids."
The Conservative representative for Kelso & District submitted an amendment to the motion condemning the "heinous atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7" and stating: "The council regrets the suffering inflicted on the civilian population of Gaza as the result of the consequent war and considers ways in which it can support Borders organisations and individuals seeking to provide humanitarian aid".
A spokesperson for SBC said: “A complaint has been received and the matter has been referred to the Monitoring Officer to investigate.”