Two years after protests led to the closure of an Israeli show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a one day event at the festival to "foster cultural ties between Israeli society and other countries" is to be staged in the city next week.

The International Shalom Festival is to take place at Edinburgh's Central Hall next Wednesday, August 17.

The organisers of the event say it will include "Jews, Arabs, Christians, a Samaritan, Druze and non-aligned people, celebrating the diverse culture, music, art, dance and food of Israel and aiming to build cultural bridges and develop international friendships."

However a letter protesting against the International Shalom Festival has already been penned, signed by artists and politicians including Claudia Beamish MSP, the film director Ken Loach, screenwriter Paul Laverty, actor Tam Dean Burn, actress Miriam Margoyles and film and theatre director Robert Rae.

The letter says: "We are dismayed to see 'Brand Israel' raising its ugly head once more on the Festival Fringe. Having taken advantage of the Fringe's open door policy the ironically named “Shalom” Festival is now trumpeting itself as an official Fringe event."

The letter says the festival backers are linked to the London Embassy of the State of Israel - a charge which organisers deny and say is untrue.

The letter also says the Edinburgh Baptist Church should not allow the event to take place on its premises.

It adds: "We call on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Edinburgh Baptist Church to dissociate itself from this travesty of 'culture' immediately."

Writing today in The Herald, Nigel Goodrich says: "The Edinburgh event has sought absolutely no funding whatsoever from the State of Israel, it is not financed by the Israeli embassy and hasn’t asked them or any agency of the state of Israel for a single shekel. It is a cultural not a political event."

Mr Goodrich said it is "Scotland's lasting shame" that Incubator Theatre were forced to leave their Fringe venue in 2014 after protests and no company from Israel appeared at the Fringe in 2015.

Last night he added: "This year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe will comprise 50,266 performances of 3,269 shows from 48 countries in 294 venues, including performers from countries where human rights and democracy are not always valued or upheld.

"Unsurprisingly, if depressingly, the shrill voices of intolerance are only raised against artists from Israel. Not, it must be noted, against the State of Israel but against Jewish, Arab and Christian performers committed to build bridges and promote peace."

"It is only by fostering cultural ties between diverse elements of Israeli society and other countries that conflict can be resolved. The expulsion and exclusion for which these campaigners call has been the preferred tactic of totalitarian regimes everywhere; it is a tactic which must not be allowed to succeed today."