For those concerned over recent press indicating that West Dunbartonshire, one of the 32 local government council areas of Scotland, was banning Israeli books, the council has recently assured us that nothing of the sort is happening.
The council isn’t banning books by Israeli authors, they’re merely banning ALL Israeli products, including books published in Israel.
Oh, I see.
Evidently, the ban on ALL Israeli goods – including those from within pre-1967 boundaries – was passed 2 1/2 years ago, and included the following language:
“This Council deplores the loss of life in Palestine which now numbers well over 1,000. This Council also recognises the disproportionate force used by the IDF in Palestine and agrees to boycott all Israeli goods as a consequence. Officers should immediately cease the purchase of any goods we currently source, which were made or grown in Israel. Officers should also ensure we procure no new goods or produce from Israel until this boycott is formally lifted by WDC.”
Since the row erupted, council members haven’t been reacting too well to efforts by anti-boycott activists to reverse their ban.
Typical, is this exchange between council member Jim Bollan, of the Scottish Socialist Party, and Martin Sugarman, Chair of the Hackney Anglo-Israel Twinning Association.
In further correspondences with anti-boycott activist, Stephen Franklin, Bollan characterized Hamas as “Freedom Fighters”:
European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor summed it up as follows:
“While those behind the boycott will claim that this is not antisemitic, targeting only the Jewish state, a democracy, while ignoring serial human-rights abusing nations tells us that this is indeed antisemitic in intent and in effect,” Kantor said in a statement released last Tuesday. “This demonstrates how far ‘respectable antisemitism’ has come. Clearly it has become acceptable to boycott and discriminate against Jews, as long as there is a thin veneer of anti-Zionism, which purportedly covers the hateful act.”
Beyond the ongoing rhetorical volley, however, there is an evolving campaign going against West Dunbartonshire over their boycott of Israel. We’re trying to get the decision reversed. Ways in which you can help include the following:
Tweet the council @wdcouncil and Councillor Jonathan McColl @cllrjmccoll. For sample tweets see @cifwatch and @actforisrael on Twitter.
West Dumbartonshire Council has a Facebook page. Go to their wall here – https://www.facebook.com/pages/West-Dunbartonshire-Council-Information-and-Updates/112647932154444 and flood them with comments.
3. West Dumbartonshire Discussion Forum.
On the West Dumbartonshire Council web page there is a discussion forum where you can post comments. You will need to register and comments are moderated. Again lets flood them with comments. Here’s the link – http://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/forum/
4. Councillor Jonathan McColl’s blog
As chief defender of the boycott, Councillor McColl has uploaded a video log. You can post comments on his blog.
Email the councillors and let them know that the boycott is immoral and racist. Do not be abusive and stick to facts.
Emails of the councillors are below:
Denis.Agnew@west-dunbarton.gov.uk; George.Black@west-dunbarton.gov.uk; James.Bollan@west-dunbarton.gov.uk; Jim.Brown@west-dunbarton.gov.uk; Geoffrey.Calvert@west-dunbarton.gov.uk; Gail.Casey@west-dunbarton.gov.uk; firstname.lastname@example.org;email@example.com; Douglas.McAllister@west-dunbarton.gov.uk; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Ronnie.McColl@west-dunbarton.gov.uk; firstname.lastname@example.org; Jim.McElhill@west-dunbarton.gov.uk;Patrick.McGlinchey@west-dunbarton.gov.uk; Craig.McLaughlin@west-dunbarton.gov.uk; William.McLaughlin@west-dunbarton.gov.uk;Marie.McNair@west-dunbarton.gov.uk; John.Millar@west-dunbarton.gov.uk; John.Millar@west-dunbarton.gov.uk; email@example.com; Iain.Robertson@west-dunbarton.gov.uk; Martin.Rooney@west-dunbarton.gov.uk; May.Smillie@west-dunbarton.gov.uk
Relevant background info:
http://modernityblog.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/west-dunbartonshire-council-israel-and-political-posturing/ [see also comments thread]