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News media have lit a fire under West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) and Dundee City Council (DCC) with allegations of anti-Semitic undertones to the Councils' motions on a boycott of goods and services emanating from (and only from) Israel. WDC and DCC may have track records of responding in similar fashion to humanitarian issues from around the world but they are imperceptible.
No Smoke Without Fire
News media have lit a fire under West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC)and Dundee City Council (DCC) with allegations of anti-Semitic undertones to the Councils' motions on a boycott of goods and services emanating from (and only from) Israel. WDC and DCC may have track records of responding in similar fashion to humanitarian issues from around the world but they are imperceptible.
WDC, in a piece of political posturing, started the ball rolling back in January 2009 with a council motion on Israel which was passed unanimously. Introduced by Scottish Socialist Party councillor Jim Bollan, the motion read as follows:
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.
The council was asked and agreed to inform other Scottish councils of their action but they were rebuffed by almost all. Dundee Council, while giving tacit support, watered down its response due to what it termed "legal concerns."
After the latest reports, protests started flowing in:
"This is not just anti-Israel, it is anti-knowledge. While everybody, including councils have the right to express opinions, this simply smacks of a closed minds and actually shuts down debate. I find the move pretty deplorable. “This reflects not so much on Israel, but on West Dunbartonshire Council".
So numerous and diverse were the complaints that West Dunbartonshire Council was shamed into issuing a denial:
Unfortunately, the denial appeared simultaneously with a claim by Councillor Bollan,
"No censorship of any authors here, only a boycott of all Israeli companies,"
with a photograph of him holding books by Jewish authors Amos Oz and Chaim Potok. Councillor Bollan failed to realize that Chaim Potok is Jewish American and not Israeli. Apparently he conflates Jewish and Israeli. And fellow Councillor Jonthan McColl, the motion's co-sponsor, has indicated the boycott is only a boycott when it doesn't impact on his use of goods and services produced or grown in Israel.
However, even as councillors debate which Jewish authors should be banned, blatantly anti-Semitic publications--Hitler's Mein Kampf and Protocols of the Elders of Zion--are freely available or purchased on request at WDC http://www.scottishfriendsofisrael.org/West%20Dunbartonshire%20Council.htmllibraries.
The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Scottish Friends of Israel.
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