Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Scottish Friends of Israel object to motion proposed by city councillor Fraser Macpherson
We at the Scottish Friends of Israel have spoken out in advance of a debate expected at the city council's policy and resources committee on Monday on a motion by Liberal Democrat group leader Fraser Macpherson.
A pro-Israel campaign group have accused a Dundee councillor of using "historically inaccurate and distorted" arguments to propose a motion that criticises the country's government.
The Scottish Friends of Israel have spoken out in advance of a debate expected at the city council's policy and resources committee on Monday on a motion by Liberal Democrat group leader Fraser Macpherson.
He is asking councillors to condemn the Israeli government for its "illegal occupation of east Jerusalemand the West Bank and illegal blockade of Gaza."
The motion also likens the treatment of the Palestinians to that of non-whites in South Africa under apartheid.
Stanley Grossman, honorary secretary of the Scottish Friends of Israel, said he has sent a memorandum to councillors outlining its opposition to the motion.
He said, "The motion, being presented by Councillor Macpherson on behalf of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), is part of a wider undertaking which that campaign promotes to delegitimise Israel's standing and promote boycott of Israel goods and services.
"The arguments they adduce are historically inaccurate and distorted."
On Gaza, he said the Israeli withdrawal in 2005 had resulted in "thousands of rockets" being fired into Israeli territory.
The attempts to bring in aid by ship — which included a Dundee activist aboard a vessel attacked by Israeli commandos — have been blocked to date.
Mr Grossman said, "The provocative flotillas claiming to bring aid by sea to Gaza are rather publicity-seeking ventures aimed at discrediting Israel.
"The Arab-Israel dispute is not black and white. The prize of peace and justice remains hard to gain and Arabs and Israelis need support in its achievement.
"It is to be hoped that due consideration will prompt Dundee City Council to reject this destructive motion, and thus join the majority of Scottish councils also lobbied by the SPSC."
Mr Macpherson said, "I have raised this issue in light of my concerns over the continuing plight of the Palestinian people and of the humanitarian situation caused by Israel's continuing blockade of the Gaza Strip.
"The Gaza blockade by Israel has brought terrible hardship to Gaza's one and a half million citizens. I agree with the International Committee of the Red Cross which has made clear that Israel is in violation of its obligations under international humanitarian law," he went on.
"There has been a huge level of concern shown by people across the world about the plight of the people of Gaza, and I would draw Mr Grossman's attention to the concerns raised by respected organisations such as the Red Cross and Oxfam.
"I have raised this matter as it is important that Dundee City Council, as with other local authorities, has an ethical procurement policy.
"It is very clear from feedback from many constituents that they too are concerned for the plight of the people of Gaza and it is to be hoped that, with international pressure, Israel will lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip."
Location: Scotland, United Kingdom