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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

'Sometimes it's better to lose and be morally right' Fraser Macpherson's reaction to Israel motion defeat‏

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Dundee councillor Fraser Macpherson has said there has been an "outpouring of support" for his attempt to persuade the city council to criticise the Israeli government.
  • By Grant Smith
  • Published in the Courier : 13.06.11
  • Published online : 13.06.11 @ 09.33am
The Liberal Democrat group leader has proposed a motion to be debated at the city council tonight which attacks Israel for its policies towards the Palestinians.
A deputation from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign has asked to address members of the policy and resources committee before they debate the issue.
Mr Macpherson said, "It is interesting, and extremely heartwarming, to note the huge outpouring of support for my actions by local Dundee people.
"On Monday, I will collect a petition in support of my motion to the city council, signed by hundreds of local people. I am very grateful to those who have organised the petition for all their efforts and to everyone who has signed it.
"The people of Dundee have a reputation for fair-mindedness and the city has a proud record of supporting what is right."
The motion has been criticised by the Israeli embassy in London and by the Scottish Friends of Israel. Mr Macpherson has also received messages from people opposed to his stance.
He said, "There's been something of a predictable campaign by these people, who have a few things in common.
"Few — if any — live in Dundee and most writers are in a state of denial about the behaviour of the Israeli government and military over the Gaza blockade."

We fought back and wrote to all Dundee Councillors, Local Papers and politicians to give Israel side of the story, and guess what? They have listen... 
Dundee motion heavily defeated - but MacPherson is defiant‏

Fraser Macpherson's attempt to condemn the Israeli government and liken its treatment of the Palestinians to that of black South Africans under apartheid has been heavily defeated at Dundee City Council.
dundee city council city chambers
The City Chambers.
The Liberal Democrat group leader had asked for support for his motion from around the council chamber, but the SNP and Labour groups joined forces to propose an alternative, less explicitly critical form of words and this was adopted by 24 votes to two.
Fraser Macpherson
Mr Macpherson had raised the issue because he wants the council to boycott Israeli goods and services, but was unable to have that position included in his motion on the advice of the council's legal officers.
He said he had wanted to make the case for ethical procurement and he could not support the "cobbled-together" amendment proposed by Labour and the SNP.
In support of his motion, he said a petition had been gathered with 300 names — an indication, he said, of the concern that many Dundonians felt for "the plight of the Palestinian people."
Mr Macpherson added, "It is sometimes better to lose the vote and do what you consider to be morally right."
Delegations from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity CampaignTayside Justice for Palestine and the People's Charter also spoke in support of the motion, which condemned the Israeli government for "its continuing illegal occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank and the illegal blockade of Gaza."


The SNP's Jimmy Black said the motion was "divisive" and he believed the council should stand up for democracy and human rights, rather than take sides in a dispute.
He added, "Our role is keep unity in the city which we represent."
The statement which was passed says that the city council welcomes and celebrates the diversity of cultures and faiths within its boundaries.
It also "notes with concern the ongoing situation in Israel/Palestine and calls for a just and lasting two-state solution which will bring a just and lasting peace to the region".
"The city council accepts that Israelis have the right to live in peace, but deeply regrets the disproportionate response of the Israeli military against aid convoys and Palestinian protesters which has led to unnecessary suffering, lasting bitterness and international condemnation."
There is also a call for Arab leaders to embrace democracy and states that the Arab Spring could be a defining moment of equal importance to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Finally, it instructs the council's chief executive to write to the UK Government to ask what it is doing to bring about a peaceful solution.

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