"During the Israeli mass killings of Operation Cast Lead, West Dunbartonshire Council passed a motion to support the appeal from Palestinian civil society for a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel, and institutions supporting that state, until Israel respects all its obligations under international law.   All Israeli companies fall within the scope of BDS.  Individual Israelis do not.  That is why Israeli publishing companies are included in the boycott.  West Dunbartonshire Council's statement can be read here."

'Israeli authors on library shelves, but a Council boycott of Israeli companies', says Cllr. Jim BollanOn Friday 21 May 2011 Marcus Dysch wrote in the Jewish Chronicle that "Books by Israeli authors could be removed from Scottish libraries" as part of an elected Scottish Council's BDS campaign. Dysch claimed "the ban is enforceable in libraries run by West Dunbartonshire Council" and referred to un-named "Israel supporters" who claimed that this ban "aligned the council with Iran and Saudi Arabia".

The following day, the Scottish Daily Express claimed that West Dunbartonshire Council is "launching a boycott of Israeli books" and favourably quoted the Israeli Embassy's Amir Oftek, who compared the Council to Joseph Goebbels burning books by Jewish authors.

Under the heading "Scottish Council Launches Ban on Israeli Books", one Israeli website called for an email campaign against "the latest sick chapter in the BDS campaign".  The Jerusalem Post told Israeli readers three days later that the censorship wave had spread across the whole of Scotland, in an article headlined, "Israeli book ban may be imposed in Scottish libraries". 

Not to be left behind in the frenzy, the Israeli YNet News Service claimed that even Scottish bookshops were being subject to the censorship, since "several districts in southwest Scotland expands boycott on Israeli products, bar stores from carrying English translations of Israeli books"(sic).  Israeli Ambassador Prosor expressed official Israeli fears that the cultural level in Scotland, a country which has had relatively high levels of literacy since the Protestant Reformation, was such that a wave of book burning could erupt: "A place that boycotts books isn't far from a place that burns them".

A day earlier Jeffrey Goldberg had shared with the 400,000 readers of The Atlantic (aimed at 'thought leaders') his assessment that he detected "in Scotland, a hint of Goebbels".  The claims only became more and more bizarre, when the World Jewish Congress tapped into dark Jewish memories by claiming that the City Council of Scotland's third largest city, Dundee, planned to "place a special sticker on products that are made in Israel".  Building on this, European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor condemned Israeli products being "distinctively marked in Scotland. These acts are eerily reminiscent of darker times and perhaps there is a level of hatred that connects them".

In case of rising support for Palestine, break glass and shout 'anti-Semitism!'...After such cranking up of the Nazi theme by propagandists for Israel, came the insane emails, such as the one suggesting the Council might want to "appoint a guard to patrol around the library and his snarling trained Alsatian to sniff out any Jewish books written in Israel which may have slipped through the net and polluted the glorious and proud shelves of the Judenfrei library in West Dumbartonshire."

The only problem with the hysteria is that the entire story was a fabrication from start to finish – from the West Dunbartonshire Libraries' ban on authors to the Scottish-wide censoring of bookshops, to Dundee City Council's plan to put special stickers on Israeli products.  It was a complete invention, whose aim was simply to distract attention away from Israel's ongoing crimes in Palestine and to smear and intimidate those decent men and women who voted to support Palestine against the Israeli crimes.

During the Israeli mass killings of Operation Cast Lead, West Dunbartonshire Council passed a motion to support the appeal from Palestinian civil society for a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel, and institutions supporting that state, until Israel respects all its obligations under international law.   All Israeli companies fall within the scope of BDS.  Individual Israelis do not.  That is why Israeli publishing companies are included in the boycott.  West Dunbartonshire Council's statement can be read here.

The hysteria ratcheted up with each new invention was phoney.  A pity none of the 'journalists' took the trouble to check the catalogue of the well-run libraries of West Dunbartonshire to see the range of books by Israeli authors on the shelves.

...no matter how ridiculous it seems to sane people.Israeli Ambassador Prosor knows a thing or two about book burning.  He still defends the bombing and burning of the library of the Al Aqsa University in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, as do Israeli authors such as Amos Oz, whose books will sit unmolested on the library shelves in West Dunbartonshire.

The barbarians are accusing those who take a stand for human rights of censorship. Those whom the UN's Goldstone Report accuses of war crimes and crimes against humanity are lashing out at those who stand up to power and defend justice.

Which side are you on?

Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
24 May 2011

E-mail West Dunbartonshire Councillors to express your support:

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OPEN LETTER

24 May 2011

"We applaud West Dunbartonshire Council's principled decision, taken during the Israeli massacres of Operation Cast Lead, to support the Palestinian appeal for BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions).

Attempts to portray this position as a 'boycott of Israeli books' fits with well-tried Israeli Government campaigning to re-focus discussion away from Israel's actions.  Books by UK-published Israeli authors are in no danger of being removed from the library shelves of West Dunbartonshire; forced removal from their homes, however, is a constant peril for many Palestinians as part of Israel's racist policy of dispossession of the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian boycott includes Israel institutions linked to the state as well as Israeli companies.  Publishing companies are not exempt and are already being boycotted around the world, including Scotland.  Iain Banks also responded ethically to Operation Cast Lead:

"I've told my agent to turn down any further book translation deals with Israeli publishers. I would urge all writers, artists and others in the creative arts, as well as those academics engaging in joint educational projects with Israeli institutions, to consider doing everything they can to convince Israel of its moral degradation and ethical isolation, preferably by simply having nothing more to do with this outlaw state."

We reject the Israeli Embassy's sinister attempts to conflate active opposition to Israeli crimes with hostility to Jews.  We concur with Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond that the Scottish Jewish Community should not "be judged or affected by the policies of Israel.  The Jewish community is not liable for those policies.  It is possible to be critical of Israel without being anti-Semitic."

If Israel wants to end the growing campaign of BDS it should end its military occupation and settlement building, cease bulldozing Palestinian homes and end its practice of throwing families onto the street to reduce the Palestinian Arab population, and respect its other obligations under international law.

We urge councils world-wide to follow the example of West Dunbartonshire in Scotland, and a growing number elsewhere, and discuss how to respond positively to the appeal from the Palestinian people for solidarity, above all in the form of a commitment to BDS."

Signed:
Omar Barghouti, author of Boycott, Divestment Sanctions: the Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights
Lenni Brenner, author of Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, etc.
Jimmy Powdrell Campbell, The Scottish Crown Jewels and the Ministers Wife, etc.
Neil Davidson, author of The Origins of Scottish Nationhood, etc.
Raymond Deane, composer and author of Death of a Medium
Naomi Foyle, author of The Night Pavilion, etc.
Anthony Glavin, author of Nighthawk Ally, etc.
Shir Hever, author of The Political Economy of Israel's Occupation, etc.
Ronnie Kasrils, former Minister in South African Government and author of Armed and Dangerous; My Undercover Struggle against Apartheid.
Moshe Machover, author of A Course in Mathematical Logic
Mike Marqusee, author of Redemption Song: Muhammad Ali and the Spirit of the Sixties, etc.
China Mieville, author of Perdido Street Station, etc.
Hilary Rose, author of Alas, Poor Darwin, etc.
Seni Seneviratne, author of Wild Cinnamon and Winter Skin
Stanley Walinets, author of 100 Years of Mickleton, etc.
Rich Wiles, author of Behind the Wall
Marion Woolfson, Hon. President, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, author of Prophets in Babylon: Jews in the Arab World

Prof. Haider Eid, Gaza
Mick Napier, Chair, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Boycott From Within - Palestinians, Jews, citizens of Israel, supporting the Palestinian call for a BDS campaign against Israel
J-BIG (Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods)

Add your name to the open letter:

{petition id="applaud_westdunbartonshire_council" fields="country, note"}

 

Fullname Country Note
Carole Milligan Scotland  
Peter Libman United Kingdom  
Terry Couchman England, UK I with you all. Bullies must never prosper.
Ruby McCann Scotland  
subhan choudry    
Wendy Klein UK  
richie krueger england West Dunbartonshire Council is a beacon of inspiration - respect.
tomas crowley ireland  
Jacqueline Harkins Scotland  
Hugh Dunkerley U.K.  
Prof. John A Smith England  
Adam Hillcoat Scotland  
robert harkins scotland  
Caroline Day UK  
Safiya O'Donnell UK  
Barry Strain ireland  
Luke Robertson Scotland  
Emma Eaton United Kingdom  
Thomas O'Neill Scotland West Dunbartonshire Council Tax payer
Ian MacDonald Scotland  
Ruth Anne O'Neill Scotland  
Fiona Napier Scotland, UK It is easier to claim anti-semitism than it is to justify Israel's actions, but that simply isn't working anymore. Important that we continue to challenge it.
Blake Alcott England good on you, keep it up
Marc O'Neill Scotland  
munibah ghani scotland  
Jimmy Powdrell Campbell Scotland Author of The Scottish Crown Jewels and the Minister's Wife, A Most Curious Murder - Re-writing the Madeleine Smith Story.  Subject matter: liars, manipulators, a vicious psychopath who presents himself as a victim... ring any bells?
Ginny Gordan Australia When they have no choice but to resort to lies it's an admission that they have no valid argument against the BDS.
Sami Moukaddem Ireland/Lebanon We're just asking for human rights and equality, should beat any counter-argument.
Kevin Squires Ireland Journalist and National Coordinator of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Colm Breathnach Scotland  
Elizabeth Stitt Scotland  
martin connell scotland  
Shakeel Ali United Kingdom I applaud West Bumbartonshire courage and resilience in standing for truth and justice
Catriona MacDonald Scotland  
Jimmy Hughes UK  
Fred Johnston Ireland I am not generally in favour of banning books or any form of art. In this case, however, some sort of cultural stand has to be taken.
Michael O'Hagan France  
natasha lewis united kingdom LONDON BDS
Mike Orr lebanon university lecturer - this boycott is non-violent, shows solidarity and judging by the press reports, effective
Brian Hicks United Kingdom  
Ofer Neiman Israel Israeli citizen
Hasan Mallick United Kingdom  
marlyn Tweedie britain Ethnic cleansing is a crime no matter who perpetrates it. The previous crimes against Jews by Nazis should prevent the present crimes of Israel. After all there were no palestinians murdering jews in the concentration camps!
costa bas Canada Thank you for standing up for human rights
Catriona McGeough Scotland  
stuart mcleod scotland  
Mary Beaman United Kingdom  
Ken Ross Scotland  
Diane Langford England  
Kevin Barretto Scotland  
Munawar Akbar Scotland  
Susan Murphy England, UK Recognising that Israel flouts human rights and international humanitarian law is not anti-semitic !
Colin Finlay UK Keep on going
Lois Johanna Paasche Norway  
Rab Paterson Scotland  
Malcolm Minino België Founder of 'CADIP' (Campaign for Democracy in Palestine). Via 'Internet Explorer' search: cadipfund.org
Ghassan Hemsi Scotland  
abeer bou diab lebanon we support you
Frank Brogan United Kingdom  
Shadi Abu-Ayyash Palestine  
Karen Wade Scotland  
ahmad dirki lebanon i support you
China Miéville UK author
Michael Carr UK  
shabina raja uk  
Dave Lordan Ireland  
Clare Neilson Scotland  
Pamela Morris Scotland  
george gunn scotland  
Dr Gillian Piggott England Academic and author. Thank you for standing up to what is obviously a desperate, irascible and tottering regime.
omair ulhaq scotland  
gail Berwick Scotland  
Stanley Walinets   Author
Joe Donnelly UK  
Anthony Glavin Ireland author of One for Sorrow; Nighthawk Alley & The Draughtsman and The Unicorn
Catriona Spaven-Donn Scotland  
Hugh Barton England  
Dr Khadiga Safwat   Academic and member of Oxford Friends of Gaza
norhafiza ibrahim UK all for peace
Chris Dorling UK  
Suzanne Holleran UK  
Moshé Machoover UK  
Mike Marqusee UK  
John Airs UK  
matthew harding uk  
Andy Gardner Scotland In 2010 The "Rachel Corrie" set sail for Gaza from Eire with among other things, a load of paper from the people of Norway. This was one of the materials denied to Gaza under the pretense that it would enable terrorist attacks on Israel.
Fintan Lane Ireland Author and historian
Yael Kahn   Thanks for standing up against Israeli war crimes and for justice for the Palestinians
haq ghani    
Andy Lythgoe Scotland An excellent initiative. Stand up to the Israeli State sponsored propoganda.
Raymond Deane Ireland Author and composer
Terry Gallogly U.K. West Dumbarton council can be proud of its stand against apartheid
Hilary Rose England West Barton Council is making a strong ethical stance. Well doe
Tom Vowler UK  
Christina Robertson United Kingdom  
Haidar Eid Palestine-Gaza  
Alison Lawson Syria  
Mona Baker UK  
Mick Macfarlane Scotland Boycott ALL Israeli products. Put an end to this apartheid regime
John Blair-Fish Scotland  
Maria Quinn United Kingdom  
Ingrid B Mørk Norway freedom and dignity for all Palestinians..
Michael Start Scotland  
Les Levidow UK Boycott Israeli apartheid!
Francesca Viceconti UK  

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