Scottish council accused of being on verge of Jewish book-burning
West Dunbartonshire Council stands firm against demented Zionist hysteria
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
24 May 2011
On 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
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”.
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
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
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
Which side are you on?
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
24 May 2011
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 below.”
Council refutes media-claims regarding the Israeli boycott
West Dunbartonshire Council utterly refutes recent media claims that it has ‘launched a boycott on Israeli books’.
The Council’s boycott does not in any way seek to censor or silence authors and commentators from Israel.
The Council’s boycott only relates to goods ‘made or grown’ in Israel. The vast majority of mainstream books by Israeli authors are published in the UK and are therefore not affected by this boycott. Only books that were printed in Israel and transported to the UK for distribution would be potentially boycotted.
In the two and a half years the boycott has been in place there has never been a case when the library service has been unable to purchase a book it wished to as a result of this boycott.
Contrary also to some media reports the boycott is not retrospective and absolutely no books have been or will be removed from our library shelves as a consequence of the motion.
West Dunbartonshire Councillors voted to introduce the boycott in 2009.
The full motion is:
‘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.’