The shameful move, of course, invites painful memories of 10 May 1933, a day that lives in infamy as that upon which a Nazi mob in Berlin made a bonfire of some 25,000 works by Jewish authors.
SNP-led Dundee City Council sought to do as its West Dunbartonshire counterpart has, but decided against the move - not because it had a sudden twinge of conscience, but because it heeded legal advice that such a move flouts European Union law.
Says a Labour member of the Scottish Parliament, Ken McIntosh, his party's spokesman for Culture and External Affairs:
"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."Amir Oftek, press attaché at the Israeli Embassy in London, commented:
"This must be the only organisation in the 21st century which is still banning books. Not only does it close down debate but for many Jews and others who wish to contribute to the peace process in the Middle East this is grossly insensitive.
What happened in Europe in the 1930s should be a warning to us all. Where will this end? By burning books again?”I think that's a question for Scotland's First Minister, SNP chief Alex Salmond.
Read more: http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/247880Fury-as-council-launches-boycott-on-Israeli-books#ixzz1N5c7qFa3
Update: See also: http://daphneanson.blogspot.com/2011/05/pro-boycott-snp-councillor-calls-anti.html
When will anyone realise that they are Nationalist and Socialist? It can only end in tears.ReplyDelete
Yes, Felonious - beware the Totalitarian Left.ReplyDelete
ear West Dunbartonshire CouncilReplyDelete
I am writing to you to gain an understanding on your newfound repulsion to books published in Israel as it has left me confused and convinced I must have misunderstood. You have called for a motion to remove all books in your libraries published in Israel?
Have you actually thought this through?
Does this include Druze, Bedouin, Christian, Israeli Arabs, Baha’i, Sudanese Muslims and African refugee authors who are citizens of Israel? Palestinian authors?
Surely you can’t just mean......Jewish authors can you?
Oh this IS what you mean?
We have been here before not too far back in history haven’t we?
This may be a little difficult for you to administer though? I suppose as you may be unfamiliar with obscure Jewish names that you may need to check that the author is indeed Jewish? Do you have the software available to do these checks on “is this author Jewish?”
If not don’t worry too much as I know that the Nazi’s had a most efficient system for checking on the Jewishness of anything and anyone back when “software” merely referred to a man’s impotence. So with the right dedication, it can indeed be done. The Nazi’s did a sterling job of making their country and most of Europe Judenfrei just like you want to make your libraries Judenfrei so you’re in good company and definitely on the right track. One has to start somewhere and a library is as good a place as any.
You could even 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.
What is it about Jewish books that you find offensive? We are talking about an extremely wide spectrum here. There are some major acclaimed “mind expanding” books written by Jews in Israel which you wish to deprive your library members from. Why? On what grounds are you calling for this illegal and racist policy to have your libraries Judenfrei?
I look forward to your explanations behind your planned racist policy and your logistical plan on how you will ensure that West Dumbartonshire will be able to issue a Guarantee of Purity certificate that their library is indeed Judenfrei.
That'll get whatever's under their kilts in a twist!ReplyDelete
In reply to your email below regarding the council’s stance on Israeli produced goods.ReplyDelete
In 2009 the council voted to support the motion ‘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.’
We are aware that the councils stance has recently been misquoted in the press. In relation to your suggestion that this involves the banning of Israeli authors. I would like to make clear that this is certainly not the case. The ban affects only those goods produced in Israel. West Dunbartonshire Council’s boycott does not in any way seek to censor or silence authors and commentators from Israel. Absolutely no books have been removed from our library shelves nor shall they be. The vast majority of mainstream books by Israeli authors are published in the UK and so are not affected by this boycott.
This boycott would only ever apply to books printed in Israel and 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.
Section Head Libraries
West Dunbartonshire Council
From a wise man re their sloppy response....I do think we need to help them clarify their policy here.ReplyDelete
Is it new books printed and published in Israel, or just published in Israel? If a "print-on-demand" book is published in Israel but printed in Fort William, is that OK?
And if a book is published (and printed) in Israel but written by a non-Jew, will that be boycotted?
And what about books published (and printed) in Israel by anti-Zionist Jews? Can we get these a special exemption?
I bet their acquisitions policy is to buy up the works of anti-Zionist Jews living and publishing outside Israel.ReplyDelete
anonymous, cheers for tackling them - well done!!!ReplyDelete
This is the council's contact address (thanks, Shirlee, for suggesting this!):
This is very interesting logic.ReplyDelete
West Dunbartonshire Council states that it plans to ban only books physically produced in Israel - published and printed. But if the book was written in Israel, by an Israeli author sitting in front of a computer with a Hebrew language word processor developed in Israel, in an Israeli study or office (perhaps even in a house in Jaffa or in Haifa inhabited by Arabs sixty three years ago), then it was created (= produced) in Israel even if a particular copy was printed elsewhere.
To take this further, if the book was first edited and prepared for publishing in Israel; if it was initially published and distributed in Israel; if it became, say, a bestseller in Israel and as a result came to the attention of foreign publishing companies who then translated it (perhaps using the services of an Israeli translator in Israel) and published it elsewhere - then the book is surely contaminated at its core by Israeli wickedness.
Even if the particular copy purchased by the West Dunbartonshire Council public library happened to be printed in the UK this is hardly enough that they could be said to be truly boycotting the Jewish state.
In 1968 when the Russians invaded Czechoslovakia, a resident of Prague went in to a Police station and said: "A Swiss soldier just stole a Russian watch from me!".ReplyDelete
The police officer said: "You mean a Russian soldier stole a Swiss watch from you ...".
"You said it, not me", said the citizen.
That about sums it up. From a country whose chief contributions to western civilisation have been whisky and haggis, I really wouldn't expect much more!
Och, Avraham! Ha' ye nae haird o' Rabbie Burns? Dinnae ye realise that the East India Company - and thus the Raj - was largely run by Scots? D'ye lightly brush aside the memory of all the brave Highlanders who fought the Empire's wars? Dinnae ye ken that Canada and New Zealand were largely developed by Scottish men of commerce ... Ha' ye nae haird o' the Scottish Enlightenment - o' Adam Smith, David Hume, et al - who made Edinburgh the "Athens of the North"...ReplyDelete
Ha' ye forgotten sae readily the great gifts to the British body politic bestowed by that bonnie son of the manse Gordon Brown ;~P
I have always considered the SNP a socialist party. They just shortened the name!!ReplyDelete
And I've never had the impression that Alex Salmond is a friend of Israel.ReplyDelete
The library bit on their website says as followsReplyDelete
We run 7 community libraries in West Dunbartonshire.
A free request service is provided for any items not readily available on the shelves.
senior officer library services Richard Aird
Geraldine very good points! Please ask the damn council these questions! Vagueness is opting out! Make them commit to their Judenfreis policy.At least the Nazis were honest about their policies and intentions. None of this fluffy self righteous cra*ReplyDelete
Ha, Nathan! What it fails to add is that certain requests won't be met because the library is complicit in an immoral boycott. I wonder whether it would honour inter-library loan requests for the banned books. Presumably the librarian is deeply ashamed of being party tothe boycott, which militates against the motivations of the profession. If not, he should be.ReplyDelete
If Dundee council got cold feet because of the law these Dumbartonshire turds should be challenged in court and perhaps CILIP could be complained toReplyDelete
From: Raoul Machal [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, 24 May 2011 7:33
Subject: Banning Books in Scotland
Dear Leadership of the SNP,
After hearing that a SNP-led council has taken it upon itself
to ban books of Israeli/Jewish origin, I wanted to ensure your
councillors have ensured they also ban the Bible.
Plenty of Jewish authors in that one. And mostly speaking
of matters that happened back then in Judea.
Have you thought of renaming your organisation to SNDAP?
This would be much more in line with your predecessors in matters
of books deemed unsuitable. Or was that rather the NSDAP?
Not sure now, looks quite similar.
May brains, wisdom and humanity not have fled
the bonny shores of Scotland forever.
I am writing to you in both my capacity as the Council's Elected Spokesperson for Education and Life Long Learning (which includes Libraries) and as Deputy Leader of the Council, in the hope that I can clarify this matter once and for all.
I think that Gill Graham's email was quite clear, but I am happy to add my own clarification.
The Council's boycott, which has been in place for some time, bans the purchase of NEW products that are MADE or grown in Israel.
This makes it clear that any current products that we own which are of Israeli origin will continue to be used.
We are defining the word 'MADE' to literally mean built, produced or in the case of books, 'PRINTED'.
I hope this makes things clearer.
(Cllr Jonathan McColl)
Like so much BDS this is just empty posturing and a 'red herring'. Are there any books at all in West Dunbartonshire libraries that were published in Israel?ReplyDelete
The real question is the general boycott. How much will this cost West Dunbartonshire's (would it be racist to describe them as thrifty?) citizens? If it is anything like Marrickville Council the actual cost will make them laughing stocks.
I feel an F.O.I. coming up! ;-)
Thanks, Nathan, Anon x 2, Raoul, and deegee - great points.ReplyDelete
In view of the advice to Dundee City Council, wonder whether the Glasgow Jewish representative Council has considered mounting a legal challenge to this boycott - on grounds of principle and decency.
Or is the Scottish Jewish leadership full of Casper Milqutoasts like most of their counterparts south of the Border?
C'mon, guys, kindle the Braveheart spirit!
@Raoul brilliant. Yes ban the bible! ha ha.ReplyDelete
Please Daphne, not Braveheart! William Wallace was a cattle thief, a border reiver. And as for Mel Gibson...!ReplyDelete
You're right, Ian - but I could only think of Wallace or John Knox!ReplyDelete
What block-headed semantics from that Cllr McCollReplyDelete
Miranda, head on over to Modernity Blog - McColl's put a couple of comments on over there - he's clearly rattled!ReplyDelete
As a Scottish Jew who has to suffer being governed by this despicable bunch of cowardly socialists and anti-English fruitcakes, this news does not come as a surprise.ReplyDelete
Alex Salmond, Scottish FM and leader of the SNP, publicly supports a boycott of Jewish, erm I mean Israeli, goods and has frequently attacked Israel in Parliament. His SNP group in the EU support the right of Hamas to govern Gaza whilst oppressing the people their through their radical Islamist policies.
The SNP are a disgrace to Scots like myself.
I thought Salmond was "bd news" - and I shudder at the thought of them taking Scotland out of the Union.
I have an update:
Sorry - "bad news"ReplyDelete
Israeli human rights absues are not 'calumnies" they are well documented, well-reserarched and generally veritifed. A logical debate regarding these matter si simpossible if anyone with an opinion differinf from this blog is called racist and sinisterReplyDelete
It is extremely disturbing that an educated person resorts to this hyperbole without critical evaluation, critial judgement and anaylsis
Amnesty Internationa similar bodies have criticized both side n the ME conflict and reguarly put the spotligh on Bura, Sudan and Zimababwe and many other countries...there are too many human rights absues globally to focus on israle alone but as it claims ot be a democracy it should be held to standardsand not be allowed ot flout international law with impunity Israel has strayed far from its founding idelas and is portrayed here as idealized ...no, the world's press is not anti-semitic, out ot get Israle - at least not to the extent that you seem to beleive here
Anna, Amnesty has done sterling work around the globe - I do not deny that.ReplyDelete
But of late it, like certain other NGOs, have concentrated on the misdeeds, real or imagined, of a certain tiny democracy in the ME.
Like the Guardian and the BBC (which like the proverbial curate's egg is good in parts) they have been hijacked by the Left - and while it's not sinister or antisemitic to criticise individual Israeli government policies, over-emphasis on Israel, initiating boycotts against Israel, questioning Israel's very existence, jolly well is.
I make no apologies for supporting the one true democracy in the ME. It's not perfect, but no country is. And it holds open enquiries into allegations of misconduct and punishes the miscreants - that's the strength of its morality in action.
thank you for your support, we are fighting the boycott up here in Scotland and hope to have it overturn some day by constant pressure and through legal means.ReplyDelete
Having read your comments regarding the boycott I have decided to remind myself daily to ensure I adhere to it. You ignore the fact the boycott has been called and supported because Israel embraces violence as the solution to any problem. Not buying produce of Israel is hardly going back to the 1930s and your reference to that time just shows how blinkered you are and also ignores the fact that the pople in Scotland who support this boycott would have also stood against Nazi Germany.ReplyDelete
The Council's letter clearly shows that this claim is just nonsense. It should be withdrawn immediately.ReplyDelete
surely the council can ban anything from terrorist states.ReplyDelete
Yes, I'm sure the council would boycott North Korea or Iran at the drop of a tam o'shanter!Delete
"You ignore the fact the boycott has been called and supported because Israel embraces violence as the solution to any problem."ReplyDelete
Not embraces, but resorts to, Israel has bent over backwards, time and time again, and even in so called truces, the opposition in Gaza has kept up it's attacks, but no, no comments, only your kind who blame "merica and Israel for everything