West Dunbartonshire Council, Israel And Political Posturing.
The West Dunbartonshire Council is boycotting all things Israeli, or so they say:
“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. “
I can’t imagine that aside from medical technology, computer chips, Microsoft’s operating systems and various other bits of modern equipment that West Dunbartonshire Council actually import much from Israel, directly or indirectly.
The Council, readers will remember, is about 20 miles from Glasgow, a small municipality with a population of approximately 90,000 [2009 figures] and relatively poor, with low attainment levels in education.
From their statement, it is clear that West Dunbartonshire Council’s determination to boycott Israeli goods is merely posturing. It is not, as if, they get many tins of Israeli chickpeas or Israeli chicken soup sent to them. Over time they have probably imported, none. Therefore their boycott won’t mean a damn to the local residents or the Council, really, but it is a fine political distraction from the many serious problems in the locality. A bit of political posing.
If they were truly serious then they would stop using all of that sophisticated Israeli medical equipment, computer technology and finally Google, which uses a search algorithm developed by an Israeli.
The Council could stop using all of that computer technology from Intel and Microsoft, all developed with Israeli know-how, but they won’t, because it would be a hindrance to them. West Dunbartonshire Council’s supposed boycott is just a pose, a piece of political theatre as they won’t inconvenience themselves, really, for the sake of their alleged principles.
So they don’t import anything from Israel, haven’t banned anything in two years and basically it means nothing to them, but here is the Council’s statement, make your own mind up:
“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 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 recent 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.
Councillors of West Dunbartonshire Council voted to introduce the boycott in 2009 in response to the disproportionate use of force used against Palestinians and resulting loss of life.
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.’ ” [My emphasis.]
Update 1: Hunting around I found an original minute of the meeting dealing with it, in the Google cache. I am reproducing it, as matter of public record, it is fairly long:
“WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE COUNCIL
Council Offices, Garshake Road, Dumbarton G82 3PU
23 January 2009
MEETING: WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE COUNCIL
WEDNESDAY, 28 JANUARY 2009
Please attend a Meeting of West Dunbartonshire Council to be held in the Council Chambers, Council Offices, Garshake Road, Dumbarton, on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 at 7.00 p.m.
The business is as shown on the attached agenda.
All Members of West Dunbartonshire Council.
Executive Director of Corporate Services
Executive Director of Educational Services
Executive Director of Social Work and Health
Executive Director of Housing, Environmental & Economic Development
For information on the following agenda please contact Craig Stewart, Legal, Administrative and Regulatory Services, Council Offices, Garshake Road, Dumbarton, G82 3PU on Tel: (01389) 737251 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE COUNCIL
WEDNESDAY, 28 JANUARY 2009
2. MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETINGS
Submit for approval as a correct record, the undernoted Minutes of Meetings of West Dunbartonshire Council:-
(a) Ordinary Meeting on 17 December 2008
(b) Requisitioned Meeting on 13 January 2009
3. OPEN FORUM
The Council is asked to consider the undernoted question:-
Rose Harvie, Secretary of Silverton and Overtoun Community Council – Problem of litter and dog mess in Dumbarton
Our community council is very concerned at the problem of litter and dog mess in Dumbarton. The problem of litter is particularly apparent near fast-food outlets and schools. Our councillors frequently see WDC employees doing an excellent job collecting litter. However, despite numerous signs in the streets and parks, none of our councillors can ever recall seeing a Litter Enforcement Officer asking people to pick up dropped litter, not to allow their dogs to deposit mess, or to attempt to hand out a fixed penalty fine, for these offences.
Would the Council tell us whether this situation is because it is cheaper to employ litter pickers than Enforcement Officers?
4. MINUTES OF THE JOINT CONSULTATIVE FORUM
Submit for information, and where necessary ratification, the Minutes of Meeting of the Joint Consultative Forum held on 4 December 2008.
5. MINUTES OF THE AUDIT AND PERFORMANCE REVIEW COMMITTEE
Submit for information, and where necessary ratification, the Minutes of Meeting of the Audit & Performance Review Committee held on 14 January 2009.
6. NATIONAL PAY AWARD – LOCAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
With reference to the Minutes of Meeting of West Dunbartonshire Council held on 17 December 2008, submit report by the Chief Executive seeking the Council’s approval to implement the National Pay Award with effect from 1 April 2009, as recommended by the Employer’s Secretary of the Scottish Joint Council (SJC) for Local Government Employees.
7. STANDING ORDERS – LENGTH AND TIMING OF COUNCIL MEETING
Submit report by the Executive Director of Corporate Services asking the Council to consider the timing and length of Council Meetings and whether to introduce a new Standing Order to deal with the issue.
8. REVIEW OF PARTS 1 AND 2 OF THE STANDING ORDERS
Submit report by the Executive Director of Corporate Services asking the Council to approve changes to parts 1 and 2 of the Standing Orders which relate to the Standing Orders for meetings of Council, Committees and other bodies. A seminar for Members on the proposed options and issues was held on 5 December 2008. This report groups the possible changes under 3 categories being those that received unanimous agreement at the seminar, those that received unanimous disagreement at the seminar and those where there were differing views.
9. REPRESENTATION ON OUTSIDE BODIES
Submit report by the Executive Director of Corporate Services asking that consideration be given to making a nomination to the Scottish Councils Committee on Radioactive Substances.
10. STRATHLEVEN REGENERATION COMPANY
Submit report by the Executive Director of Corporate Services asking the Council to consider a request from Strathleven Regeneration Company that the Leader of West Dunbartonshire Council become a Director of the Company.
11. THE FUTURE OF SCOTTISH DEVOLUTION WITHIN THE UNION
Submit report by the Executive Director of Corporate Services advising of the new consultation issued by the Commission on Scottish Devolution and inviting the Council to agree a formal response.
12. WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE COMMUNITY PLANNING PARTNERSHIP – KEY DEVELOPMENTS
Submit report by the Chief Executive providing the Council with an update on key developments within West Dunbartonshire Community Planning Partnership.
13. VISION FOR THE VALE OF LEVEN HOSPITAL (CONSULTATION DOCUMENT OCTOBER 2008 – JANUARY 2009)
Submit report by the Executive Director of Social Work and Health inviting the Council to consider the draft response, appended to the report, to the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Board’s latest consultation on the Vale of Leven Hospital.
14. CORDALE HOUSING ASSOCIATION – PROPOSED ACQUISITION OF KIPPEN DAIRY SITE
Submit report by the Executive Director of Housing, Environmental and Economic Development informing the Council of a legal offer that has been received from Messrs, T.C. Young, Solicitors, acting on behalf of Cordale Housing Association Limited, to purchase land at Main Street/North Street, Alexandria from West Dunbartonshire Council.
15. PROPOSAL TO ADMIT SIR JACKIE STEWART OBE AS AN HONORARY FREEMAN OF WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE
Submit report by the Chief Executive proposing the admission of Sir Jackie Stewart OBE as an Honorary Freeman of West Dunbartonshire.
16. NOTICES OF MOTION
(A) Motion by Councillor Jim Bollan – Proposed Boycott of Israeli Goods
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.
(B) Motion by Councillor Geoff Calvert – Experian Research on Economic Downturn
This Council notes that the independent research company Experian has identified Clydebank as one of only five Scottish towns that will be affected disproportionately due to the economic downturn.
This Council notes also that the Scottish Government has brought forward £230 million of spend to specifically target the effects of the downturn and to aim to mitigate them. This Council feels that this spend ought to be targeted at the areas where the downturn is expected to have most negative impact.
Therefore, this Council agrees that the Leader of the Council will write to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance to argue the specific justification for a proportion of this funding to be directed to address the results of the Experian research and, in so doing, this Council will project a strong voice for Clydebank. “
Update 2: Engage cover it too.