Boycotting Israelis, Playing The Victim And West Dunbartonshire Council.
West Dunbartonshire Council and the man, that made a critical amendment of the motion to boycott all Israeli goods, has now released a video on the matter.
Why the deputy leader of West Dunbartonshire Council, Councillor Jonathan McColl, decided to make this video is a mystery to me.
I would have thought that Cllr McColl and West Dunbartonshire Council might have learnt the expression, when in a hole stop digging, but alas, no.
I suppose, being charitable, that Cllr McColl wants to get his point across, but from my brief viewing it doesn’t do them any favours.
The tone and content of the video suggest that West Dunbartonshire Council and Cllr McColl didn’t understand or appreciate the sensitivity of the term “boycott” when applied to Israelis or Jews. Moreover, there is an attempt within the video to play the victim, to gain pity and say that people have said terrible things to them.
It is quite possible that members of the public vented their understandable anger at Cllr McColl or West Dunbartonshire Council, presumably the lesson to learn is, don’t go posturing about issues that you barely understand and sensitivities that you couldn’t.
The sight of politicians whining about how people have said nasty things to them, in this instance, is unedifying. They might do well to remember that Israelis and Jews have faced far, far worse things than a bit of name-calling.
I think that they could have spent their time more profitably by reading, thinking and understanding that Europeans posturing about the Middle East is both condescending and decidedly unnecessary, it achieves little and potentially aggravates many.
I would suggest that the councillors of West Dunbartonshire Council make an effort to read up on antisemitism, in depth, and the history of Poland and Germany in the 1920s/1930s in particular. If the libraries in West Dunbartonshire Council don’t have books on the topics I am happy to provide a reading list for said councillors.
“Israeli Goods Boycott
Posted by CllrJMcColl at 9:04 pm, May 30th 2011.
Council Motion & Statements
An official Council statement can be found at http://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/news/corporate-statement-on-the-boycott-of-israeli-goods/
An earlier statement including a copy of the original motion can be found at http://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/news/council-refutes-media-claims-regarding-the-israeli-boycott/
The following is intended to answer a number of questions that have been asked and assertions made in emails etc…
This boycott was not made at the request, suggestion or upon reading a pamphlet from any Anti-Israeli or Pro-Palestinian group.
This boycott was in response to and in support of international media coverage two years ago by the BBC, AP, CNN, SKY, REUTERS which showed Israeli forced murdering innocent women and children and firing rockets at civilian targets.
I have never seen, read or heard any material from Pro-Palestinian or Anti-Israeli groups and I would put little stock in either. I get my information from reputable, recognised sources.
Hamas’ use of hospitals and other civilian buildings (and indeed civilians themselves) as human shields is utterly despicable, but that does not give the Israeli Government the right to kill those unfortunate enough to be used by this terrorist organisation.
West Dunbartonshire Council remains committed to our boycott of Israeli goods and our resolve has only been strengthened by the torrent of vile abuse threats of violence against our families that has come from people who claim to be peace loving people.
This is not an anti-Semitic act.
I don’t care whether you are Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Agnostic or any other such label you might want to give someone. We are all members of the human race and we should all stand together in asking the Israeli Government to think again about their methods.
I agree that the Israel Government has the right and responsibility to defend their people, but I do not agree that this should come at such a high cost. They need to think again.
That assumption on your part says more about you than it does about me. To quote a Jewish woman from Glasgow who telephoned me on this issue,
“We are brought up in a culture of ‘poor wee us’, automatically thinking that the world is against us and perhaps we should take stock of that before we draw conclusions about other people’s motivations.”
The reason the Council discussed this matter was because it was raised by an individual Councillor as a private member’s motion.
You’d have to ask Cllr Jim Bollan what his personal motivations were for bringing this forward, but I do not believe him to be racist. I have never found him to talk down or discriminate against anyone.
It is not normal for issues of International significance to be brought before Council my individual members. Our main function is to govern our small local area and provide Education and Social Care services as well at things like refuse collection and recycling.
We do on occasions hear motions from members of this type, although never before a boycott. For example, the Council has condemned the actions of China, Burmha and various other places and has twice since 2007 been successful in aiding Amnesty Internation to free political prisoners from such countries.
All I ask is that when you read this and other responses you might get from our Councillors, that you look at this issue objectively and try to see this from our point of view.
My Great Grandfather fought in WWII and was awarded the highest decoration an enlisted man can get in the British Army for his bravery on the battlefield in the fight against Hitler’s Nazis and being compared to such evil people is not only extremely hurtful, but the first time I read one of these emails, I was physically sick.
If you are one of the many many people who have been sending vile emails, please…I urge you to take a step back and consider your position from our point of view.
Any further threatening email received will be forwarded to the police.”
Just noticed that Cllr McColl left out the actual minutes of the meeting. Reading them you will notice that he effectively amended the motion to extend the boycott to all councils in Scotland. Some omission.
This is the link to them as a Word document. I have highlighted the parts concerning the boycott of Israeli goods, as a public record.
” WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE COUNCIL
At the Meeting of West Dunbartonshire Council held in the Council Chambers, Garshake Road, Dumbarton on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 at 7.00 p.m.
Present: Provost Denis Agnew and Councillors George Black, James Bollan, Margaret Bootland, Jim Brown, Geoff Calvert, Gail Casey, Jim Finn, William Hendrie, Douglas McAllister, David McBride, Jonathan McColl, Ronnie McColl, Jim McElhill, Patrick McGlinchey, Craig McLaughlin, Willie McLaughlin, Marie McNair, John Millar, Iain Robertson, Martin Rooney and May Smillie.
Attending: David McMillan, Chief Executive; Bill Clark, Executive Director of Social Work and Health; Elaine Melrose, Executive Director of Housing, Environmental and Economic Development; Terry Lanagan, Executive Director of Educational Services; Joyce White, Executive Director of Corporate Services; Tricia O’Neill, Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development; Liz Cochrane, Head of Service, Policy and Performance; William Gibson, Section Head of Estates; Andrew Fraser, Head of Legal, Administrative and Regulatory Services and Craig Stewart, Committee Officer.
Provost Denis Agnew in the Chair
Prior to the meeting commencing, Provost Agnew sought advice from the Head of Legal, Administrative and Regulatory Services concerning the issue of banners/placards being carried by members of the public and on display in the public gallery area and the possible health and safety implications thereto. Having heard the Legal Officer’s advice, Provost Agnew ruled that given the dimensions of the banners/placards that they be allowed in the Chamber.
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.
Councillor Bollan was heard in support of the above motion.
After hearing Councillor J. McColl, Councillor Bollan agreed to accept the undernoted wording as an addendum to his motion:-
That the Chief Executive be instructed to write to all other Councils in Scotland with regard to seeking their endorsement of the motion.
Councillor McGlinchey asked Councillor Bollan to accept a further addendum to his motion. After hearing the Head of Legal, Administrative and Regulatory Services, Provost Agnew ruled that this addendum did not arise directly out of the motion. However he would accept it as a separate motion in light of urgency. Thereafter, Councillor McGlinchey seconded the motion.
The Council unanimously agreed to approve the above motion, as amended.
Councillor McGlinchey, seconded by Councillor Calvert, moved:-
That the Chief Executive be instructed to prepare a letter to be signed by the Leaders of the Council and Opposition to the Director General of the BBC and the Chief Executive of Sky News requesting that they reconsider their decision not to screen the Disasters Emergency Appeal concerning humanitarian aid to Gaza.
The Council unanimously agreed to approve the motion. “
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Update 3: It seems that some of West Dunbartonshire’s councillors are going on the offensive, or at least that how’s it seems here:
“You will recall I posted about some correspondence I had with one of the councillors of Scotland’s West Dunbartonshire Council, which has banned books from Israel. The councillor in question, Lawrence O’Neill, promised to bring up the issue at a council meeting last week, but despite my repeated emails to him asking for an update, I have received no response from him.”