Scottish anti-Israel forces defeated in Dundee Council

The resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict adopted by Dundee Council in Scotland was not perfect, but as the most egregiously biased anti-Israel language was excised from the final bill, and included language which firmly and unequivocally distanced themselves from West Dunbartonshire’s boycott of Israeli goods, it represents a victory nonetheless. 

Here’s the original language, proposed by council member Fraser Macpherson and his friends at Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign:

“Dundee City Council, proud of its historic links with the people of Palestine and the past support it has given to the oppressed inhabitants of the region, condemns the Government of Israel for its continuing illegal occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank and the illegal blockade of Gaza. The Council recognises that Apartheid was not acceptable in South Africa and it is not acceptable in Palestine. The Council furthermore notes the Government of Israel’s continuing disregard of successive UN Resolutions and its continuing failure to comply with the requirements of the Geneva Conventions in regard to its treatment of Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories.”

Here’s the resolution text from the official statement: 

“DUNDEE City Council has agreed to note with concern the ongoing situation in Israel/Palestine and is calling for a just and lasting two-state solution which will bring peace to the region

The council agreed to instruct the chief executive to write to Her Majesty’s Government raising the ongoing concerns of members and asking that the Government respond outlining the actions it is taking with regard to finding a peaceful solution.

At its meeting last night (MONDAY) the council passed an amendment welcoming and celebrating the diversity of cultures and faiths within its boundaries; believing that respect for human rights is fundamental to peaceful co-existence in any society; and noted with sorrow the continuing violence in Israel and in the Palestinian territories.

The city council commended the efforts made by President Obama and others to promote a just peace in the region and called on the UK Government to show leadership, as well as appealing to all sides to show restraint and to find a way of living together in peace and prosperity.

It was accepted that Israelis have the right to live in peace but the council deeply regrets the disproportionate response of the Israeli military against aid convoys and Palestinian protestors which has led to unnecessary suffering, lasting bitterness and international condemnation.

Dundee City Council also recognised the courage of those struggling for democracy in many Arab nations, condemned violence and oppression by dictatorial governments anywhere, believing that the “Arab Spring” could be a defining event of equal importance to the fall of the Berlin Wall and called on the leaders of the Arab world to embrace democracy, not to fear it.

It should be noted that there has never been a ban on buying or lending books by Israeli authors in libraries in Dundee.  Dundee City Council does not boycott any goods or services from Israel. 

While the resolution is clearly flawed, it does clearly represent a defeat for the anti-Israel forces – particularly the SPSC – behind the original motion.  The fact that they saw the need to note that Dundee doesn’t boycott goods or services from Israel suggests a strong desire to distance themselves from West Dunbartonshire’s boycott.

Any way you parse it, Fraser Macpherson and his ideological allies at SPSC lost, and we can now focus our energies on battling Jim Bollan and his extremist anti-Israel allies at West Dunbartonshire.

11 replies »

  1. I’m just wondering how many Israeli local councils waste their time passing self-righteous resolutions on Scotland?

    • It’s not a waste of time. See, the territories and Israel were going to continue in a state of hostility for several decades, but now that they know that Dundee City Council disapproves of that, they’re going to find a solution quickly and become the best of friends.

    • GT – I can assure you that the answer to that question is – none. If they did, the locals would be up in arms.
      My council has been very busy lately improving the local bus service, re-surfacing footpaths, building walkways so that people can enjoy exercise without having to walk near passing traffic and developing the local tourism infrastructure, among other things.
      I think that’s the definition of local government: it deals with local issues.

  2. I don’t know if any councillors have visited this site but in case they have, and in case they return, I would like to point out that, in common with WDC, they have used the word ‘disproportionate’, seemingly without checking its meaning in both military and international law.

    I am pleased to note that the recommendation to boycott was overturned, but I think so much could be cleared up if only councils stopped using media sources and media terms in their resolutions – terms that are designed to be emotive and misleading – without first fully understanding them.

  3. Whatever the futility of a Scottish council passing a policy on a foreign issue, it is a useful exercise in demonstrating the difference between criticising Israel in a manner similar to other countries (even if you disagree with that criticism); and demonisation.

  4. The originial proposition noted in this article is quite dumbfounding.
    Someone needs to educate Cllr MacPhearson quick-sharp.

    Why do these people keep putting this nonsense out into the public domain and risking their reputations? Are they too lazy to do their own research or are they simply disingenuous?

    The public are so disenchanted with politicians telling them what ain’t so. You’d think they’d have learned by now.

    • Penny, if you don’t KNOW that you don’t know, you don’t realise that you ARE risking your reputation.

      Remember that these are hardly intellectuals who are used to weighing up the information they are presented with.

      Remember too that the SPSC and the other anti-Israel organisations depend upon such people not being well-educated, or their being anti-Jewish, or simply gullible or suggestible and particularly prone to the fascination which appeals to emotion can spark (and these are things the PSC and Islamist organisations are particularly good at); if any of these are present then the people don’t care whether arguments are based on emotional reasoning or verifiable fact and are easy to dupe.

      I have written elsewhere that such hyped up hatred is like a drug to certain people. It might simply be a case of the councillors gobbling up the equivalent of a “fix” to lift the boredom of their humdrum lives, without their having the faintest idea of the consequences of doing that. If that is the case, then they must have got the shock of their lives at the reaction.

  5. I am so relieved that this was so watered down. 30 years ago half the Jews in Scotland lived in Dundee. Now there are almost none. That’s what flying Palestinian flags over City Hall does. It frightens ordinary Scottish Jews. And where have they gone? Out of Scotland entirely.