Scottish municipality bans Israeli books


(JTA) — A Scottish municipality has banned from its libraries books by Israeli authors and that were printed or published in Israel.

The West Dunbartonshire Council, consisting of towns and villages west of Glasgow, ordered new books by Israeli authors to be banned from the council’s libraries, according to reports.

The ban reportedly was ordered after last year’s raid by Israeli commandoes on a ship attempting to break Israel’s blockade on Gaza that led to the death of nine Turkish nationals. The ban followed a decision made 2 1/2 years ago following the Gaza war to boycott goods produced in Israel. According to that law, the council and all its public bodies are forbidden to sell goods that originated from Israel.

A West Dunbartonshire Council spokesman told the UK Express over the weekend that the boycott is not retrospective and that no books have been removed from libraries.

The council told the Express that 10 other councils had agreed to join the boycott.

The Scottish city Dundee also issued a recommendation to boycott goods produced in Israel, but it was set aside after city legal advisers said it was likely illegal under European Union law. The city instead will distribute posters throughout the city asking its residents not to buy Israeli goods and place a special sticker on products that are made in Israel. 

"A place that boycotts books is not far from a place that burns them," Israel’s ambassador to the U.K., Ron Prosor, told Ynet Tuesday.

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor called the banning of Israeli books and the marking of Israeli products in Scotland "eerily reminiscent of darker times, and perhaps there is a level of hatred that connects them.”

“While those behind the boycott will claim that this is not anti-Semitic, targeting the only Jewish state, a democracy, while ignoring serial human rights-abusing nations tells us that this is indeed anti-Semitic in intent and in effect,” Kantor said in a statement released Tuesday. “This demonstrates how far ‘respectable anti-Semitism’ has come. Clearly it has become acceptable to boycott and discriminate against Jews, as long as there is a thin veneer of anti-Zionism which purportedly covers the hateful act.”

Kantor called on Britain and Scotland to pronounce the boycott illegal. 

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