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Boycott, what Boycott?

On December 19, 2013 the Scottish local council, Highland Regional Council, was asked by a Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) affiliated councillor to consider a motion to implement a boycott of Israel. The motion was presented in the following terms;

“Highland Council condemns the Government of Israel for its continuing illegal occupation of Palestine’s East Jerusalem and the West Bank and for its continuing illegal blockade of Gaza.
Highland Council welcomes the decision of the United Nations on 29 November 2012 to grant ‘non-member observer State’ to Palestine.
However, for the people of Palestine, the suffering of the last 64 years continues as the Government of Israel continues to ignore and breach international law.
Just as individual sanctions against apartheid in South Africa led ultimately to its demise there, so individual and collective sanctions against the State of Israel will end apartheid and suffering in Palestine.
Highland Council therefore resolves to resist, insofar as legislative considerations permit, any action that gives political or economic support to the State of Israel”.

The mover, Councillor Donnie Kerr, specifically called for support "to ensure that Highland Council does not engage in activities or enter into contracts that give support to Israel’s illegal occupation and violations of international law". He didn't get it!

Only 14 councillors supported his "Boycott Israel" call. The rest (66 out of 80 councillors), some of whom showed a more than reasonable grasp of the historic and current situation in Israel, either chopped up his motion until it was almost meaningless, voted against it, ignored it completely or walked out in disgust.

In the end, a severely amended motion (only the first two paragraphs survived the cut) was passed with support of 21 councillors (only 1 in 4).

In refusing to become a pawn in the extremist machinations of SPSC, Highland Regional Council has shown an educated and professional response to boycotts, especially one with more than a whiff of racism. A precept other councils, who will surely be similarly challenged, would do well to follow.

A webcam recording of the Council meeting (Dec 19), the relevant subject of a boycott of Israel beginning at 00.35 minutes in, can be seen at;

The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Scottish Friends of Israel.

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