Friday, May 27, 2011

27-May-11: On boycotts and banning books - and the screaming silence of the humanitarians

Burning books in Nazi Germany, 1930's. No connection
whatsoever to the events in Scotland - none at all.
The pro-Israel blogosphere - and practically no one else from what we can see - has been agonizing over reports about a decision by the West Dunbartonshire Council, a regional Scottish local government, to ban Israeli books and other made-in-Israel goods from its realm. Other Scottish cities and local government councils are said to be planning to follow suit. The Marrickville Council in suburban Sydney, Australia, went through the same sort of process but gave it up last month when the price to be paid by its rate-payers for such selective ideological sophistry finally sank in. The Scots, we're confident,  are made of sterner stuff.

Going beyond the boycott itself, many people will find disturbing that the facts - which echo the Nazi book-burnings of eight decades ago - are barely reported in mainstream news channels. And as for a civil response, there is almost total silence on the part of the 'humanitarians' and the 'human rights activists'. Street marches? Outraged protests? The defence of free speech? Hah. Look elsewhere.

Burning hated non-Islamic books in Pakistan, 2000s.
Not connected to the Scottish action; not even remotely similar
The boycott decisions are also strangely selective and unbalanced. Why throw out Israeli books (which is where the West Dunbarton campaign is focused) and not throw out Israeli computer chips or medicines or drip irrigation devices or disks-on-key or software or any of the long list of Israeli innovations that are indispensable in modern society? For aspiring haters of Israel with a thirst for ideological consistency, here is one of many on-line guides to removing everything Israeli from your narrow and ever-darker lives. Warning: it's a long list.

For the rest of us, the councillors of West Dunbartonshire probably see themselves as lovers of truth and justice and we need to help them find their way. They are exposed to a rich diet of Israel-hating polemics from freedom-loving local activists: an illuminating piece headlined "West Dunbartonshire Council stands firm against demented Zionist hysteria" is representative of the genre. Though Glasgow is notoriously the home of Deep Fried Mars Bars and a balanced diet of anything may be aiming too high, we think they need to hear from us.

Otherwise how else will they know how anti-humanitarian, how anti-liberal, how anti-intellectual, how anti-freedom the banning and boycotting of books or anything else is? And how else will they get to hear about a fine piece of writing by the Italian journalist (not Jewish, not Israeli, certainly not Scottish) Giulio Meotti, called "The Scottish disgrace: Abominable Scottish decision to ban Israeli books reminiscent of Shoah era".

Please join us in informing the people on the list below of what a giant step into the dark they have taken for themselves and those they were elected to represent.

Finally, just so that everyone is clear on where we stand when it comes to boycotts... the subject has a long and well documented history. Let no one on the BDS side say they don't know what that heritage is or where it leads.

"Kauft nicht bei Juden". BDS in the 1930s - boycotting, divesting and sanctioning
the businesses and property of a hated minority
. Germany's Nazis showed the way.
This of course has no relevance to the Scottish decision to boycott, divest
and sanction Israeli businesses, property and cultural creations.  

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