Boycott leader defends Fogel killers

Councillor Jim Bollan

Councillor Jim Bollan

The councillor behind West Dunbartonshire Council's boycott of Israel has caused fresh controversy this week after suggesting that the murderer of the Fogel family in Itamar was seeking to avenge "Palestinian children slaughtered by the IDF".

Jim Bollan, a Scottish Socialist Party councillor, made the comments in an email to a British pro-Israel activist who had contacted him about the boycott policy.

The email was sent on Sunday, after Amjad Awad, appearing in front of an Israeli court charged with five counts of homicide, said he "would do it all again".

Cllr Bollan was asked whether he had ever thought about the murder victims or questioned his support for the Palestinians.

He replied: "Two of your colleagues have already sent this to me today. Terrible crime. There will be many weeping Palestinian mothers and partners tonight with another unarmed 20 Palestinians brutally murdered by the IDF.

"Violence breeds violence. Have you any idea what may have motivated this man [Awad] to commit this crime? Could it have been because he may have seen Palestinian children slaughtered by the IDF?"

Udi and Ruth Fogel and three of their children were murdered in the West Bank settlement in March. The youngest victim, three month old Hadas, was decapitated.

Responding to another pro-Israel activist, Mr Bollan declared: "Hamas was elected and are freedom fighters alongside the Palestinians fighting an illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel."

Mickey Green of Scottish Friends of Israel said: "I'm not surprised he has sunk to this level. This is a man with pre-conceived ideas and a mental block to reason. He is functioning at a nasty, visceral level.

"My own correspondence with him over the boycott has led me to believe his entrenched position is immutable. There's definitely hatred coming through. My feeling is that he may be acting as a front for the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and using the council as a vehicle."

Stefan Kerner, the director of public affairs at the Zionist Federation, said it was "abhorrent" to support the Itamar killers in any way.

He said: "This is disgusting. How can a three-month-old baby who was sleeping in her cot have anything to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? There is no excuse for Cllr Bollan's comments. He has shown his true colours."

Asked whether he understood the distress that his comments would cause, Cllr Bollan declined to apologise or explain his views.

Two weeks ago the JC revealed that the council was considering banning books by Israelis from its libraries.

    Last updated: 2:19pm, June 10 2011