Dundee waters down Lib Dem 'apartheid Israel' resolution

By Jessica Elgot, June 16, 2011
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Israeli press attache Amir Ofek with books for council

Israeli press attache Amir Ofek with books for council

Councillors in Dundee have rejected a Liberal Democrat resolution which compared Israel to apartheid South Africa.

Labour and Scottish National Party councillors voted for a watered-down amendment instead of the forthright condemnation proposed by Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Fraser Macpherson at Monday's meeting of the council's policy and resources committee.

It agreed to "note with concern the ongoing situation" and called for "a just and lasting two-state solution". The amended motion praised President Barack Obama's attempts to promote peace in the region.

Members of Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign addressed the meeting, at the invitation of Cllr Macpherson, who also presented a petition to the city council in favour of the original motion, signed by Dundee residents.

The original motion compared the Palestinian territories to apartheid South Africa.

Cllr Macpherson commented: "Although my motion was defeated at committee, it was right to raise it and highlight the need for local authorities to adopt an ethical procurement policy. It is sometimes better to lose the vote and do what you consider to be morally right."

Meanwhile the Israeli embassy in London has weighed in with a collection of books intended for the West Dunbartonshire libraries. Press attache Amir Ofek said the books, sent up to Scotland on Wednesday, including the Bible, covered a wide range of subjects. He said: "Only through reading books can the explicit ignorance about the region be overcome. Banning books cannot be a policy in the 21st century."

    Last updated: 1:16pm, June 16 2011