Op-Ed: EXCLUSIVE: Israel Vanishing from Scotland Libraries
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly...
One of Scotland’s councils has just implemented a boycott of Israel after comparing the country to apartheid South Africa.
The Clackmannanshire Council declared it would resist all economic and political support for Israel in order to “end suffering in Palestine”. In Scotland, once known as the only European country which has no history of state persecution of Jews, a region is officially dedicated to the eradication of the Jewish State as a malevolent, “settler” and foreign entity.
Last year the Scottish University of Dundee banned water from Eden Springs on the campus, because - it claimed - “it steals water from the Salukia spring in the occupied Syrian Golan, where it is bottled in the illegal Israeli settlement of Katzrin”.
Another Scottish provincial council near Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire, in 2011 probibited the purchase of English translations of Israeli books and the distribution of these books in public libraries throughout the council's jurisdiction.
One's memory went back to the German spring of 1933, when students, professors and librarians worked on a list of “degenerate” Jewish books. The list included Stefan Zweig, Erich Maria Remarque, Thomas Mann and Heinrich Heine. In the largest event outside Berlin, 18,000 Jewish books were destroyed
It is two years since the Dunbartonshire Council prohibition made the headlines. What is the current status of Israeli books in the Scottish libraries?
The Dunbartonshire decision marks the first time that a region in Europe has been cleansed of the presence of Israeli books. It does not matter what ideas are contained in these books, it is the bare fact of their origin which is enough for them to be banned. It seems that the shocking announcement worked.
In the library’s catalogue, David Grossman appears with just two titles, bought before the banning edict; Amos Oz is present with two and Abraham Yehoshua with one, as are Nobel Laureate Shai Agnon and Yoram Kaniuk.
There are no entries at all for Batya Gur, Dorit Rabinyan, Sami Michael, Naomi Ragen (a U.S. born writer who lives in Israel), Yehuda Amichai, Orly Castel-Bloom, Dan Pagis, Emil Habibi and Michal Govrin.
No results for any Israeli academic who published books after 2011 or pro-Israel booklets like those of Alan Dershowitz.
No entry for Meir Shalev, who published many novels in english.
In the two years after the ban-the-books decision, the Scottish council did not purchase any book written by Israeli authors, but welcomed into its shelves anti-Semitic publications such as “Mornings in Jenin” by Susan Abulhawa, Ilan Pappe's “The Forgotten Palestinians”, Sari Nusseibeh's “What is a Palestinian State Worth” and a pamphlet titled “The Case for Sanctions against Israel”, a kind of guide to the BDS movement.
The latest books A.B. Yehoshua's “Friendly fire” or Aharon Appelfeld's “Until the Dawn’s Light” were not considered for acquisition, but the Scottish libraries recently bought a copy of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, the infamous and false anti-Semitic pamphlet which still appears in the libraries' catalogue in the Victor Marsden's translation at shelf number “3058924” (to understand the severe implications of this decision, in Italy's public libraries the last editions of the “Protocols” are from 1938).
In August 2012, the Conference of European Rabbis appealed to Apple Inc to stop selling the Arabic-language version of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" which was being sold via iTunes. Yuli Edelstein, then Israel's Minister of Public Information and Diaspora Affairs, supported the appeal.
They might be interested to know that the book because of which thousands of Jews were killed in Europe, used by Hitler as a manual in his war to exterminate the Jews and found in Palestinian suicide bombers' pockets, can be easily ordered in a Europe's public library. See under the "adult non fiction" section.
This is how the boycott of Israel works: a silent cutting off the Israeli cultural transmission from generation to generation. In a symbolic pogrom, a language, a nation, an entire body of literature have been eviscerated from a Scottish region's libraries, while the most lethal Judeophobic forgery appears again in Europe's cultural archives like during Herr Goebbels' time.
A northern European region succeded where Iran's Ahmadinejad failed: Israel is disappearing from people’s eyes and imagination.