A Scottish politician playing a leading role in an anti-Israel boycott says members of terror group Hamas are “freedom fighters” who are “fighting an illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel.”
Councilor James Bollan’s remarks, contained in email correspondence with Jewish activists, were published by the Cif Watch blog. Bollan, a member of the Scottish Socialist Party, is a councilor in West Dunbartonshire, which has imposed a boycott on all goods produced in Israel, including books.
In an exchange with anti-boycott activist Stephen Franklin following the uproar over the Scottish decision, Bollan had this to say about the Palestinian terror group: “Hamas was elected and are freedom fighters alongside the Palestinians fighting an illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel.”
In another email exchange, with Martin Sugarman, Chair of the Hackney Anglo-Israel Twinning Association, Bollan wrote: “Scots believe in equality and justice…words unknown to Zionists.”
Responding to a Ynetnews inquiry, Bollan confirmed that the statements attributed to him were accurate, and added the following: “One important point I made that strangely was not published along with my comments on the enclosed blog was that Hamas was elected with a bigger majority than the Israeli government.”
Following earlier reports of the West Dunbartonshire boycott, and the uproar over the decision to ban Israeli books as well, regional council Spokesman Malcolm Bennie said: "The municipality will not boycott Israeli books printed in Britain, only books that were printed in Israel.”
At the time, Bennie admitted that Israel is the only country being boycotted by the council, adding that the municipality had no intention of issuing a ban on products originating from Iran, Syria or Libya.