The Great Scotch Boycott of 2011

The Great Scotch Counter Boycott of  2011

Willing to make sacrifices for Israel

Scotch & Lobbying the West Dunbartonshire Council
Dear Colleagues and FJMC supporters
Last week I expressed my concern about the Dunbartonshire Council boycott and suggested a similar response. Since then a great deal has occurred. The statement went viral. Commentary Magazine and the Israeli press also picked up this issue. The links are attached.
A number of people wrote directly to the companies involved. Two of their responses follow. In each instance, separate letters (e-mails) were sent to the Dunbartonshire Council expressing concern about their actions. You made a difference.
Your letters are placing pressure on the West Dunbartonshire Council to reconsider their actions. Those of you who wrote to the Council directly and received responses learned the extent of their naivety. Please continue to write to Council members directly and attempt to influence them to revisit their policy. They control =249m million pounds in funds. Please continue to write to the distributors and encourage them to educate and lobby the Council as well. The issue is not about drinking Scotch it is about changing Council policy.
I have been in contact with the leadership of Chivas, Loch Lomond, and Morrison Bowmore in Scotland and the U.S. They are strong supporters of the Jewish community. Their cooperation, forwarding our letters to the Council and directly contacting Council members, continues to be helpful. I would hate to have their good efforts penalized. All three of the originally listed distilleries have expressed their distaste for the actions of the West Dunbartonshire Council and are actively working against this and other boycotts.
I am grateful to our International Kiddush Club www for bringing this matter to our attention. The Kiddush club provides the FJMC with needed funds to send tefillin and mezuzot to developing and needy congregations in Europe, the FSU, Central and Latin America.
Thank you for your support. The letters and links follow:
Rabbi Charles Simon

Letters received by FJMC

Goldberg, Richard (Kirk)
Date:  Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 4:14 PM
\Subject: JTA: Scottish gov't does not advocate Israel boycotts

Scottish gov't does not advocate Israel boycotts</span>
June 24, 2011
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Scotland's government said it does not advocate boycotting Israeli goods.
In response to a query from U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), the British embassy in Washington issued a one-sentence statement: "The Scottish Government does not advocate boycotting Israeli goods."
Kirk, who released the statement Friday, had asked the embassy for a clarification in the wake of a 2009 decision by the council in West Dunbartonshire, a region just west of Glasgow, to boycott Israel.
"I welcome the Scottish Government's decision to disavow the West Dunbartonshire Council's boycott of Israel and urge the First Minister to take further steps to reaffirm the Scottish-Israeli relationship," Kirk said in a statement.
Alex Salmond, the first minister, heads a Scottish government that administers domestic issues, including education and transport. Foreign policy and defense remain the purview of the British government.


Dear Charles:

I've contacted MEP Struan Stevenson (a personal friend and Scottish Conservative Party leader) about this and his staff is asking the EU Human Rights commission to check whether the boycott might be a violation of the EU's charter on the right to free speech/publications.

Your campaign should be assertively applied.

Kol HaKavod Lekha.

(name withheld)

Dear fine distillers,

I usually write my own letters, but after reading the letter below, I thought it would be hard to improve on it, so please consider it as part of my communication.  I am greatly distressed by the West Dunbartonshire Council's action in voting to boycott products made in Israel. First of all, they are wrong about Israel. The problem is not that Israel won't let the Arabs have a state; it is that the Arabs won't let the Jews have a state.  Jameel Rashid goes into this in wonderful detail.  I hope you study his letter.

Boycotts are not appropriate.  Rashid has called for a boycott of your products, because your council has called for a boycott of Israel's products.  I have no doubt that if your sales fell and your employees lost their jobs or you were forced to close you would think that wrong.  I would agree with you. But how can I enjoy whiskey made by your distilleries? Although I am American, not Israeli, I know Israel has been among the most humane nations of any in the world.  Been there, seen that.  I support Israel. If you boycott them, boycott me, too. Don't let me buy your whiskey.

I urge you to insist your elected officials become more educated about what is really happening in Israel and the Palestinian ruled territories, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.  I have no doubt that if they took the time to rely on, unblinded by bigotry, they would revoke this hateful and groundless resolution.  Or I will have to learn to like bourbon.

Best regards,

John (name withheld)

Sent: 02 June 2011 21:13
To: Policy Unit; Business Support; Education Central Registry; Elections;Trading Standards
Subject: Re: Bad Policy - BDS campaign (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions"

Dear Policy Board,

I was truly dismayed to read that the West Dunbartonshire Council in Scotland has decided to participate in the BDS campaign (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions) against Israel has come to my attention Israel. Your position is sadly one-sided, and fails to recognize the targeting of innocent civilians by the Palestinians. The Palestinians have consistently targeted non-combatants by launching over 12,000 rockets at civilian targets (including public schools).  They continue to educate their children to hate Jews. They use children's books that glorify Jihad and martyrdom in their schools.  Hamas is not interested in peace, but they are committed to terrorism and Israel's destruction. In fact, their charter calls for the obliteration of Israel and says, "Kill Jews wherever you find them."  They are a people that take pride in naming their public squares after terrorists.

Open your eyes and stifle your anti-Semitic outlook. The Palestinians strive for the death of Israel and the Jewish People.

(name withheld)

Response from West Dunbartonshire Council

Sent: Friday, June 03, 2011 5:27 AM
To: (name withheld)
Subject: Re: FW: Bad Policy - BDS campaign (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions"

Dear Mr: (name withheld)

Please find attached statement issued by West Dunbartonshire Council:

Over recent days there has been some highly misleading publicity in the national and international press concerning West Dunbartonshire Council's policy on the boycott of Israeli goods. In light of this publicity, the Council has received a number of complaints.

The facts are as follows.

The boycott on the purchase of Israeli goods followed a unanimous decision of West Dunbartonshire Council in January 2009. The boycott was in response to the Israeli state's policy and actions in the Occupied Territories . The boycott was not retrospective and applied only to purchases made from January 2009 onwards. The boycott has not prevented West Dunbartonshire's library service from purchasing any book which it wished to purchase.

Accusations that Israeli books have been removed from the shelves of the West Dunbartonshire's libraries or have been burned are entirely false and appear to be mischievously motivated. There are books by Israeli authors on the shelves of West Dunbartonshire Council's libraries. Attempts to depict this boycott as racist are also entirely inaccurate. The boycott was instigated in response to conduct by the Israeli state and applies to no specific ethnic or religious group. The Council has robust anti-racist and anti-sectarian policies and procedures.

I trust this information is helpful to you.

Natasha Brooks
Customer Relations Officer

Responses from Scotch Distillers


Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd

Dear (name withheld),

We have received your email regarding West Dunbartonshire Council's boycott of Israeli products and your views on this decision. Neither Morrison Bowmore Distillery nor Auchentoshan take any political stance and this policy has been made independently from us and without our consultation.

Auchentoshan has invested significantly in working with its many friends and supporters around the world, including the Jewish community and the Kosher London Beth Din, where we recently certified our Auchentoshan Classic as a Kosher Single Malt Whisky.  As a business we recognise the concerns you have expressed regarding this policy.  We are forwarding your email and separately writing to the West Dunbartonshire Council to ensure it is made fully aware of the potential implications of its policy. As a valued friend of Auchentoshan we would very much appreciate your continued support.

Kind regards,

Head of Brands Marketing
Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd


Chivas Brothers and its sister company, Pernod Ricard USA

Dear Rabbi Simon:

I wanted to thank you on behalf of Chivas Brothers and its sister company, Pernod Ricard USA, since we had not been aware of this issue. Please be assured that the West Dunbartonshire Council does not represent the views of Chivas Brothers and Pernod Ricard USA. Pernod Ricard USA is a long and proud supporter of several leading Jewish causes, including the UJA Federation of New York, which has worked for decades to improve the quality of life for millions of Israelis.

While some Chivas Brothers brands are bottled in Dunbarton, none of its whiskies are distilled in this region and both The Glenlivet and Chivas Regal are bottled at their site in Paisley and not Dunbarton.  Also, Jameson, Paddy and Powers whiskies are produced in Ireland and are not products of Chivas Brothers.

Thanks again for sharing your concerns with us and we hope that this makes it clear that Chivas Brothers is not associated with the views attributed to the West Dunbartonshire Council.  We have passed on your correspondence on this subject to the Council so they are fully aware of the potential implications of their policy. We respectfully ask that you pass on this correspondence to your mailing list, so they understand our position.


Jack Shea
VP, Corporate Communications, Pernod Ricard USA


Loch Lomond Distillers Ltd.

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 9:12 AM
Subject: RE: Please contact the West Dunbartonshire Council

Good day,
Thank you for your interest in our distillery and its products.
We would like to assure you that The West Dunbartonshire Council in Scotland does not represent the views of Loch Lomond Distillery with regard to the decision of West Dunbartonshire Council to participate in the BDS campaign (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions) against Israel, nor were we consulted in any way prior to their decision to participate in the BDS against Israel.
Thank you for sharing your concerns with us and be assured that we have communicated your comments to all of the councilors in question so that they are aware of the potential implications of their policy and the possible impact that it could have on the local economy.
We trust that it is clear that Loch Lomond Distillery is not associated with the views attributed to the West Dunbartonshire Council.
Best regards
Gavin Durnin
Director, Sales & Marketing
Loch Lomond Distillers Ltd.
Lomond Estate
Dunbartonshire G83 0TL

On Sun, Jun 12, 2011 at 5:04 AM, J Moir  wrote:
Greetings from New Zealand,

Support from New Zealand

I understand you are boycotting Scottish whisky to counter the West Dunbartonshire Council's boycot of Israel. I have communicated with that council and despite their obvious ignorance about the Middle East they feel justified in their strong opinions. Unfortunatey they have not stuck to their traditional activities of rubbish collection, dog catching, and lawn mowing, but have entered into international politics on which, by their own admission, they are now experts. From my discussions with them they seem to feel that it is unreasonable for Israel to defend herself and that three major wars for survival since 1947, ongoing terrorist attacks, and denial of Israel's right to exist is insufficient evidence to show Muslims bad intent, and that if Israel gave up militarily important land then the Muslims could be trusted to not attempt to annihilate Israel again in a fourth major war.

I have two requests. Firstly, can you supply a list of entities that boycott Israel and the items they will not buy. I would like to facilitate a counter-boycott in my country, albeit a token gesture.
Secondly, please take whatever Scottish whiskey you have and pour it on the steps of the Scottish embassy, but make sure your first pass it through your kidneys.
John Moir


In the Press,7340,L-4079696,00.html

UK Jews fight Scottish boycott

British Jews initiate campaign to counter West Dunbartonshire anti-Israel boycott; Group wanted to boycott Scottish district, discovered nothing is produced there, campaign leader says

A group of British Jews have decided to fight back a Scottish anti-Israel boycott, inundating the district behind the move with complaint letters and setting up a Facebook page to counter the embargo.Nigel Lawrence, a representative of the Board of Deputies of Anglo Jewry, told Ynetnews of the initiative, which followed reports that Scotland's West Dunbartonshire Council was boycotting all Israeli-made products, including books.

"It infuriates me that Israel is set aside from all other nations," Lawrence said. "I see no reason for this other than anti-Semitism and I am enraged at the ongoing bias against Israel by some UK institutions."

"There are a large number of Jewish people in the UK with a very strong love of Zionism," he said. "The community is, at last, starting to recognize Anti-Zionism for what it is. I am proud to be a part of this growing movement."

Lawrence said he and other Israel fans set up a Facebook Group to boycott all goods and services in West Dunbartonshire in response to the anti-Israel boycott.

"Sadly, no one has found anything made there - not even whiskey," he said.

'Trade will go on as normal'

Lawrence added that during research into the issue, the pro-Israel group discovered that the life expectancy for Gaza Strip men is 71, compared to only 70 in West Dunbartonshire.

"We are thinking of asking Palestinians in Gaza to send an aid flotilla to Dumbarton shire with health tips," he quipped. "We are asking people from Gaza to send a flotilla with Mars bars, batter and cooking oil in solidarity."
Lawrence noted that a letter of complaint over the matter was sent to Scottish Member of European Parliament Catherine Stihler, who dismissed the Scottish boycott call as largely meaningless."A Council isn't able to enforce a ban or make the decision to criminalize trade from a state; this can only come from Westminster," the MEP wrote. "So the decision seems to be councilors boycotting products from Israel which they cannot force upon anyone but themselves; trade will go on as normal."

"The statement of the councilor is not very helpful at a time when we are trying to realize peace in the Middle East," Stihler concluded.

The result!

The West Dunbartonshire Council revoked its policy of boycotting Israel shortly after we began the counter-boycott. Perhaps that came to their senses, or perhaps the whiskey manufacturers prevailed on them to come to the right conclusion?

Regardless, enjoy your scotch!