City Council votes to support Israeli prisoner, Mordechai Vanunu
On Thursday 21 February 2008 Glasgow City councillors voted to support
campaigns for the release of Mordechai Vanunu from Israel.
Green Party Councillor Martha Wardrop was due to put forward a lengthy motion praising Vanunu, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison after revealing secrets of Israel’s nuclear capability to the Sunday Times newspaper in 1986.
Vanunu completed his sentence but has since been sentenced to a further six months after breaking an order banning him from speaking to foreign journalists.
Cllr Wardrop’s motion, on the agenda for a full council meeting due to be held yesterday [Thursday] afternoon, called on the council to support campaigns for Vanunu’s release and support him in his role since 2005 as rector of Glasgow University, which is about to come to an end.
Scottish Representative Council president Philip Mendelsohn said: “It was unfortunate that a local authority thought that it was a relevant thing for them to debate what another country has done through its judicial process. It was totally inappropriate.
“There are plenty of other people in jail all over the world for similar offences, yet they don’t make a big issue out of it. It happens only with Israel.”
Stanley Grossman of the Scottish Friends of Israel has either written to or emailed every Glasgow City councillor.
“I have had about half a dozen replies from councillors who said they did not know the full story and that they were going to vote against it. I also had a couple of very nasty replies,” said Mr Grossman.
“This was designed to put Mordechai Vanunu back in the public eye. We believe the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign was behind this.”
However, Michael Napier, chair of SPSC, said its involvement had been “minimal. This is an initiative by the Green Party on the council and has the support of the Labour majority group, so it will go through.
“The wording of the motion is far from that which we would have chosen. I would have chosen a more pro-active role to support the position adopted by students at Glasgow University. They have a tradition of supporting people who stand for human rights,” added Mr Napier.
The JC sought comment from Cllr Wardrop but she did not respond to calls.