Author Banks urges boycott of Israel after raid on flotilla

Elizabeth McMeekin

5 Jun 2010

Scottish author Iain Banks has called for a cultural and educational boycott of Israel after its troops boarded an aid flotilla bound for Palestine and killed at least nine people on Monday.

The 56-year-old author, who lives in North Queensferry in Fife, has also asked his agent to turn down any deals with Israeli publishers to translate his books.

Banks spoke about his contempt for Israel’s recent military action in an interview that will be published in The Herald on Monday, arguing that intellectual collective punishment was the next step other countries should take.

He said: “There ought to be a cultural and educational boycott on Israel and it’s time to revisit that idea.

“I called my agent yesterday and said don’t accept any deal from Israeli publishers – it’s just got to that sort of stage where they’re obviously not listening.

“It is a form of collective punishment, but if people won’t be reasonable and listen to anything – UN resolutions or human decency – then unless you turn to violence you have nothing else left.”

Banks is known to have an anti-violence stance, and was part of a group who campaigned to have then prime minister Tony Blair impeached following the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The author continued: “The rationale behind it is – because generally I’d be against such things – in specific cases they can work.

“I think one of the reasons the sporting boycott worked against South Africa is that they love their sports so that really did hurt them. The way to get to Israel is not through sports, it’s through intellectuals.”

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