United Kingdom moves to outlaw boycotts of Israeli products

Published February 15th, 2016 - 09:03 GMT
Government sources said such boycotts "undermined good community relations" with Israel and "fuelled anti-Semitism."  (AFP/File)
Government sources said such boycotts "undermined good community relations" with Israel and "fuelled anti-Semitism." (AFP/File)

A senior British lawmaker will propose a new law this week that would make it illegal for public institutions in the United Kingdom to boycott Israeli products, according to the British media.   

If passed, the legislation would prevent local councils, universities and other publicly-funded organizations in the UK from participating in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which aims to put economic pressure on Israel to end the occupation of the Palestinian Territories. 

In the past, boycotts of Israeli products have "undermined good community relations, poisoned and polarised debate and fueled anti-Semitism," senior government sources in the UK told The Independent in reference to the proposed law. 

The new legislation, which is expected to be announced by British government cabinet office minister Matt Hancock when he visits Israel this week, will allow the UK government to impose penalties on any institution that attempts a political boycott or divestment of an Israeli company, The Independent reported.  

“This Government’s ban would have outlawed council action against apartheid South Africa," said Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn of the legislation. Before his Sept. 2015 election to leader of the party, Corbyn said he was a supporter of boycotting Israeli companies that do business in the occupied Palestinian Territories. 

The UK's new anti-boycott bill, however, reportedly will not differentiate between Israeli businesses in the settlements and those that only operate in 1948 Israel. 


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