One of the first bills to be introduced by Britain’s new Conservative government will reportedly stop “local authorities from boycotting individual companies”, a move described as targeting the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.
The Conservative Party election manifesto did indeed pledge to “ban public bodies from imposing their own direct or indirect boycotts, disinvestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries”, on the grounds that such moves “undermine community cohesion”. Read more
In 2005, a draft, working definition of antisemitism was circulated by the European Union’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). To the dismay of its critics, the document confused genuine antisemitism with criticism of Israel, and was repeatedly, and erroneously, promoted by Israel advocacy groups as the EU definition of antisemitism.
By 2013, the EUMC’s successor body, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), had abandoned the politicised definition as unfit for purpose. Just this week, in response to a motion passed at NUS conference, the FRA explicitly denied having ever adopted the definition. Yet on March 30, Eric Pickles, UK Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust issues and chair of Conservative Friends of Israel, revived the discredited definition by publishing it on the government’s website. Why? Read more
The Conservative Party is fast cementing the British government’s reputation as one of Israel’s strongest allies, even as Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right coalition pursues settlement expansion, land expropriation and nationalist legislation.
While there has long been a disparity between the UK government’s position on international law and action (or lack of it) taken in response to Israeli breaches, under the current government, that gap is only getting wider.
In recent times, the Tories have pursued a foreign policy that opposes modest Palestinian attempts at accountability, and at home, have sought to intimidate and suppress Palestine solidarity activism. Read more