The UK government is planning to outlaw the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement according to Robert Jenrick MP.
Jenrick, who is a former minister in Johnson’s government, made the comments at the Leadership Dialogue Institute’s 2021 online conference on the pandemic, anti-Semitism, and Israeli technology.
LDI is a private diplomatic think-tank between Australia, Israel and the UK with the aim of fostering closer ties between the three countries.
During a conversation titled “Why Do So Many People Hate Jews?,” moderated by former Labour Party MP Joan Ryan and featuring Likud MK Avi Dichter, Jenrick stated that “In the following months, we will be working to outlaw BDS in the UK.”
“I do think BDS is being beaten back here,” the Conservative MP said.
“There is no political party in the UK that would support BDS today and [supporting BDS] is becoming much more of a fringe activity,” he added.
The first comment from Jenrick regarding passing anti-BDS laws would be welcome as so much hatred towards Israel, and sadly anti-Semitic attitudes towards Jews in Britain stems from the lies spread by the BDS movement.
On his second point about political parties not supporting BDS, we are not entirely sure this is true. Under Jeremy Corbyn, who is a keen advocate for BDS, the Labour party was indeed looking to support anti-Israel boycotts. And even under Keir Starmer, who describes himself as a friend of Israel, anti-Israel motions have passed with a number of Labour MPs supporting BDS and other anti-Israel causes.
In September, Starmer’s Labour passed a motion in their annual Brighton conference to define Israel as an apartheid state and impose sanctions against the Jewish state as a result. Labelling Israel as apartheid is a shameless lie and clearly ‘sanctions’ are part of supporting BDS.
In contrast, the Tories put in their 2019 General Election manifesto that the UK is committed to “ban public bodies from imposing their own direct or indirect boycotts, disinvestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries.”
In 2020, the UK government announced plans to pass a law banning local councils from boycotting countries in their pension funds, after the Supreme Court overturned a government order to that effect.
There are clearly challenges ahead before the BDS movement is outlawed in the UK. We will keep praying that the government will have wisdom in dealing with this anti-Israel hatred that too often feeds anti-Semitic incidents in the UK.
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