Letters: Israel boycott ban is anti-democratic
The Government’s attempts to block public bodies from boycotting and divesting from companies involved in Israel’s oppression of Palestinians undermines local democracy in order to shield Israel from criticism (“Boycott of Israeli goods to be criminal offence”, 15 February).
Local councils, student unions, trade unions, political parties and other democratic bodies across the UK have voted to support the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). BDS is a peaceful and effective way of challenging the international support that Israel receives despite its ongoing human rights abuses and violations of international law.
The Government’s proposal would effectively force local councils and other public bodies to unethically invest in Israel’s occupation and in arms companies.
Palestinians launched the BDS movement more than 10 years ago because governments, including our own, fail to hold Israel to account for its deliberate attacks on Palestinians and other war crimes. Instead, the UK sells Israel the weapons it needs to attack Palestinians with impunity.
Rather than attacking local democracy and insulating Israel from the consequences of its human rights abuses, the UK government should take steps in support of freedom, justice and equality.
An end to the arms trade with Israel would be a good start.
Tommy Sheppard MP
Cat Smith MP
NUS Black Students’ Officer
General Secretary, Unite the Union
Alex Cunningham MP
Chris Stephens MP
Clive Betts MP
Dave Anderson MP
Kate Osamor MP
Marie Rimmer MP
Martyn Day MP
Nic Dakin MP
Steven Paterson MP
Yasmin Qureshi MP
Louise Haigh MP
Lord Ahmed Nazir
Baroness Jenny Tonge
Matt Wrack, General Secretary FBU
Mick Whelan, General Secretary ASLEF
Tim Roache, General Secretary Elect GMB
Mick Cash, General Secretary RMT
Piers Telemancque, Vice president Society and Citizenship, NUS
Shelly Asquith – Vice President Welfare, NUS
Andrew Smith, Campaign Against Arms Trade
April De Angelis,
Baroness Jenny Tonge
Fionn Travers-Smith, Move Your Money
Hugh Lanning, Chair of Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Jo Ram, Community Reinvest
Joel Benjamin, Community Reinvest
John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want
Mick Bowman, Newcastle City Council
Riya Hassan, Palestinian BDS National Committee
Vica Rogers, Debt Resistance UK