Friends of Al-Aqsa group condemns UK anti-BDS bill
A campaign was launched in the UK by Friends of Al-Aqsa against the government's recently proposed bill to ban the boycott of Israeli goods.
In an official statement, the Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) NGO announced their condemnation of the recent anti-BDS bill proposed by the UK government. The group argued that "the government is tabling the ‘Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill’, or ‘anti-BDS Bill’. This is an attack on the democratic right of public bodies in the UK to make ethical choices. It is part of the current government’s wide-ranging crackdown on the right to expression."
The group further stated that the world’s leading human rights organizations have joined the Palestinians in saying that "Israel" is practicing apartheid, adding that the British government should instead be imposing sanctions on "Israel" for its ongoing human rights abuses and violations of international law.
"It should not be eroding the rights of public bodies to hold Israel to account through boycotts and divestment."
The Head of Public Affairs at FOA, Shamiul Joarder, explained that "as individuals committed to defending human rights and resisting oppression, we must do everything in our power to oppose this draconian legislation," adding that "this is a grave attack on our human rights and our ability to defend human rights - not just in Palestine but around the world. Right now the Bill is in the early stages so by acting quickly together, we have the power to stop it becoming law."
That said, the group launched a campaign to stand against the bill.
UK government to introduce anti-BDS bill
The bill in question will prohibit councils from boycotting Israeli goods, and is anticipated to be introduced next week. The proposed legislation will prohibit public agencies from taking a position on international affairs, including through sanctions and divestment campaigns.
According to the Telegraph, Michael Gove, the Cabinet minister in charge of local government, will introduce the legislation. According to Gove, boycotting Israeli goods leads to "appalling antisemitic rhetoric and abuse."
He said that "it is simply wrong that public bodies have been wasting taxpayers’ time and money pursuing their foreign policy agenda," adding that "the UK must have a consistent approach to foreign policy, set by the UK government."
“These campaigns not only undermine the UK’s foreign policy but lead to appalling antisemitic rhetoric and abuse. That is why we have taken this decisive action to stop these disruptive policies once and for all.”