Like Thatcher with apartheid: UK to ban public bodies from boycotting Israeli West Bank goods

© Baz Ratner
Britain’s Conservative government is to announce next week a law that would ban local councils, student unions and other public bodies form boycotting goods for political reasons. The rules are widely seen as meant to protect goods produced by Israeli companies in the occupied West Bank.

The plan to introduce such legislation was first proposed by the Conservative Party at its annual conference in October 2015. Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock is to formally announce the new regulation during his visit to Israel next week, The Independent reported.

The rules would ban institutions that receive the majority of their funding from the government from participating in procurement political campaigns, choosing not to buy products from companies on political grounds. The only exception would be nationwide boycotts mandated by the government.

Read more

London's Mayor Boris Johnson speaks on the third day of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester northern Britain, October 6 , 2015. © Phil Noble

Boris Johnson cuts short Palestine visit after Israel boycott criticism sparks outrage


London also wants to change the rules for pension investments so that they could not be used for punishing companies for political reasons.

“We need to challenge and prevent these divisive town hall boycotts,” Hancock told The Sunday Times.

“The new guidance on procurement, combined with changes we are making to how pension pots can be invested, will help prevent damaging and counterproductive local foreign policies undermining our national security.”

The new rules are not unlike the restrictions imposed on local councils in 1988 by right-wing Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to prevent them from putting economic pressure on the apartheid regime in South Africa by boycotting its goods. The parallel has not passed unnoticed by the opposition Labour Party, which has accused the Tories of imposing their policies on local councils undemocratically.

“This government’s ban would have outlawed council action against apartheid South Africa. Ministers talk about devolution, but in practice they’re imposing Conservative Party policies on elected local councils across the board,” Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said.

He called the ban an attack on local democracy.

Amnesty International’s UK economic relations program director Peter Frankental said the move could encourage human rights violations.

“Where’s the incentive for companies to ensure there are no human rights violations such as slavery in their supply chains, when public bodies cannot hold them to account by refusing to award them contracts?” he said.

“Not only would it be a bad reflection on public bodies to contract with rogue companies, but it would also be bad for responsible businesses that are at risk of being undercut by those that have poor practices.”

READ MORE: ‘We are deeply disturbed’: 343 British academics vow to boycott Israeli universities

The movement to boycott goods produced in Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian territories, the so-called Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement, is meant to put pressure on Israel to stop human right abuses against Palestinians. It was first announced in 2005, with Israel vigorously opposing it.

In the UK, Leicester City Council passed a policy to boycott such goods in November 2014. In August 2014, the Scottish government recommended that Scottish local councils joined the boycott, with four of them following the lead.




12 Responses to “Like Thatcher with apartheid: UK to ban public bodies from boycotting Israeli West Bank goods”

  1. ian says:

    Although these things are always camouflaged with other things, it should be obvious to even the stupidest now, who calls the shots and who runs the show. As Voltaire said, “to see who controls you, ask, who can’t you criticize”.

    • sovereigntea says:

      Hancock is yet another disloyal scumbag licking the bloodstained boots of the bank of zion.

      according to the ft ….. The new BDS guidance coincides with a trip by cabinet office minister Matthew Hancock to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

      Before moving into politics, Matthew worked for his family business, as an economist at the Bank of England, and as Chief of Staff to George Osborne.

      • Men Scryfa says:

        It is now at the point where these are the kind of questions you have to ask; is he a crypto, does he have sex with his own children, is he involved in ritual sacrifice…?

  2. Men Scryfa says:

    They were going into Europe not leaving for Turkey. Guardian is Jewish owned and run so is trying to cover up this leak of the preparations for Genocide in EU

  3. salty says:

    Zionist lobby money behind US anti-boycott-Israel legislation

    17th February 2016.

    It was bound to happen: an attempt by the US Congress to endorse the attacks on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement already taking place in some states and municipalities.

    The strategy is to legitimise an increasingly standard approach to undermining the boycott of Israel, an approach wherein the investment of any state funds, including pension funds, in any business or organisation that boycotts the Zionist state is forbidden.

    Two bipartisan pairs of senators – Mark Kirk (Republican, Illinois) and Joe Manchin (Democrat, West Virginia) – and Congressional Representatives – Robert Dold (Republican, Illinois) and Juan Vargas (Democrat, California) – introduced into both houses the

    “Combating BDS Act of 2016” (S.2531 and H.R.4514).

    We can be sure that all four of them are doing this at the coordinated behest o

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.