Letters in the Independent: Israel’s boycott ban is antidemocratic
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.
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.