New government policy to stop BDS
British Conservative ministers have announced a new policy to block local councils from choosing to boycott or divest from companies complicit in the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine. Aides said that the new policy, to be detailed in an amendment to procurement policy guidance, is a response to “militant actions of leftwing councils”.
The move is a clear attempt to clamp down on the growing power of the grassroots boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement which aims to end government and corporate complicity with Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.
For the past decade, trade unions representing thousands of workers, student unions, faith groups and indeed, local councils have mobilised to end UK complicity with Israel’s repeated violations of international law in its policies against Palestinians. Where the UK government has failed to hold Israel to account for its abuse of Palestinians, ordinary citizens have stepped in. At least a dozen local councils have taken steps to divest from companies engaged in Israeli human rights abuses.
The new policy would essentially force local councils to turn a blind-eye to corporate complicity in violations of international law, and to ignore local concerns in favour of good diplomatic relations with a notorious human rights abusing country.
Ryvka Barnard, Senior Campaigns Officer (militarism and security), War on Want