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Great Britain approves bill preventing public bodies from boycotting Israel

Illustrative image: Anti-Israel protest (Photo: Takver/Wikimedia Commons)

The British Parliament greenlighted a bill on Monday designed to prevent public organizations from taking part in boycotts against the Jewish state.

The parliament approved the bill with 268 votes in favor and 70 opposed. Eighty-four Conservative Members of Parliament and all Labour MPs abstained during the vote.

Michel Gove, head of the local government ministry advancing the bill, said it intends to fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), a global anti-Israel movement that calls for boycotts against Israel and opposes the very existence of a Jewish state.

The BDS movement is widely considered antisemitic, with some critics even comparing the movement to the Nazi boycott against Jewish businesses in the 1930s and 1940s.

Gove stressed that the bill “affirms the important principle that UK foreign policy is a matter for the UK government. It ensures local authorities focus their efforts on serving residents, not directing their resources inefficiently. And critically it protects minorities, especially Jewish communities, against campaigns that harm community cohesion and fuel antisemitism.” 

British Jewry ranks as one of the largest Jewish communities in contemporary Europe, numbering approximately 300,000.

Lisa Nandy, the Labour Party’s shadow communities secretary, criticized the bill for being “needlessly broad.”

“We recognize the problem that [Gove] says this bill is needed to tackle. It is therefore deeply frustrating that the government has introduced a bill that is so needlessly broad, with such sweeping draconian powers … that he is faced with genuine legitimate heartfelt opposition from his own benches,” Nandy said.

While antisemitism in Britain has generally been less severe than in France, many British Jews have become concerned about former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has been openly hostile toward Israel and embraces the antisemitic terror organization Hamas.

The current British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has emerged as a strong friend of the Jewish people, vowing to combat all forms of antisemitism, including delegitimization of the Jewish state.

Read more: BDS | UK

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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