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update deskBoycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS)

New UK bill to prevent government councils from boycotting Israel

One British official does not want local governments to be declaring “their own foreign policy.”

Communities secretary Michael Gove. Credit:
Communities secretary Michael Gove. Credit:

A new bill soon to be introduced is set to deal a blow against the BDS movement in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Communities Secretary Michael Gove will introduce legislation to prevent councils in the United Kingdom from declaring boycotts of Israel. This has been an initiative the Conservative Party first announced in its 2019 manifesto, and Gove is described by the Financial Times as “determined” to pass the bill.

Gove previously said: “The BDS campaign is designed for only one purpose: to attack and delegitimize the State of Israel and the idea that there should be a Jewish state at all.”

Oliver Dowden, the deputy prime minister, shares Gove’s focus on passing the legislation.

Inspiring the effort were the city councils of Lancaster and Leicester, which both passed boycott policies. Last year, the city council for Hertfordshire County was pressured to boycott Israel but the efforts to pass the law were thwarted.

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