Boris Johnson: UK will curb ‘nauseating frequency’ of Israel boycotts

The new Conservative government in the UK will stop local authorities from supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, Boris Johnson said Thursday.

Benjamin Netanyahu and Boris Jonhson in London, November 2, 2017. (photo credit: DARREN STAPLES/REUTERS)
Benjamin Netanyahu and Boris Jonhson in London, November 2, 2017.
(photo credit: DARREN STAPLES/REUTERS)
The new conservative government in the UK will stop local authorities from supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Thursday, presenting his plans for the coming years.
“We will stop public bodies from taking it upon themselves to boycott goods from other countries, to develop their own pseudo foreign policy against countries, which with nauseating frequency turns out to be Israel,” Johnson said in the House of Commons.
Johnson’s remarks came after the traditional “Queen’s Speech” prepared for her by the prime minister and his cabinet, which outlines the government’s agenda for the next year at the opening of the new parliament. Queen Elizabeth did not specifically mention an anti-boycott law, contrary to prior reports that she would.
The Conservative Party’s platform in the UK’s general election last week included a commitment to “ban public bodies from imposing their own direct or indirect boycotts, disinvestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries. These undermine community cohesion.
The move is meant to block local councils controlled by the Labour Party from using taxpayer funds to boycott foreign countries, including Israel.
In addition, labor unions adopted boycotts, which Jewish groups have challenged in court.
Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van Der Zyl said the group “long called for action on [BDS] in public bodies.
“This divisive activity intimidates Jewish communities in the Diaspora and does nothing to build peace in the Middle East. We welcome the government’s pledge today to take action,” she stated.
Earlier this week, UK Special Envoy for post-Holocaust issues Eric Pickles said “BDS is antisemitic and should be treated as such,” explaining that the new law will not allow public bodies to work with those who boycott, divest from or sanction Israel in any way.
Pickles, who is also the chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel, said that Labour’s historic defeat in last week’s election showed that the British people reject antisemitism.
“Antisemitism is an attack on the British way of life and British identity,” he said. “Without our Jewish citizens, we would be a lesser nation.”