Israel plans to combat boycott threat

Follows protest to Beckett that steps are in opposition to Israel-UK relations.

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June 3, 2007 01:43
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In an indication that Israel is starting to take the threats of union boycotts against it more seriously, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is scheduled to hold an inter-ministerial meeting on the matter early this week. According to Foreign Ministry officials, the purpose of the meeting - which will also include members of academia - will be to draw up an action plan on how to combat both last week's British Union of Colleges and Universities decision to consider an academic boycott, and how to keep the boycott movement from gaining momentum. Britain's largest labor union, UNISON, is also considering a boycott, and a boycott has been endorsed by the leader of the South African trade union federation. The scheduled governmental meeting comes as some in the Foreign Ministry have said privately that Israel has not done enough over the last few months - as various groups in Britain debated boycott and divesture - to protest these moves, and to persuade the British government to register its opposition loudly and publicly as well. Livni spoke to British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett about the matter on Friday and said that Israel viewed these steps "gravely" and that they stood in complete opposition to the good relations that exist between the two countries. A few days earlier, before the vote by the academic union, Livni discussed the matter with British Ambassador Tom Phillips - the first time she held a meeting with him devoted primarily to the topic.


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