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Conservative Party Aims to Boot BDS from the UK

December 15, 2021

by: Janet Aslin

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Protesters march through Mayfair, London, in support of BDS, November 2017.

Wednesday, 15 December 2021 | British MP (Member of Parliament) Robert Jenrick, a member of Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, announced this week that a bill banning the BDS (Boycott Divestment, Sanctions) movement will be presented to Parliament in the coming months.

Jenrick made the statement during an online conference hosted by a private diplomatic think tank whose aim is to promote closer ties between Australia, the United Kingdom and Israel.

While the position of the Conservative Party on Brexit, the “hot button” issue of the 2019 general elections, was undoubtedly what determined their landslide victory, the party’s solid opposition of the BDS movement was included in its platform.

Since those elections, the Conservative Party has been working to “ban public bodies from imposing their own direct or indirect boycotts, disinvestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries” (2019 Conservative Party manifesto).

The Jerusalem Post quoted MP Jenrick’s remarks during the online session when he said, “I do think BDS is being beaten back here.” According to the article, he went on to say, “There is no political party in the UK that would support BDS today.”

This assessment overlooks Britain’s second largest political party. The British Labour Party, at their conference in September, defined Israel as an apartheid state, and the text of the full motion fell in line with much of the BDS movement’s platform.

The BDS movement has been around for nearly 20 years, emerging on the scene sometime between 2001 and 2005. Modeled after the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, BDS has faced increasing international opposition as an anti-Semitic movement whose accusations that Israel operates as an apartheid state cannot be substantiated.

The first anti-BDS legislation in the US was passed in 2015 by the states of Illinois and South Carolina. Currently there are a total of 35 US states with anti-BDS laws. Germany, Canada and Austria have passed resolutions condemning the BDS movement as anti-Semitic.

Back to MP Robert Jenrick and his promise of pending legislation to ban BDS in the United Kingdom. Given its current position with a significant majority of Parliament seats, it seems reasonable to expect that the Conservative Party will be able to achieve its commitment to “boot BDS out of the UK” in the very near future.

Posted on December 15, 2021

Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 15, 2021)

Photo Credit: Alisdare Hickson/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

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