Local Authorities in UK to Be Stripped of Boycott Power Against Israeli Settlements
Local councils in the United Kingdom will soon be unable to decide to boycott companies operating in Israeli settlements, The Guardian reported on Saturday.
The UK’s Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) confirmed it is preparing new guidelines to prevent local authorities from conducting their own “boycott and sanction” campaigns. The new directives, which will be issued in early 2016, will make it clear that procurement and investment policies of local councils must not run contrary to UK government foreign policy.
“Councils should not be using pensions and procurement policies to pursue their own boycotts and sanctions against foreign nations,” a DCLG spokesman said. “We are tightening up the rules to ensure taxpayers’ and the UK’s interests are protected.”
This is in spite of the fact that UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently advises private sector businesses against trading with or investing in Israeli companies producing goods in West Bank settlements — which Britain considers illegal under international law.