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February 18, 2016 10:44 am

UK Issues New Guidelines Against Israel Boycotts

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Israel boycotters. The British government on Wednesday announced new guidelines against boycotts of Israel. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Israel boycotters. The British government on Wednesday announced new guidelines against boycotts of Israel. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – The British government on Wednesday announced new guidelines against boycotts of Israel by local governments within the United Kingdom.

The guidelines set forth by the British government make clear “that procurement boycotts by public authorities are inappropriate, outside where formal legal sanctions, embargoes and restrictions have been put in place by the government.”

“Town hall boycotts undermine good community relations, poisoning and polarizing debate, weakening integration and fueling antisemitism,” the British government said.

The guidelines also cite the World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement, which requires all of the accord’s signing countries to be treated fairly. Israel is included among those nations.

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“Any public body found to be in breach of the regulations could be subject to severe penalties,” stated the British directive.

In December 2014, the local government in Leicester voted to boycott goods produced by Jewish communities located beyond the 1967 lines, in response to Israel’s actions in Gaza.

UK Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock, who was in Israel on Wednesday, said that “we need to challenge and prevent these divisive town hall boycotts.”

“The new guidance on procurement combined with changes we are making to how pension pots can be invested will help prevent damaging and counter-productive local foreign policies undermining our national security,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the UK’s move during a meeting with Hancock and a delegation of British officials in Jerusalem.

“I want to commend the British government for refusing to discriminate against Israel and Israelis, and I commend you for standing up for the one and only true democracy in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said.

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  • Paul

    The Israeli government wants to hold both ends of the stick – we won’t make the territories a real part of Israel, but the world is requested to regard it as a part of Israel regarding export of goods.
    This is an attempt at doublethink.
    If the West Bank is really a part of Israel, it should be officially integrated, as was the case with Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
    The Right-wing Israeli Government wants the world to regard the territories as part of Israel, despite deliberately NOT including it, officially, as part of Israel, for the simple reason that there are in fact millions of Palestinians living there, that Israel does not want to include as citizens since Israel would immediately become a country having a Jewish minority.

    • David

      Paul,

      It is clear that the current borders will be withdrawn. If Israel, were to make that move unilaterally it would destroy peace talks.

      The occupation will end when both sides come to an agreement that includes the recognition of a Jewish state with secure borders. As the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip proved, many elements of Palestinian society seek only to destroy Israel. Israel has no obligation to withdraw, when doing so would result in rocket fire at major cities like Tel Aviv.

      Despite the fact that a Palestinian state has never existed in the past, most elements of Israeli society want an independent Palestine. However, Israel is under no obligation to sacrifice their own security to achieve that goal.

      So yes, the Israelis get to hold both ends of the stick. They are the victors of the 1967 war. Had they lost that war, their fate would have been far worse than what the Palestinians are experiencing. As long as the Arabs continue to threaten the Israelis with violence, in any form, Israel’s control of disputed land is justified.

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