Anti-Israel Activists in UK Suing Government for Infringing on ‘Right’ to Engage in BDS Campaign
BDS activists in Britain are suing the government over new regulations they say infringe on their right to promote boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) said in a statement that amendments to existing legislation — which now place restrictions on the handling of pension fund portfolios by local councils — are hindering its ability to conduct effective divestment efforts. This, it said, “is one of a number of ways the campaign for Palestine is being undermined” in Britain.
PSC said that in mid-December it “submitted evidence to ask for a judicial review of these regulations,” for the purpose of overturning them. “While our government tries to take our right to this form of peaceful protest away, we are standing strong — we are going to make them answer their case in court,” it declared.
According to a statement released in October by Britain’s ruling Conservative Party, the aim of the new regulations — which came into effect in November — was to “stop politically motivated boycott and divestment campaigns” supported by Labour Party leaders and left-wing councils, which “use their pension policies to punish both Israel and the UK defense industry” — something that “[f]aith leaders” are concerned might “fuel antisemitism.”
The British move followed similar actions taken in the US. Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Nevada, for example, have introduced or passed anti-BDS bills prohibiting state-funded entities from conducting business with companies engaged in discriminatory boycotts.