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December 19, 2019 12:32 pm

British PM Boris Johnson’s New Conservative Government Pledges to Take Action Against Anti-Israel BDS Movement

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn arrive for the State Opening of Parliament at the Houses of Parliament in London, Dec. 19, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Hannah McKay / Pool.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new Conservative government will take action against the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, it was officially announced on Thursday.

“We will stop public institutions from imposing their own approach or views about international relations, through preventing boycotts, divestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries and those who trade with them,” the background briefing notes on the Queen’s Speech that was delivered on Thursday read.

“This will create a coherent approach to foreign relations from all public institutions, by ensuring that they do not go beyond the UK Government’s settled policy towards a foreign country,” the notes went on to say. “The UK Government is responsible for foreign relations and determining the best way to interact with its international neighbours.”

Such a policy would prevent “divisive behaviour that undermines community cohesion,” the notes pointed out. “There are concerns that such boycotts have legitimised antisemitism, such as Jewish films being censored and Jewish university societies being threatened with bans.”

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In remarks in Parliament on Thursday, Johnson — fresh off his decisive victory over the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour party in last week’s general election — said, “When it comes to standing by our friends…one innovation that this Queen’s Speech introduces…is that we will stop public bodies from taking it upon themselves to boycott goods from other countries, to develop their own pseudo-foreign policy against a country that with nauseating frequency turns out to be Israel.”

Marie van Der Zyl — president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews — stated in response to the Queen’s Speech, “The Board of Deputies has long called for action on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions in public bodies. This divisive activity intimidates Jewish communities in the Diaspora and does nothing to build peace in the Middle East. We welcome the Government’s pledge today to take action.”

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