CFI has welcomed the Conservative Party’s manifesto pledge today to ban councils from boycotting products from Israel.
CFI Parliamentary Chairman (Lords) Rt. Hon. The Lord Pickles and CFI Honorary President Lord Polak CBE said in a statement: “The Conservative Party’s manifesto commitment to ban public bodies from imposing their own boycotts of any country is a significant and welcome measure. The hard-left’s attempts to exploit public bodies to boycott Israel is discriminatory, harmful to community relations and counterproductive to the peace process”.
The manifesto, which was launched today, states: “We will ban public bodies from imposing their own direct or indirect boycotts, disinvestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries. These undermine community cohesion”.
This would end local council power to dictate foreign policy agendas, including unofficial boycotts, divestment and sanction campaigns against foreign countries – funded by taxpayers.
By contrast, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said that the banning of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) by councils is an “attack on local democracy”.
Conservative Ministers have condemned the “hate-filled” local campaigns, and called for the councils to focus on local issues. Oliver Dowden, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “Rather than promoting coexistence, debate and dialogue, these left-wing boycotts sow hatred and alienation”. He added: “Conservatives will prevent British taxpayers’ money from bankrolling division and stop these damaging boycotts once and for all”.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Town hall boycotts undermine good community relations, weakening integration and fuelling antisemitism. Local public bodies should focus on their day jobs – such as running libraries and collecting bins, rather than running a divisive foreign policy from town halls”.
The Conservative manifesto has also committed to “support the construction of the planned UK Holocaust memorial”. The Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre is scheduled to built in Victoria Tower Gardens beside Parliament. The memorial was the central recommendation of former Prime Minister David Cameron’s Holocaust Commission, and has the support of Britain’s five living Prime Ministers and leading representatives of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish faiths.
The manifesto says that a Conservative Government would “maintain our support for a two-state solution” and underlines that “we will combat extremism and do all we can to ensure that extremists never receive public money”.
It adds that the Conservatives will expanding funding for an protect places of worship: “We will protect people from physical attack or harassment whether for their sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or disability, and expand funding for and protect places of worship. We will vigorously combat harassment and violence against all religious groups, and against LGBT people”.
Click here to read the Conservative manifesto in full.