CFI welcomes “ground-breaking” legislation to stop BDS activity

By June 23 2023, 10:00 Latest News No Comments
CFI Statement

CFI Statement

CFI welcomed the UK Government’s introduction of “ground-breaking” legislation to prevent public bodies in the UK from pursuing BDS activities. The ‘Economic Activity of Public Bodies Bill’, unveiled on Monday by Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Rt. Hon, Michael Gove MP, will stop local councils and all UK public bodies from adopting boycotts, divestments and sanctions targeting Israel.

The Bill follows the Conservative Party’s 2019 Manifesto pledge to “ban public bodies from imposing their own direct or indirect boycotts, divestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries”, which was reiterated in the Queens’ Speech in 2022.

Responding to the introduction of the Bill, CFI’s Parliamentary Chairmen Rt. Hon. Stephen Crabb MP (Commons) and Rt. Hon. The Lord Pickles (Lords), and CFI Honorary President Lord Polak CBE said: “Today marks a watershed moment in tackling the divisive BDS movement. The Government’s ground-breaking legislation, which delivers on a crucial Manifesto commitment, will play a critical role in ending the abuse of public bodies for anti-Israel activity. BDS is harmful not only to community cohesion here in the UK but also the wider cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians”.

CFI’s Parliamentary Chairman (Commons), Rt. Hon. Stephen Crabb MP added: “This landmark legislation marks a major step in the battle against the pernicious BDS movement. I applaud the Government for its decisiveness in stopping the abuse of public bodies and public funds for divisive anti-Israel activity and hope to see it progress swiftly through Parliament”.

In an op-ed for the Jewish Chronicle the RT Hon Michael Gove said that it was wrong for organisations to launch their own boycott campaigns “jeopardis[ing] community relations”. The Bill aims to prevent individuals within a public body “repurpose[ing] its policies at taxpayers’ expense to suit their own beliefs and agenda”. “It is for the British government to set our agenda globally and to decide on our tough sanctions regime”, he added.

The Minister also expressed reassurance that “the Government will retain the power to adjust the powers in this new bill, so we can ensure that public bodies are lawfully able to divest from those countries or territories which, like Russia, the government has carefully determined should be censured”.

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