Communities Secretary Sajid Javid condemned the Labour Party’s policy towards Israel at a Board of Deputies and Jewish Chronicle hustings event on Sunday, asserting that “if they were ever near power they would boycott Israel”.
Mr Javid affirmed the Conservative Government’s opposition to boycotts of Israel, restating plans to legislate against local authorities and public bodies who implement such boycotts.
Responding to fellow panelist, Shadow Brexit Secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, Mr Javid said: “BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) is wrong, full-stop. It is just not right when you say the Labour party does not support boycotts of Israel. You are misleading these good people”.
Outlining Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s record on the issue of anti-Israel boycotts, the Communities Secretary added: “Jeremy Corbyn has said when asked about the BDS campaign – and I quote: ‘BDS is part and parcel of a process to be adopted.’ And when he was asked about it again he said ‘Sanctions are an appropriate way of dealing with Israel.’ That is Labour’s position – if they were ever near power they would boycott Israel”.
Sir Keir had maintained that “The Labour Party is against boycotts – and I am against boycotts”. He said in response to Mr Javid: “It pains me there’s a discussion about anti-Semitism in my party – Ken Livingstone should have been expelled”.