Tag Archives: Divestment

Would you take a Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions tour of your town to see who invests in genocidal Israel?

A lamppost sticker promoting boycott, divestment and sanctions.

Spotted on ‘X’ (formerly Twitter):

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What do you think? Is this a good idea?

Would you take a BDS tour to find out who in your locality supports Israel’s genocide of Gaza?


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The Tories want the UK to become a criminal state – for the sake of some money?

A lamppost sticker promoting boycott, divestment and sanctions. Note that it demands “justice for Palestine” and makes no anti-Semitic statements.

Conservative government legislation will turn the UK into a criminal state in the international community – and it seems certain that it is being done so some Tories and their friends can make some money out of it.

Does that make you feel dirty – slimily, greasily, grubbily, maggots-in-your-food dirty?

It should.

The Bill that has caught public attention most vividly today is the innocently-titled Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill that specifically forbids public bodies like local councils from taking into account human rights abuses committed by foreign governments when making decisions, including on procurement of goods and services.

The Bill specifically forbids such public bodies from ever refusing to take goods and services from Israel, the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories and/or the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, no matter what atrocities are committed there.

Here’s an atrocity that was committed there yesterday (Monday, July 3, 2023). During an apparently-unprovoked attack on the Palestinian city of Jenin, which contains a refugee camp that crams 14,000 people into a space less than half a square kilometre in size, this happened:

The Economic Activity… Bill makes it illegal for public bodies to protest against atrocities like this in the only meaningful way available to them – by refusing to do business with firms from Israel or operating as Israeli firms in the occupied territories.

Legal opinion shows that the Bill is so badly-constructed that it will make the UK an internationally criminal state, with all the possible consequences this may create.

So why inflict it on a nation that doesn’t want it (we demand our right to oppose injustice wherever we see it, including in the actions of a rogue state like Israel) and will suffer for it internationally?

The only reason This Writer can find is that the trade it will generate will bring money to Conservative MPs or their friends – bosses of firms that will then donate money to them.

I wonder whether discussions to that effect have taken place between UK government or Conservative Party representatives and government or business people in Israel.

Let’s put some flesh on the bones of this argument.

Lisa Nandy, Labour’s Shadow Levelling-Up Secretary, together with Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy, commissioned legal advice on the Bill from one David Hermer KC. His response was lengthy but I will try to distil it into the essentials:

This very poorly drafted Bill is likely to have a detrimental impact on the United Kingdom’s ability to protect and promote human rights overseas, is in certain respects inconsistent with our obligations under international law, will stifle free speech at home (in a manner incompatible with Article 10 of the ECHR), will take powers long exercised by local authorities into the hands of the Secretary of State and will likely lead to an array of illogical outcomes.

Many of the key provisions of this very poorly drafted Bill are deeply troubling from both a domestic and international law perspective. The implications for local democracy, for the proud history in our regions of campaigning for global human rights, for using our economic clout for the promotion of human rights, for free speech in this country and for compliance with our international law obligations are potentially profound.

The driving force behind the Bill is to address the ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’ campaign (hereinafter ‘BDS’) directed against Israel. The Bill is objectionable irrespective of whether one considers BDS to be thoroughly reprehensible or conversely a legitimate form of non-violent protest.

Irrespective of whether this Bill is enacted, all public bodies are already prohibited in law from pursuing policies, or taking any actions that are directly, or indirectly, antisemitic or otherwise discriminate against Jewish people. These protections… are all enforceable by the Courts.

So the Bill does nothing to counter anti-Semitism; protections against that are already in place.

There would appear to be at least two possible interpretations of what conduct is intended to be prohibited:

Interpretation 1 is that the Bill is directed at the policies of foreign governments only in so far as they relate to territorial disputes, or disputes limited to particular territories, whether they be internal or external territories to the foreign government.

Interpretation 2 is that it the Bill prohibits any relevant decisions based on moral or political disapproval of a foreign government. On balance, I consider that a court would determine that this is the correct interpretation of the clause… This … is supported by the fact that Israel (i.e. an entire country) is specified … in addition to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (hereinafter the ‘OPT’) and the Golan Heights.

Assuming Interpretation 1 applies then it would create an artificial distinction between acts borne of moral/political concerns arising out a territorial dispute (prohibited) and acts motivated by non-territorial based moral/political concerns (untouched by the Act). By way of example, the Bill would not impact a decision to refuse to buy certain goods from China because of its general disregard for human rights but would render unlawful a decision not to buy cotton goods from Xinjiang because of the crimes against the Uighur people2. That is because only the latter decision would be based on a consideration ‘relating to a territory’.

This is utterly illogical and exemplifies the dangers of seeking to introduce legislation of general effect in order to address a specific discrete concern. Even more starkly, the Bill would not prevent a local authority from refusing to buy any Israeli products for reasons unconnected to a territorial consideration – for example, because of discriminatory practices against Palestinians with Israeli citizenship living within the Green Line. That is because the discrimination is not one based on a territorial consideration but rather once based on race. Ironically therefore, the Bill (if Interpretation 1 applies) would in reality increase the prospects of public authorities making decisions based on the internal domestic policies of Israel rather than concerns about treatment/status of Palestinians in the OPT.

Assuming that Interpretation 2 applies, then … it will preclude public authorities from having regard to any human rights violations of a foreign government when making relevant decisions. Save for the limited exceptions provided for in the Schedule, it would at a stroke preclude public bodies from taking into account a range of deplorable conduct of a foreign state from genocide, unlawful military invasions, war crimes, other crimes against humanity and racial discrimination etc. On the face of the Bill this would preclude a council from refusing to purchase goods from Russian occupied Ukraine, or from Myanmar, or North Korea or any country on the basis of disapproval of their systemic human rights violations. Had legislation of this nature been in effect in the 1980s it would have rendered it unlawful to refuse to source goods from apartheid South Africa.

The enactment of the Bill would seriously hamper any public body exercising an ethical approach to (at least) its purchases and investments.

So if Interpretation 1 applies, then the Bill encourages public bodies to refuse goods from Israel on the grounds of any ill-treatment of non-Jewish people living within the internationally-accepted borders of that country. This would not be hard as a relatively-recent law there has turned everybody who isn’t Jewish into a second-class citizen.

And if Interpretation 2 applies (which is more likely), then the UK becomes a supporter of genocide, unlawful military invasions, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and most reprehensibly racial discrimination – the very behaviour that the Bill ostensibly seeks to curtail.

Many would be proud of the role played by local authorities in this country to oppose the South African apartheid regime. These acts have been propelled not simply by morality but by the perception that boycotts and other economic measures can have a positive impact on the promotion of human rights globally.

The prohibition … cannot logically be justified on the basis that it will always be inappropriate per se for public bodies to base their decisions on disapproval of a foreign country’s conduct. That is because the Bill itself recognises that in certain specified circumstances (i.e. those provided for in the Schedule) it will be entirely appropriate to take such steps.

What the Bill does … is remove the power of local authorities to make those decisions for themselves. Rather the decision is now vested solely in the hands of the Secretary of State although even then s/he is absolutely barred from making an exception in respect of Israel, the OPT or the Golan Heights.

In placing the power of exemption solely in the hands of the Secretary of State the Bill effectively infantilises all other public bodies, many of whom have a long history of using their economic purchasing powers in order to avoid supporting human rights violations and/or to pressurise foreign countries to adopt change. This would seem at odds with the general tenor of Government policy to decentralise power. It would also seem impervious to the democratic and legal restraints that already operate on public bodies such as local authorities. Not only are voters able to influence decision making processes in local government (often in a far more direct way than permitted in our parliamentary system) but they are also able to effect change through the ballot box. Similarly, decisions of local authorities which are discriminatory, or outwith their powers, or unreasonable are subject to reversal through judicial review and legal campaigning.

So – again – there are already protections against public bodies misusing their powers.

The ultimate sanction of effecting change through the ballot box is one that should have given the Tories who drafted this Bill cause for serious reconsideration. That it did not suggests an extremely cavalier attitude to election results.

History has shown the capricious consequences that flow when powers of this nature are removed from hundreds of public bodies and placed exclusively in the hands of one decision maker. During the apartheid regime local authorities in the UK played a prominent and powerful role in the South Africa boycott campaign. Had this Bill been in force during the 1980s this would have been very likely deemed unlawful and no exemption granted in light of the position of the then Prime Minister that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist and the apartheid regime was an ally.

In other words, if enacted in the 1980s, this Bill would have made the UK a staunch supporter of the racist regime in South Africa. It is even possible that, with such tangible support from Thatcher, apartheid may have remained in place to this day.

Whilst the Schedule provides some very limited … exemptions (labour rights, bribery and environment) it does not include other human rights abuses such as genocide, the systemic use of torture, other crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Convention. From an international law perspective these are distinctions without any logical basis.

It would seem odd in the extreme that the Secretary of State is vested with powers to make exemptions for any country in the world except Israel, irrespective of what the ‘facts on the ground’ at any given time might be. Israel could only ever be included by amendment through primary legislation. In circumstances in which, if enacted [the Bill] would automatically render a BDS motivated relevant decision unlawful, [it] seeks [to] ‘double lock’ the position and tie the hand of the Secretary of State in respect of one country, and one country alone.

So Israel is given special status.

[The Bill is] rendered even more alarming, certainly from a legal and international relations perspective – by the inclusion [in the exemption] of the OPT and the Golan Heights in addition to Israel. This accords to territories occupied since 1967, (and deemed an unlawful occupation in international law) the precise same specially protected status as Israel itself. This effectively equates the OPT with Israel itself and is very difficult to reconcile with the long-standing position of the United Kingdom which supports a ‘two-state solution’ based on ‘1967 lines’ in which the security and right to self-determination of both Israelis and Palestinians are protected.

So the Bill contradicts the UK’s stated policy on Israel and Palestine.

The effect … is that no exemptions can be made, even by the Secretary of State, to permit any decision maker to ever take into account the status in international law of the OPT or human rights abuses occurring there.

The terms of this exemption … are also very difficult to reconcile with our obligations under international law… Legislation prohibiting local authorities from taking steps to promote Palestinian self-determination within the OPT, taken with the terms of the exclusion… would likely place the United Kingdom in breach of international law obligations.

The UK’s support of Israel would make it a criminal state.

The fact that the clauses would put the United Kingdom in breach of its international law obligations is likely to give rise to early legal challenge to the Bill should it be enacted. That is not least because [the Bill] (rightly) provides that nothing in [it] should prevent the decision maker from acting if it would otherwise place the UK in breach of its international law obligations. One can readily foresee a public body reasonably deciding that purchasing goods made in illegal Jewish settlements in the OPT would place the United Kingdom in breach of its international law obligations. Such public bodies may well consider it prudent to test the issue through judicial review before exposing itself to the risk of penalties. Accordingly, an unforeseen consequence of this Bill might therefore be that the English courts will be required to adjudicate upon the legality of the occupation of the OPT in order to ascertain whether a decision not to purchase goods was justified … so as to avoid placing the UK in breach of its international law obligations. Whereas domestic courts to date have been reluctant to adjudicate upon issues relating to the OPT, the terms of the Bill may well require them to do so.

The Bill is likely to lead to decisions making it clear that Israel is a criminal state, according to UK law – and in contradiction of the intentions of its authors.

[The Bill] prohibits public bodies not simply from saying that they intend to act in a manner prohibited by [it] but (even more controversially) that they would have done so but for the prohibition. This is a legally unprecedented restriction on the ability of relevant bodies, many of them directly elected, to express a view on their own decision-making process. Indeed, the law would have the extraordinary effect of making it illegal for a decision-maker who has complied with the [Bill’s] requirements … to state that the only reason they have taken that decision is because they were required by the law to do so, and that – were the terms of the law different – … they would have acted differently. A relevant body would be prohibited, for example, from explaining to constituents that they did not want to purchase goods from North Korea but were prevented from not doing so by the Bill/Act. This is an extraordinary gagging clause on democratically elected politicians and public bodies.

What would be the purpose behind this? Is it to make it seem that public bodies in the UK actually support Israeli atrocities when they don’t? Would this not have a chilling effect on people wanting to take part in local democracy? Would they step aside on the grounds that this is against their principles? And would this leave space for people who do support atrocities – exactly the sort of people who should be nowhere near public power – to step in and take over?

This is not just an attack on free speech but on democracy itself – as Mr Hermer makes clear:

Freedom of expression has long been recognised as one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and the rule of law. It is applicable not only to information or ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also those that often, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population… Here under the terms of the Bill, if a Council Leader was asked whether she was in favour of the local authority procuring goods from Xinjiang in the face of genocide she would have to refuse to reply, perhaps stating “I am prohibited by s.4 of the 2023 Act from answering that question or providing any indication (be it by words, statements or any indeed any facial expression) as what the council would do if not prohibited”

[The Bill] if enacted is highly likely to be deemed incompatible by the Courts with Article 10 of the ECHR, in particular (i) the relevant public official’s right of freedom of expression and (ii) the right of the public to receive information on matters of public interest/importance… It is vanishingly unlikely that the terms … could fall within an established Article 10(2) justification. This means that any the Bill, if enacted into law, would be readily amenable to a challenge, pursuant to section 4 of the Human Rights Act 1998, on the basis that it is incompatible with a Convention right.

So the Bill would lay the government open to court action for inhibiting free speech.

The ‘Enforcement Authority’ (Secretary of State or Treasury, or Office for Students) [would have] a power to issue written notices requiring a person to provide a wide array of information and to penalise breaches and non-performance. The grounds on which their powers can be exercised are very wide indeed – a person merely needs to be suspected of being in the process of making a prohibited decision or about to make a prohibited statement. For example, if a person is served with a notice … they are obliged to hand over all information ‘likely to be useful’ to the enforcement authority in determining whether an offence has, or is likely to be, committed. The powers provided … to compel the production of documents are particularly troubling from a legal perspective. On their face, they appear to provide unprecedented powers to compel a person to hand over materials that would otherwise be protected by legal professional privilege. Remarkably broad, this would therefore be handing the enforcement authorities more powers than those enjoyed by anti-terrorism police and the security services. The Secretary of State [is also provided] with what is commonly referred to as a “Henry VIII power” giving her/him unchecked powers to change an enforcement authority (including that there not be one) in respect of particular types of decisions or statements.

In other words, public authorities may be penalised for even considering (for example) refusing a contract with an Israeli company working out of Palestine. And the government would be permitted to decide who to penalise or whether to penalise them at all, giving rise the possibility of favouritism. Or am I misreading that part?

As you can see, the legal advice is that the Bill is defective and should not be enacted in any way.

Ms Nandy, a staunch supporter of Israel who is not one to take sensible advice well, ignored it.

She spoke against BDS during the debate – in misleading terms:

And then she abstained on the vote (along with almost all of the 195 Labour MPs in the House of Commons. This means they allowed it to pass on to its Committee Stage by a vote of 268 in favour to 70 against.

This is because Keir Starmer, Labour’s leader and another staunch supporter of Israel no matter what it does, demanded the abstentions:

Still, some Labour MPs did oppose the Bill, but even this has led to division:

Zarah Sultana had previously stated that she was unable to attend the debate but would have voted against the Bill:

Taking all of the above into account, it seems unreasonable for any UK government to have brought a Bill as flawed as this before Parliament at all.

It is unnecessary because protections already exist to stop anti-Semitic discrimination against Israeli goods and businesses (and indeed any unreasonable discrimination against goods and businesses from another country).

It is undemocratic because the right to boycott goods and firms from a foreign country based on that country’s actions is also enshrined in law, and the measures proposed by the Bill to enforce its restrictions contradict other UK and international laws.

It is counter-productive because, if enacted into law, it is likely to generate court proceedings that will expose Israel’s behaviour towards Palestine as illegal according to international law, and its own provisions as unlawful in the UK.

In short, it will create a multitude of problems without solving any at all.

The only reason for the attempt to enshrine it in law, then, is financial. Or so it seems to me. Can anyone suggest an alternative?


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Israeli invaders murder eight Palestinians in Jenin; they are defended by tin-eared MPs

Hard to believe: as Israeli troops murder more Palestinians, the UK government is trying to remove our right to protest against the occupation of Palestine.

This is one instance in which the timing of an event is tragic.

The Israeli government always says it is defending that country when it launches these attacks – but This Writer finds it hard to believe when these operations always seem to take place on Palestinian soil (for an obvious example). These anti-terrorist operations never seem to happen in Tel Aviv – do they?

Consider also:

The reference to Russia and Ukraine is timely. Russian troops are known to have treated Ukrainians in invaded territory in ways that are more or less universally considered abhorrent, yet Israelis apparently avoid assessment by the same yardstick when they attack and kill Palestinians, including children.

And on the day when the latest Israeli atrocity comes to light, MPs in the UK were being asked to support that country by banning local authorities from campaigning against it, boycotting its goods or sanctioning it.

The wording of the legislation tries to obscure this by saying it’s about stopping councils pursuing their own foreign policy agendas but the upshot will be that local democracy will be overridden by a central government diktat ordering councils to support a country that has invaded a neighbour and is slowly destroying it.

Critics say the Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill is inconsistent with longstanding UK foreign policy towards the Occupied Palestinian Territories because it specifically names them, along with Israel and the occupied Golan Heights (Syria), as places for which the Bill’s provisions must apply.

This undermines longstanding UK government policy that calls for an end to Israel’s military occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

In other words, councils that follow a boycott, divestment and sanctions policy against Israel over its occupation of Palestinian territories are in fact in line with UK government policy.

The situation is worsened by the fact that the Bill makes provision for its restrictions to be lifted with regard to particular countries, with Russia and Belarus as named examples.

That didn’t stop the usual useful idiots from standing up to support Israel:

How is it anti-Semitic to use economic means to express discontent with an oppressive political regime? It isn’t.

Thankfully, there was at least one voice of reason – and it was also the usual one:

Mr Corbyn spoke about events in Jenin during the debate:

He wasn’t the only one, either:

(In fairness, it seems other good points have been made in the debate – such as the possibility that the Bill will attract animosity towards Jewish members of the community, under the pretense that they represent the one nation that appears to be exempt from any criticism at all.)

The result of the vote (which has not taken place at the time of writing) will be revealing – although possibly not in the way some MPs hope.

It will show us which of them think it is okay to undermine UK democracy to support invading murderers. We should use that information to remove those MPs at the next election.


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The news in tweets: Sunday, July 2, 2023

An average-sized class at a state-run school in England, due to teachers quitting over pay? No, not really. But it seems Labour doesn’t have any answers to the exodus from the blackboard because Labour won’t offer a decent pay rise either.

Vox Political is changing focus slightly – to concentrate (if possible) on the undercurrents that are driving the major political issues facing the United Kingdom (and, where appropriate, the rest of the world).

It isn’t an easy shift for This Writer. I’m going to be thinking that I’m missing important matters if I’m not writing about them all the time.

So here’s a compromise: The news in tweets (or whatever other means it comes to me).

The idea is to have something denoting the political stories of the day, even if I’m not actually devoting any time to actually analysing what’s going on.

Perhaps if you think I should go in-depth on a particular topic, you could comment in and let me know?

Let’s see what’s been happening on Sunday, July 2, 2023:

Labour ‘more Tory than Tories’ on teachers’ pay

Contradictorily, the BBC is reporting that Labour wants to give teachers a £2,400 bonus to keep them from quitting, and would restore the requirement for new teachers to have a formal teaching qualification or be working towards one – a demand that the Coalition (Conservative/Liberal Democrat) government scrapped in 2012 to allow unqualified teachers to take jobs in their disastrous “Free Schools” experiment.

Sunak said to have reduced university funding because students don’t vote Tory

Michael Howard reckons it was right to privatise water

The gist is that water was far down the list for investment under the Thatcher Conservative government, and privatisation was the best way to get that utility the investment it needed.

He’s wrong, of course, because we know now that privatisation didn’t launch a flood (sorry) of investment. In fact, shareholders have taken nearly twice as much from privatised water firms as they put in, while putting no money at all towards restoring the crumbling Victorian infrastructure.

The expectation is that the losses will be underwritten by the public purse, while the money we pay in our bills will go into the bank accounts of private shareholders. It’s a con-job; a racket.

Leading (alleged) figures in anti-Corbyn witch-hunt named

These are allegations; use your own judgement when watching the documentary – as you should when watching anything the BBC etc have put out about this.

Labour to abstain on anti-BDS Bill to help Israel

The anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Bill is clearly an attempt to clamp down on the freedom of people in the United Kingdom to make their own choices about whether to support governments of foreign countries that act in repressive ways.

As such, it should be opposed. Write to your MP via TheyWorkForYou.com or WriteToThem.com and make it clear that the people of the UK should not have their choices dictated by their government (or, as it seems in this case, a completely different country’s government).

Rishi Sunak wants unqualified people to be your dentists

Seriously!

Would he let somebody who isn’t a fully-qualified dentist work on his own teeth? I don’t think so.

Therefore he should not be foisting such people on the rest of us. This is more Tory “One Rule For Us”-ism.

Does anybody remember the “Backstreet Dentists” skit from satire show The Day Today?

Energy bills to stay high to give shareholders more fat profits

Home Office places lone child in hotel where others have gone missing

Clearly the decision-maker needs to be put under the spotlight and made to explain their intention in exposing a nine-year-old child to this risk.

If that doesn’t happen, you need to draw the logical conclusion about your government’s attitude to child trafficking.

Nigel Farage is cut off from his bank account. Why?


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Priti Patel doesn’t seem to know what BDS is about. Is that why she wants to ban it?

Smug supporter of apartheid: this was the look on Priti Patel’s face when she left Downing Street in November 2017, having been forced to resign from Theresa May’s Cabinet for trying to run her own foreign policy, apparently as an asset of Israel. Now she wants to outlaw the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign in another overt display of support for that country’s persecution of Palestinians.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against apartheid Israel is “racist and anti-Semitic”, according to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel who seems not to understand what it is about.

“Holding the Jewish community collectively responsible for what happens in the Middle East by my definition is racist,” Patel said.

But that is not what BDS does. It holds Israel responsible for the actions of its government against the people of Palestine.

Israel is not “the Jewish community” and Palestine is not “what happens in the Middle East” – unless the person suggesting it is deliberately trying to blur the issues, or doesn’t understand them.

This Writer is not going to put forward an opinion on which of those best sums up Patel’s mindset.

But I will point out that she was ordered to resign from Theresa May’s Cabinet after she had been exposed as trying to run her own foreign policy, independent of the UK’s, favouring Israel.

To quote the Another Angry Voice article of the time that best sums up her behaviour,

Priti Patel decided to completely ignore the ministerial code of conduct by holding a number of political meetings in Israel without informing the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, without informing the UK embassy in Israel, and without informing the Prime Minister.

She then dug herself deeper into her hole when she was caught by lying that the Foreign Office had known about her meetings at the time, and ‘forgetting’ to mention the most significant meeting of all that she had with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

She … only admitted this stuff because she got caught, and that it would all still be secret if she hadn’t been busted.

For Priti Patel to have arranged all these meetings in secret, it seems highly likely that she would have used her own communications devices to make the arrangements, rather than a FCO approved device. An obvious security risk.

The next thing to note is that all FCO approved meetings require security and sweeping for bugs. Presumably none of that happened, which is another security risk.

The next problem is that no proper records were kept of the meetings, or what was discussed in the meetings, which opens Patel up to suspicions that she could have subjected to blackmail or bribery, especially if she then starts behaving in the interest of the foreign state.

Which brings us to Patel’s conduct upon her return to the UK: She quickly started making inquiries into whether part of the UK Foreign Aid budget could be diverted in order to fund the Israeli military in the occupied Golan Heights (a policy that would have been in Israel’s interests, and that a significant percentage of British people would have been horrified by).

Additionally she told nobody that she was making these inquiries about using the foreign aid budget to fund the Israeli military as a result of her secretive meetings in Israel.

This request makes it seem that Patel was behaving like an asset of the Israeli state, working on their behalf as an operative within the UK government.

Doesn’t that seem an accurate description of Patel’s activities now – “behaving like an asset of the Israeli state, working on their behalf as an operative within the UK government”?

Source: ‘BDS movement is antisemitic,’ British Home Secretary says

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Banning UK citizens from protesting against Israel’s government is anti-democratic. Here’s why

Anti-Semitism? The Tory government’s plan to ban public bodies from taking part in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against a murderous foreign apartheid regime will be painted as a crusade against anti-Semitism. But it is one that will lack accurate evidence.

One of the (many) planned laws in Boris Johnson’s new legislative programme is one said to “prevent public bodies from adopting their own approach to international relations” by adopting ethical positions against foreign human rights abusers with boycotts of their exports.

It is widely understood that Johnson’s aim is to protect the government of Israel from the growing BDS movement, which seeks to end that country’s apartheid regime in Palestine.

This is – of course – hugely undemocratic. Local authorities and the devolved governments are elected by the UK’s voters and should be allowed to procure goods and services as they see fit, including according to a higher standard of ethics than that of the national UK government itself.

In essence, it seems the legislation is intended to smear those who refuse to tolerate the Israeli persecution of Palestine as anti-Semites. For some of us, it’s a familiar tactic.

Many people, including This Writer, have already been smeared as anti-Semites for opposing the harmful – indeed, homicidal – activities of a national government that presents itself as representing an entire ethnic group (it doesn’t; many Jews around the world are repulsed by the way Palestine is being treated).

Perversely, it is anti-racism campaigners who are being branded as anti-Semites – a brand that the UK’s own government intends to burn into local authorities, devolved governments and other public bodies if they insist on acting against the persecution of Palestine.

You can find out more about what has already happened – and help fight what is happening now – by visiting the website of a relatively new organisation whose title states exactly what it is about: the Campaign Against Bogus Antisemitism.

The organisation’s website states: “It is deeply hurtful to anti-racist campaigners to be branded as antisemitic. People are broken by the embarrassment and shame of attacks they suffer in the media, there for friends, family and other campaigning bodies to see – as if it were the truth… CABA aims to help set the record straight.

“We are a volunteer-led group dedicated to exposing and countering bogus antisemitism- through education and championing those unjustly accused.

“We are building a network of activists across UK, Palestine and further afield, working in a concerted manner, campaigning to allow us to decry apartheid in Israel without being branded ‘anti-Semites’.”

There’s a lot of information on the CABA site – This Writer hasn’t been able to read all of it, and I’m sure that much of it will be disputed by those with an interest in doing so.

But the intention seems an honest one – which is more than the Tory government can offer with its pro-racist, pro-apartheid planned law.

Give it a look and judge for yourself. You may learn a lot.

Source: About Us- and Joining – Campaign Against BOGUS Antisemitism

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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