British ministers advance bill to stop councils from boycotting Israel

British ministers push forward the U.K.’s plan to prevent local councils and public bodies from boycotting Israel.

British Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, is due to push forward the U.K. government’s long-anticipated plan to prevent further boycotts against Israel, reports the JNS.

The bill would prevent local councils and public bodies from adopting “their own foreign policy” and stop local authority pension funds from backing BDS sanctions against U.K. companies connected with Israel.

The proposed legislation was initially mentioned in Queen Elizabeth’s speech at the opening of parliament in 2022, and it is now also part of the Conservative government’s efforts to curtail antisemitism in the United Kingdom.

According to previous statements, Gove believes that the BDS campaign is designed for only one purpose: to attack and delegitimise the State of Israel and the very idea that there should be a Jewish state at all.

ELNET UK, a non-profit organisation dedicated to strengthening relations between Europe and Israel, expressed support for the proposed legislation, welcoming the idea of taking a stronger stand against the BDS movement. Members of the Jewish community also welcomed the bill.

The proposed legislation has been criticised by left-leaning organisations, media, student bodies, and civil society groups, who accuse the government of trying to curtail free speech.