The Trade Union Congress yesterday joined more than 60 organisations including tade unions, human rights and climate action campaigns in opposing the government’s Anti-Boycott Bill.
The bill would prohibit public bodies, including universities and councils from supporting BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) on issues that the government deem not in line with their foreign policy.
It does not prohibit individuals and other organisations from advocating BDS but could well have a chilling effect, particularly if extended to other issues as is happening in the USA.
This is the Trade Union Congress motion that was moved by the National Education Union and seconded by UNISON that was passed yesterday.
A motion opposing the Bill is on the agenda for the Green Party Autumn Conference,
The current right-wing Israeli Government, having launched its biggest military incursion in the West Bank in two decades, is announcing new illegal settlements, expelling Palestinians from East Jerusalem and Masafer Yatta, demolishing homes and schools, and failing to prevent armed settlers from rampaging through villages killing and attacking Palestinians, destroying homes and agricultural lands.
The Israeli military has this year killed more than 180 Palestinians.
Congress further notes:
The Government’s Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill would undermine ethical investment and procurement by public bodies by restricting the consideration of human and workers’ rights, international law and environmental concerns, linked to the behaviour of a foreign state. It damages freedom of speech, local democracy, devolution and pension scheme members’ rights.
The legislation would shield the Israeli government from accountability, alongside companies complicit in its occupation, by legislating to silence those trying to achieve change.
Any attempt to delegitimise the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions and to suggest that Palestinians should be denied the right to appeal to people of conscience for support, must be rejected.
The ability of public authorities, including public sector pension funds, to divest from companies responsible for violations of human rights should be defended.
Such legislation could have blocked the boycott of goods and companies complicit in Apartheid South Africa.
Congress resolves to:
Reaffirm support for Palestinian rights, including our commitment to “boycott the goods of companies who profit from illegal settlements, the Occupation and the construction of the Wall”.
Support the Right to Boycott coalition
Campaign with affiliates against the Bill.