The United Kingdom plans to step up its fight against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, British Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock said Tuesday during a visit to Israel.
The British government is currently pursuing a new bill that would prevent public bodies, universities, and student unions from boycotting Israeli products.
Hancock is leading a visiting delegation of British lawmakers. The new bill aims to prevent any public body from imposing a boycott on a World Trade Organization member, which Israel has been since 1995. The regulation will essentially outlaw boycotting Israeli products—a threat often made against goods produced in Judea and Samaria—and allow the British government to take legal action against organizations that impose such boycotts.
Hancock met Tuesday with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who heads the Israeli government’s public diplomacy efforts against the BDS movement.
Also on Tuesday, the Paris Municipality approved a bill barring city departments and city-affiliated organizations from hosting events or fostering ties with the BDS movement or any other group urging divestment from Israel or boycotting Israeli products.
“The Paris Municipality condemns the boycott of Israel, opposes any initiative to isolate Israel, and clearly states its commitment to promoting a nonviolent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, through strengthening its ties with Israeli and Palestinian cities,” the French capital’s administration said in a statement quoted by the Walla news website.
The bill was sponsored by the French Republican Party. In a statement issued after the vote, the party said BDS efforts are “divisive and hateful,” and “have no place in Paris.”