It was announced today in the Queen’s Speech, in which Her Majesty announces the Government’s legislative agenda, that a new law will be passed banning public bodies from joining in with the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, on the grounds that it “may legitimise antisemitism”.
According to the Government’s official documentation, the purpose of the legislation is to “deliver the manifesto commitment to stop public bodies from imposing their own approach or views about international relations, through preventing boycott, divestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries.”
The document also acknowledges the long-standing connections between the BDS movement and antisemitism, stating that: “Unofficial boycotts have been associated with antisemitism in the United Kingdom — including kosher food being removed from supermarket shelves, Jewish films being banned from a film festival and a student union holding a vote on blocking the formation of a Jewish student society.”
While boycotting a country is neither illegal nor racist per se, the problem with BDS is that it is no mere boycott. Supporters of BDS routinely engage the International Definition of Antisemitism by:
- Setting political tests which Jews must pass, or face being treated as a pariah, especially by demanding that Jews renounce their cultural and religious ties to Israel, the physical centre of the Jewish religion, the world’s only Jewish state, and the country in which almost half of the world’s Jewish population lives;
- Attempting to isolate and shame Israeli Jews, but not Israeli non-Jews, who do not support BDS when they visit Britain or come to study or teach at British universities;
- Treating the entirety of the State of Israel as occupied land, and thereby asserting that the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavour;
- Working with genocidal antisemitic terrorist organisations;
- Claiming that Israeli policy is to deliberately kill babies, or harvest the vital organs of non-Jews, which revives ancient blood libels;
- Attempting to portray Israeli Jews as having created a Nazi state in the model of Nazi Germany, and of ‘using’ the Holocaust as political cover for purported Jewish crimes;
- Defending against claims of antisemitism by proposing that the allegations are a ruse used by Jewish victims, not to call out racism but to silence criticism of Israel;
- Projecting antisemitic conspiracy myths about nefarious Jewish power onto the Jewish state.
Campaign Against Antisemitism applauds the Government’s latest efforts in tackling antisemitism in Britain.