Pro-Palestine activist movements in the UK have condemned the proposed anti-BDS law.
Some of the groups shared their views with The New Arab in this article, pledging to fight the bill before it becomes law.
The pro-Palestine Friends of al-Aqsa activist group has released a statement condemning the planned legislation.
"FOA is extremely concerned by the reference to “legislation [which] will prevent public bodies engaging in boycotts that undermine community cohesion” in the Queen’s Speech today. In a free society public bodies must have the right to make ethical choices," the group said.
"The right to boycott, divest from and sanction those who abuse human rights and fail to comply with international law must be upheld. FOA remains committed to protecting the right of public bodies to make ethical choices through BDS."
The Tories want to ban public bodies from engaging in BDS and other ethical boycotts on the grounds of protecting Jews.— JSA #Jews4Democracy #ResistTheBoycottBill (@JewishSolidAct) May 8, 2022
This morning, Jewish activists were out on Westminster Bridge to say loud and clear: Not In Our Name! #JewsForDemocracy #ResistTheBoycottBill pic.twitter.com/2nE0ZNSfJF
Jewish Solidarity Action held a protest at Westminster Bridge near parliament on Sunday morning against the anti-BDS bill.
Other UK Jewish groups, such as Na'amod have also voiced opposition to the outlawing of BDS.
The UK's Palestine Solidarity Campaign has issued a strongly-worded statement against the anti-BDS bill and called on activists to resist its transition to law.
"Queen's Speech confirms that the UK Gov will pursue its ‘anti-boycott bill’ to prevent public bodies from deciding not to do business with companies abusing human rights and our planet. This must be opposed!" the group wrote on Twitter.
Breaking: Queen's Speech confirms that the UK Gov will pursue its ‘anti-boycott bill’ to prevent public bodies from deciding not to do business with companies abusing human rights and our planet. This must be opposed! Share the #RightToBoycott statement: https://t.co/0FyK2I0F7o pic.twitter.com/L7Mfkr66ZQ— PSC (@PSCupdates) May 10, 2022
The New Arab has already looked at the impact this legislation could have on pro-Palestine activism in the UK.
Former Labour MP Martin Linton said the touted anti-BDS law is inspired by anti-BDS legislation in the US.
He suggested that the Conservative government might still face challenges in implementing its favoured anti-BDS law, even if it were included in the Queen's Speech.
"You might think that, as we do not have a written constitution in the UK, this cannot happen over here. But you’d be wrong. The UK’s Supreme Court has already blocked the government’s first attempt to ban BDS," he wrote.
Despite this, the suggested law is yet another challenge pro-Palestine activists in the UK.
If some Conservatives privately concede that, as Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal, trade with settlements should also be illegal - then why are the Tories set to announce an anti-BDS law in the Queen's Speech next week?https://t.co/7NPlvVkJn0— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) May 7, 2022
The UK government is preparing legislation to ban public bodies supporting the BDS movement.
Proposed legislation announced in the Queen's Speech on Tuesday said that the Conservative government would "prevent public bodies engaging in boycotts that undermine community cohesion".
"The Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Bill will stop public bodies [from] imposing their own boycotts on foreign countries," the BBC reported.
The chilling law would essentially ban public bodies from supporting the peaceful BDS movement, which aims to pressure Israel to comply with international law and end its illegal occupation of the West Bank through the promotion of boycotts and sanctions.