Under the current Tory government, people haven’t had much of a break from taking to the streets to oppose repressive planned government bills.
The Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill brought citizens out in swathes in an effort to protect their right to peaceful protest.
Migrant rights activists responded with uproar to the Nationalities and Borders Bill, which heads for the jugular of people coming to the UK in search of asylum.
Next on the agenda is the indiscreetly named ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Bill’, which aims to stop local public bodies from being able to spend according to their ethics, in particular in support of Palestinian human rights.
What does the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions bill mean?
The Queen’s Speech this May was used to announce the plans to introduce the new legislation, which it said would “prevent public bodies engaging in boycotts that undermine community cohesion”.
The proposed bill specifically aims to make it obligatory that all public institutions follow UK foreign policy when it comes to spending and investing – which would make it illegal for local councils to for example divest from Israeli weapons factories in support of Palestinian human rights.
It’s no coincidence that it’s been named the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) bill. BDS is the term Palestinian civil society uses for its call for non violent pressure on Israel until it complies with international human rights laws.
Some local councils have, for example, passed motions in support of BDS saying they will not buy goods from companies operating in illegal Israeli settlements (for example Leicester City Council did this in 2014).