Say NO to the anti-boycott bill
The UK government is trying to restrict our collective right to campaign for justice. The newly introduced ‘anti-boycott’ bill – officially titled the Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) BIll – makes it illegal for local councils, universities, and other UK public bodies to make their own ethical decisions about who to do business with – such as deciding to boycott human rights-abusing companies. Instead, they will be forced to follow UK government foreign policy.
The bill expressly singles out Israel and the territory it occupies as absolutely protected from boycott initiatives, ensuring immunity for Israel’s crimes. Israel’s settlements are entirely illegal under international law, and the UK government has consistently recognised this. But this bill effectively follows in the footsteps of former US President Trump – legitimising Israel’s illegal settlements by requiring Israel, and the territory it illegally occupies, to be treated in the same way.
This bill is a clear attack on the grassroots, Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which aims to end government and corporate complicity in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.
It also has huge ramifications for all of us campaigning for justice – from those taking on the UK arms industry to the climate justice movement. This new legislation tries to rob social movements of a vital tool – the power to boycott – used to generate pressure to end human rights abuses. It is an attack on freedom of expression and our right to protest.
All organisations, including public bodies, should have a right to make ethical investment decisions in line with international law, and we all have a duty to end ties with companies that do harm, from fossil fuel companies to companies benefiting from Israel’s apartheid regime.
Show your opposition to the government's anti-boycott bill by adding your name here.
We’ll follow up with more campaign actions you can take to fight this bill in the coming weeks.