Anti-Israel activists. (AP/Tony Gutierrez)

A Jewish group has launched a lawsuit against British local authorities that called for boycotts of goods from Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, saying the actions are anti-Semitic.

Jewish Human Rights Watch is asking the High Court to rule against three councils: Leicester in England and Swansea and Gwynedd in Wales. It claims the authorities have failed to consider “the impact of their actions on the Jewish community.”

Leicester and Swansea councils claim their resolutions calling for sanctions are nonbinding, apply only to so-called “illegal settlements” and are not attacks on the state of Israel.

Gwynedd says it backed a trade embargo with Israel in 2014 to condemn “attacks by the Israeli state on the territory of the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.”

A two-day court hearing in the case began Wednesday.

In the meantime, the UK’s central government is curbing local municipalities’ abilities to boycott Israel and support the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Sanction, Divest) movement.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has confirmed it is drawing up new guidelines to prevent local authorities from mounting their own local campaigns against Israel.

“Councils should not be using pensions and procurement policies to pursue their own boycotts and sanctions against foreign nations,” a DCLG spokesman said.

“We are tightening up the rules to ensure taxpayers’ and the UK’s interests are protected.”

By: AP and United with Israel Staff