An anti-Israel demonstration in the UK. (AP/Alastair Grant) (AP/Alastair Grant)
Anti-Israel boycott UK

Asserting its right to formulate foreign policy, the central government in the United Kingdom is preventing local councils from boycotting Israel.

The United Kingdom is curbing local municipalities’ abilities to boycott Israel and support the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Sanction, Divest) movement.

The Guardian reported Sunday that 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.

The directives, which will be issued in a few weeks, are expected to make clear that councils’ procurement and investment policies must be consistent with UK government foreign policy.

“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.”

The Independent reported that the move could prevent local authorities from refusing to trade with, or excluding from their pension fund portfolios, companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products and Israeli companies based in Judea and Samaria.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade condemned the new directives as a curtailing of local democracy and decision-making.