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LONDON: Trade unions in the UK have passed a motion in support of boycotting Israel, condemning its oppression of the Palestinian people. 

The motion, which was proposed by the National Education Union at the Trades Union Congress in Liverpool, called for political opposition to the upcoming Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill, which, if passed in Parliament, would make it harder to boycott Israel.

It also called for support for a coalition of more than 70 groups called Right to Boycott, which includes Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Liberty, the Quakers, the Methodist Church, the Muslim Association of Britain, and Na’amod: British Jews Against Occupation.

The motion stated that the bill “would undermine ethical investment and procurement by public bodies by restricting the consideration of human and workers’ rights, international law and environmental concerns, linked to the behavior of a foreign state.”

It added: “It damages freedom of speech, local democracy, devolution, and pension scheme members’ rights.”

Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said in a statement: “We welcome the passing of this important motion which confirms the enduring support of the British trade union movement for the Palestinian struggle for liberation, and its opposition to the government’s attempts to repress the BDS movement. 

“The motion importantly rejects any attempt to delegitimize the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel and companies supporting its oppression and support for that call here in the UK. 

“We urge the Labour Party leadership to pay heed to this overwhelming vote by a body representing millions of British workers, including thousands of Labour Party members.”

The Labour Party said it would oppose the government’s bill but has called suggestions the BDS campaign is solely motivated by opposition to Israeli oppression of Palestinians “problematic.”


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