Israel boycott

Charity pushes for global Israel boycott

By Bernard Josephs, July 16, 2009

Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, has complained to the Charity Commission about a potential breach of its guidelines by the charity War on Want.

Mr Lauder wrote in the wake of last week’s London launch of a book accusing Israel of human rights abuses, an event at which War on Want called for a worldwide boycott of Israel.

The stormy meeting at Toynbee Hall, hosted by the charity, and featuring journalist Ben White, author of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide, saw sharp exchanges between members of the audience and a small group of pro-Israel participants.

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Anti-Israel lobby wins arms ban from UK government

By Bernard Josephs and Anshel Pfeffer, July 16, 2009

The Foreign Office this week denied imposing a partial arms embargo on Israel, despite its decision to ban spare parts for Israeli naval vessels used during its winter operation in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead.

The news broke as 26 Israeli soldiers claimed that the IDF had committed war crimes during the Gaza operation.

On Monday, the government, in response to a sustained campaign from pro-Palestinian groups and parliamentarians, announced the cancellation of five export licences for equipment to upgrade weaponry on 4.5 Saar Corvettes.

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UK cuts arms licences to Israel after Gaza

By Jessica Elgot, July 13, 2009

The UK government has revoked the licenses of five arms companies to supply to the Israeli military with spare parts for guns on Sa'ar 4.5 ships.

British officials have confirmed that the ban was imposed because the supplies were being used by Israeli battleships which participated in the attack on Gaza.

The UK has claimed this would have violated the security agreements between Britain and Israel, which specifies how British equipment can be used by buyers.

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Stop boycotting, Miliband tells unions

By Leon Symons, June 25, 2009

The Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, has expressed dismay that Israel boycotts are being discussed by trade union congresses and conferences.

He said this week: “Ivan Lewis, minister of state responsible for the Middle East, is meeting representatives of leading British unions in order to make clear the government’s firm belief that calls for boycotts of Israel cannot and do not contribute to peace.

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Academics pass boycott motion

May 28, 2009

Members of the University and College Union defied a warning from their leadership and passed a motion in support of boycotting Israel at their annual congress in Bournemouth.

They voted to support “the Palestinian call for a boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign”.

But the union’s executive had warned that it would be declared null and void following legal advice that the resolution would be unlawful because “it is likely to be viewed… as a call to boycott Israeli academic institutions”.

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Edinburgh film woman hits back

By Marcus Dysch, May 27, 2009

The Israeli film director at the centre of an argument over film festival funding has hit back at anti-Israel campaigners.

Tali Shalom Ezer said she was “outraged” at comments made by controversial director Ken Loach, in which he claimed Israel had conducted “massacres and state terrorism in Gaza”.

Following Mr Loach’s remarks, organisers of the Edinburgh International Film Festival rejected a £300 donation from the Israeli Embassy.

The money was to be used to fly Ms Shalom Ezer to Scotland for the screening of her debut film, Surrogate.

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Boycott warning at UCU congress

By Simon Rocker, May 27, 2009

Academics heading for their annual congress this week were warned by their leaders that any call for a boycott of Israel would be declared null and void.

Half a dozen motions of varying degrees of hostility towards Israel were tabled for debate on today (Wednesday afternoon) on the first day of the congress of the University and College Union in Bournemouth.

But the union’s executive warned that two of them could bring legal repercussions by targeting Israeli institutions.

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Sir Jeremy blasts Edinburgh Film Festival for boycott ‘capitulation’

By Marcus Dysch, May 21, 2009

Anti-Israel campaigners have succeeded in forcing the Edinburgh International Film Festival to return funding from the Israeli Embassy.

Members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign had threatened to picket the event in June unless £300, which was to be used to fly Israeli director Tali Shalom Ezer to Scotland, was rejected.

Festival organisers said the decision was not a result of those threats, but was instead based on comments made by film director Ken Loach, speaking on behalf of the SPSC.

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New boycott threat from UCU

By Simon Rocker, May 7, 2009

Anti-boycott campaigners fear that a fresh attempt could be made to implement sanctions against Israeli universities when higher education lecturers meet at their annual union congress at the end of the month.

The University and College Union refused to comment on whether any debate on Israel would take place, saying that the agenda for the meeting in Bournemouth in three weeks will be published next week.

But the JC has learned that the union’s national executive has approved the submission of three motions on “Palestine”, raising the alarm among anti-boycott activists.

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Scottish union boycott ‘will breach Race Act’

By Marcus Dysch and Stephanie Brickman, April 30, 2009

The Scottish Trade Union Congress has backed a boycott of Israel, claiming the country has breached international law and human rights.

But the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) said the boycott breached the Race Relations Act.

STUC members agreed to recommendations put forward after a two-year investigation by the organisation itself, which included sending a delegation to Israel and the Palestinian territories in March.

It said its action would not target kosher food produced in Israel as it did not want to affect religious observance.

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