Northern Ireland council backs down on boycott

A council’s plan to boycott Israel has been shelved after pro-Israel lawyers warned that it could break the law.

Members of Newry and Mourne District Council in Northern Ireland were expected to vote on a motion at a meeting on Monday.

But councillors decided to postpone the decision until September after the UK Lawyers for Israel group informed them a boycott could be in breach of equality legislation.

Social Democratic and Labour Party councillor Connaire McGreevy had proposed banning all “trade and investment” because of “Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian and Syrian territories”.

UKLFI wrote to council chief executive Tom McCall warning that the motion could breach the authority’s own constitution and be “discriminatory”.

The group also accused the Palestine Solidarity Society at Queen’s University Belfast of promoting “unlawful action”.

UKLFI director David Lewis said the movers of the motion had shown “responsibility” in withdrawing it.

A spokesman for the QUB Palestine Solidarity Society said he was “disgusted” by UKLFI’s involvement.

Cllr McGreevy did not respond to requests for a comment.

Last updated: 11:45am, July 5 2013