Russell Brand denies he called for Israel boycott

Russell Brand has strongly denied that he called for a boycott of Israel by urging supporters to sign a petition by the online campaign website Avaaz.

The petition, addressed to the chief executives of major global companies, including Barclays, Hewlett Packard, Caterpillar and G4S, calls on them to withdraw their investments from Israel in order to be “on the right side of history”.

In a blog article for the Huffington Post, Mr Brand wrote: “No boycott against any nation was proposed. Instead a petition against businesses that profit from the horror in Gaza was set up and now has nearly 1.7million signatures.”

He continued: “This is not a boycott of Israel, or Israeli goods. I would not endorse the withdrawal of kosher goods from supermarkets which is happening in Britain. Measures like that negatively impact ordinary people who are nothing to do with this extraordinary problem.”

Mr Brand criticised Barclays when he spoke in support of the Avaaz petition last week on his Youtube programme, The Trews.

“Barclays manages the portfolio of an Israeli defence company called Elbit, which makes the drones that bomb Gaza,” he said.

Last updated: 8:16pm, August 20 2014