Jewish group condemns Swansea council over boycott decision

By Josh Jackman, March 11, 2016

Jewish activists have condemned a city council for once again deciding not to rescind a boycott of Israeli companies.

The local authority in Swansea, south Wales, met on Thursday to discuss whether the council would continue to boycott businesses from Israeli settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.

A spokesman reported that the council had decided “not to rescind the notice of motion that was passed on June 17, 2010”.

Jewish Human Rights Watch, which is pursuing a judicial review at the High Court against the council, released a statement calling the decision to re-affirm the boycott “a‎nti-Jewish”.

“We have been more than reasonable,” the statement continued, “and will now have no option but to see Swansea Council in the High Court. It appears supporting‪ BDS antisemitism is more of a priority for the council than local services.”

The council has had a boycott in place for more than five years because, according to the Labour-led council’s policy, the settlements in question “contravene international law”.

Swansea Council defended the move. A spokesman said: “The council has never boycotted Israeli goods and has no intention of doing so. For legal reasons, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Labour’s Rob Stewart, leader of the council, claimed last month that despite the policy being in place, it had no practical effect because “non-commercial considerations are ignored during the council's procurement processes”.

In October, the government announced plans to amend legislation in order to stop local councils from boycotting Israel.

Last updated: 3:32pm, March 11 2016