Leicester council to boycott Israeli settlement goods


One of Britain’s biggest local authorities has voted to boycott goods from Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Councillors in Leicester condemned Israel’s actions in Gaza and the West Bank and said the boycott would stand “until Israel withdraws from Palestinian Occupied Territories”.

It is thought the ban will only apply to services run by Leicester City Council and is unlikely to have any significant impact within the Midlands city.

The motion was proposed by Labour councillor Mohammed Dawood at a meeting on November 13. Councillors likened Israel to apartheid South Africa during a 70-minute debate.

He admitted that the move would not leave the Knesset “trembling in its shoes”, but said people living in Leicester wanted to show solidarity with the Palestinians.

Mr Dawood’s plan had widespread support from Labour colleagues despite party leader Ed Miliband repeatedly outlining his opposition to boycotts of Israel.

In a statement, Leicester City Council said: “Leicester is renowned for its tolerance, diversity, unity and its strong stance against all forms of discrimination.

“Leicester City Council condemns antisemitism and all forms of racism and discrimination in the strongest possible terms.

“This is not a boycott of Israel by Leicester. The motion relates specifically to the council’s procurement policy and produce originating from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.”

Councillors in Dudley, near Birmingham, dropped a similar anti-Israel motion due to be debated tonight after the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council wrote to warn of the legal implications of such a move.

Conservative and Ukip councillors also opposed the Labour-backed policy.

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