Nandy 'would never support BDS'

The shadow foreign secretary defended Labour's plan to ban West Bank settlement goods, at a meeting for MPs


LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 16: Lisa Nandy speaking at a hustings event for Labour Leader and Deputy Leader, hosted by the Co-operative Party, at the Business Design Centre on February 16, 2020 in London, England. Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are vying to replace Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who offered to step down following his party's loss in the December 2019 general election. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

Labour's Lisa Nandy has insisted she would ''never support'' BDS against Israel. She met criticism this week from the Board of Deputies about her proposal for a ban on West Bank settlement goods if annexation does go ahead.

Speaking to a virtual meeting organised by the Labour Tribune MPs group on Thursday, the shadow foreign secretary said she had listened to concern from the Board about the ''divisive'' nature of her plan to punish the Israel government if they annexed part of the West Bank.

She said her proposal, which is backed by Sir Keir Starmer, dealt specifically with the settlement issue and had been welcomed by left-wingers in Israel, including a ''former speaker of the Knesset,'' who had written to the Labour leader this week.

Ms Nandy said it was also important to note strong opposition to annexation amongst ''Jewish communities across the globe.''

She said Labour's proposal for a settlement goods ban ''doesn't just lay down a marker that the 1967 borders for Palestine have to be respected - they also  lay down a marker that those for Israel have to be respected.

'' So this cements the notion Israel has the right to exist and must be defended."

Speaking to Labour List editor Sienna Rodgers about opposition to BDS among the Jewish community, Ms Nandy said:''You are right that the Board of Deputies felt it would divide people.

''I have had very constructive meetings with them since I took up the post. The major concern they raised was this shouldn't morph into a policy of BDS of Israel itself.''

Ms Nandy told the meeting she was aware there were ''mixed views'' about support for BDS in Labour.

But she added:''My own view is that BDS against Israel is really problematic.

''I have never supported it because of the very particular circumstances in which Israel came into being and the constant attempts to undermine the right of Israel to exist.

"It is important not to stray into that territory.''

The Wigan MP, who was backed by Jewish Labour Movement members to lead the party over the eventual winner Sir Keir, said her proposals addressed ''a question of applying international law because these are occupied Palestinian territories.''

She referred to European Union policy of ''labelling goods from those Occupied Territories so individuals can make their own consumer decisions about what to buy.''

Ms Nandy said the Conservative government were ''refusing'' to ''step up and act.'' She said we were currently at ''a dangerous moment'' and predicted a ''waiting game'' ahead of the US election in November.

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