Lib Dems back candidate who called for Israel boycott

Former MP Tessa Munt will remain a candidate for a target seat


Lib Dem candidate Tessa Munt

The Liberal Democrats have backed a parliamentary candidate who called for a boycott of Israeli goods and services.

Tessa Munt, the Lib Dem candidate for the target seat of Wells and Mendip Hills in Somerset, made the comments in 2014 following Israel’s campaign against Hamas in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge.

In a post on Twitter that is still online, Munt said: “Israel has crossed line in #gaza. Time has come for me to boycott goods and services.”

Asked whether Munt’s stance on Israel was shared by her party and whether any action would be taken against her, a Lib Dem Spokesperson told the JC: “These comments were made around 10 years ago and it is not party policy to boycott Israeli goods and services.”

Munt, who was MP for Wells between 2010-2015, told a local news website at the time that she was “a huge believer in ‘people power’ and whereas modern history has repeatedly proven violence to be not only ugly but useless, non-violent actions can be hugely effective.”

She added that, “the use of a boycotts is one example of non-violent action and whilst a protest march is effective in raising awareness and publicity, a boycott hits states and organisations where it hurts most – the wallet. Israel exports all sorts all sorts of things from food to financial services into the UK and we all have a choice about how we spend our money.”

Last week, Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey told the JC that he supported the government’s use of RAF jets to protect Israel from Iranian missiles and drones in April and that former Israeli PM and Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid was his “good friend”.

The Liberal Democrats’ leader denied his party was singling out Israel by supporting an arms embargo against the Jewish state, saying that they supported arms embargoes against all foreign governments listed as raising human rights concerns in the Foreign Office’s annual human rights report.

The party also backed the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s filing for arrest warrants against Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.

Davey told the JC, “we have always been a party that believes in international law… and we back the ICC where it has jurisdiction.”

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