Lisa Nandy: I have never supported the BDS movement

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Lisa Nandy: I have never supported the BDS movement

Shadow foreign secretary, who was backed by JLM during the leadership contest, reiterates opposition to Israeli settlements but says boycotts aren't the answer

Lisa Nandy at the Jewish Labour hustings (Marc Morris Photography via Jewish News)
Lisa Nandy at the Jewish Labour hustings (Marc Morris Photography via Jewish News)

The shadow foreign secretary, Lisa Nandy, yesterday confirmed Labour’s opposition to both the BDS movement and settlements in the occupied territories.

Speaking during the Jewish Labour Movement’s One Day Conference, Nandy said: “We are opposed to the settlements. We believe they are not just a breach of international law, but by changing the facts on the ground they make a two-state solution more distanced than it would otherwise be.

“We’ve repeatedly urged the Israeli coalition Government not only to stop the settlement building, but also to drop their plans around annexation.”

The former chair of Labour Friends of Palestine added: “We’re not in favour of boycotts or the BDS (boycotts, divestments and sanctions) movement- I never have been actually. I’ve always felt that the best way to advance the situation is to take people with you. BDS pushes people away instead of bringing people together.

“What we’re trying to do is fight for the rights of people for safety, security and dignity, and also to unravel some of the harm that has been done. We want to create the context in which progress is possible.”

In July, Nandy controversially suggested that if Netanyahu’s Government pressed ahead with annexation plans, then the UK should block goods from the occupied territories.

The Wigan MP also told delegates about being inspired by her grandad who, as a Liberal MP, always felt very strongly about the establishment of Israel and played a small role in that process.

On antisemitism in the Labour Party, Nandy said: “The processes really matter and an independent process is absolutely essential. What I saw happen over the last few years was that by failing to take action, particularly on high profile cases of antisemitism, a green light was given to antisemites to find a natural home in the Labour Party.

“If you don’t create a culture that is not only welcoming to Jewish people, but also actively hostile to racism then you’re in a very bad place indeed.”

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