UK updates Israel travel advice amid law banning boycotters

UK updates Israel travel advice amid law banning boycotters

The government is seeking clarification about the impact of an Israeli law banning those who support BDS, amid warnings UK MPs could be affected

Justin Cohen is the News Editor at the Jewish News

Britain has updated its travel advice to Israel to warn visitors of the new law banning foreigners who support boycotts – amid warnings that MPs could be affected.

The government is seeking urgent clarification of the impact on UK nationals amid warnings that politicians and Jewish supporters of a partial boycott could be affected. As well as individuals who back a wholesale boycott or those targeting settlement goods, it also applies to representatives of organisations that support settlement boycotts.

The foreign office has now included details of the law in its travel advisory and called on concerned potential visitors to the contact the Israeli embassy for further information.

The Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council, New Israel Fund, Union of Jewish Students (UJS), Jewish Labour Movement and Trade Union Friends of Israel were among those branding the move “anti-democratic”, “indiscriminate” and “deeply problematic”.

Jewish student leaders said this would have profound impli- cations for Jewish students who join the National Union of Stu- dents (NUS), or for non-Jewish student union leaders who personally oppose boycotts but whose own unions voted for it.

A list of more than 100 MPs who could be impacted by the law, including Jeremy Corbyn, has been published by Palestine activist Gary Spedding.

A spokesperson for the Labour leader said: “Jeremy is not in favour of the academic or cultural boycott of Israel or a blanket boycott of Israeli goods. He does support targeted boycotts aimed at undermining the existence of illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory. Banning people on the basis of this widely-held position would be clearly wrong.”

The list includes of those potentially affected if the law is fully applied includes of Labour MPs but also some Tories including foreign office minister Alan Duncan.

Joan Ryan MP, chair of Labour Friends of Israel, said: “We would want to do all we can to ensure any MP who wanted to visit can. Seeing the country is hugely important.”

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