UK remains opposed to isolating Israel
The British government remains opposed to attempts, led by trade unions and pro-Palestinian organisations, to isolate the Israeli regime.
London, Nov 12, (IRNA) -- “I reiterate that the United Kingdom believes that disinvestment, sanctions and boycotts directed at Israel would be counter productive,” said Foreign Office Minister Baroness Kinnock.
“Isolation of Israel would advance neither Britain’s influence nor, most important, the prospects of peace in the Middle East,” Kinnock insisted during a parliamentary debate on Wednesday.
The debate comes as two of the UK’s largest food-store chains are facing a week of protests for marketing Israeli goods, especially those produced by illegal settlements in the occupied territories.
Kinnock said that the UK was working with the European Union “to ensure that goods from settlements do not benefit from the EU trading agreements with Israel” but did not support a ban.
“We believe that this is an issue of individual choice and that all retailers and consumers should have the information that they need to decide what produce they wish to buy,” she said.
Food and goods from illegal settlements have been persistently falsely labelled as being produced in Israel for many years, but the minister said the government was still “exploring the possibility of improving the labelling of produce from the West Bank.”
At their annual congress in September, British trade unions voted overwhelmingly to support the boycott, divestment and sanction campaign against Israel, the first motion of its kind since the boycott campaign helped to end apartheid in South Africa.
Former head of Britain’s diplomatic service Lord Wright questioned whether the government accepted that calls for an Israeli boycott reflected “genuine and justifiable concern about the constant erosion of Palestinian rights in the Occupied Territories.”
This, the independent peer said, was based not least on “the continuing expansion of illegal settlements in both the West Bank and Jerusalem in spite of President Obama’s demands that there should be an immediate and total freezing of all settlement activity.”
Kinnock said that the government agreed that Israel’s settlements are is “illegal” and consistently take the issue up with the Zionist regime to freeze all such activity. #