The UK Government is to introduce mechanisms to prevent local governments and public bodies from boycotting so-called “unethical” companies.

This week, Minister Matthew Hancock visited Israel together with a trade delegation, and announced the new measures, designed, in part, to prevent local government, and even student unions, from implementing BDS against Israel.

At their press conference, PM Netanyahu said:

You come at a propitious time.

The experience of our people is this, that anti-Semitism has been perhaps the world’s oldest and most enduring hatred. For centuries the worst slanders were leveled at the Jews. The Jewish people were accused of being the source of all instability, the well-poisoners of the earth, the deliberate murderers of children and drinkers of their blood.

That habit did not die. In modern times, modern anti-Semitism not only attacks individual Jews, but attacks them collectively, and the slanders that were hurled over centuries against the Jewish people are now hurled against the Jewish state.

We are once again being accused of being the source of all this tremendous instability around us that is plaguing the entire world; we’re accused of being deliberate murderers of children and so many other slanders.

The best example of this anti-Israel obsession is in the United Nations Human Rights Council, that devotes 60% of its country resolutions, 60%, not against Syria, not against Iran, not against North Korea, or Libya, but against Israel, the Middle East one and only democracy.

So in this context that I want to commend the British government for refusing to discriminate against Israel and Israelis and I commend you for standing up for the one and only true democracy in the Middle East.

Minster Hancock responded:

It’s a great pleasure to be here and to not only engage in a trade delegation which I brought with me… but also to be able to announce today that we are publishing new guidance for public authorities in the UK that makes clear that discriminating against members of the WTO, including Israel, is wrong and it is illegal and it must stop.

And we do this because we believe in an open and free trade and we believe that discrimination is not appropriate and should be stood up to.

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