The British government is set to introduce legislation that will stop local councils from bringing in BDS policies targeting Israel.
The “BDS bill” was announced during the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday marking the opening of the new UK parliamentary session.
The speech was read by Prince Charles for the first time, replacing 96-year old Queen Elizabeth, CBC News reported.
The speech, which introduces the government’s agenda for the coming parliament, detailed that the government’s anti-BDS measures would “prevent public bodies engaging in boycotts that undermine community cohesion.”
Delivering the speech, Prince Charles said that the bill would “ban boycotts that undermine community cohesion.”
The anti-BDS bill makes good on a 2019 promise by the Conservative Party to ban local authorities from “adopting their own approach to international relations,” including boycotts which the government said “may legitimize and drive antisemitism” by singling out Israel, the UK Jewish News reported.
The legislation would bar public bodies from enacting boycott campaigns against foreign countries or officials if such campaigns as “inconsistent with official UK policy.”
Local authorities would also be unable to target goods and services from foreign countries and UK companies trading with foreign countries through BDS.
The measure noted that boycotts not only target Israel but also the UK Jewish community and have “contributed to the horrific rise of antisemitism in the UK.”