Amendment Seeks to Block UK Public Sector from Supporting BDS, Divesting from Israel

Tory MP Robert Jenrick. (Photo: Stuart Graham, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Tory MP Robert Jenrick has introduced on Tuesday an amendment to the Public Service Pensions Bill, to prevent the UK public sector from divesting from companies complicit in Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine, the Scottish newspaper The National reported. 

According to The National, the amendment, “debated in the Commons on Tuesday, seeks to make it impossible for public sector pension schemes to make investment decisions that conflict with UK foreign policy.”

Addressing the Commons, Jernrick, who already expressed his intention to “outlaw” the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement last December, said: “Were this amendment to pass, it should merely be the beginning of a wider effort to tackle BDS within the private sector, and that we as a government make good on our manifesto commitment to a full BDS bill.”

The amendment drew condemnation from Amnesty International and other human rights groups.

In a statement released on Wednesday, a copy of which was sent to The Palestine Chronicle, UK-based organization Friends of Al-Aqsa (FoA) strongly criticized the amendment, saying that it “represents the latest attack on civil liberties in the struggle for freedom, justice and equality for Palestine.”

“Divesting public sector pension funds from companies complicit in the occupation of Palestine is a way for individuals and investors to pressure Israel into complying with international law and ceasing the human rights violations of Palestinians,” FoA statement read.

Funded in 2005 and modeled after the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS aims at pressuring Israel to meet its obligations under international law. 

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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