Former Israeli President Shimon Peres watches as British Prime Minister David Cameron signs a visitors book in Jerusalem Wednesday, March 12, 2014. Cameron was visiting Israel to vow support in rejecting boycott attempts against the Jewish state. (AP/Dan Balilty)
UK pension companies will be allowed to boycott Israeli investments, following a judicial review which found the government had acted unlawfully.
The UK High Court ruled in favor of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), finding that the government’s guidance, preventing divestment on an ethical basis, had been unlawful.
The judgment also said that “anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian campaigning is not in itself anti-Semitic”
Hugh Lanning, Chair of the PSC said: “Absolutely everyone has a right to peacefully protest Israel’s violation of Palestinian human rights.
“This ruling upholds the right of local councils and their pension funds to invest ethically without political interference from the government of the day.”
The PSC drew comparisons in their case with similar campaigns, leading to the financial withdrawal from institutions in apartheid South Africa in the 1980s.
The case, heard by Sir Ross Cranston at the High Court of Justice in London, centered on an ideological battle between the UK government run by the Conservative Party, and local governments mostly controlled by Labour administrations.
The central government in Westminster has consistently said that plans to divest from Israeli investments are “inappropriate” as it claims they run contrary to UK foreign and defense policies.
The boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign began in 2005 after the Palestinian civil society called for a boycott until Israel began to change its policies.
“Our recent YouGov polling shows 43 percent of the public think BDS is reasonable,” said Ben Jamal, Director of PSC.
“We couldn’t be happier that this right has been upheld by the Court in the month the illegal occupation of Palestine turns fifty years old,” he added.
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