Dr Mike Evans

Queen’s bill includes talk of legislation to stop BDS in UK

The Queen’s annual speech to Parliament this week included words to address a bill to stop BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) practices against Israel that may legitimatize antisemitism.

The yearly speech to lawmakers provided an overview of policies for discussion during the upcoming political session, including the anti-BDS proposal that follows a 2019 BDS and Sanctions Bill.

Prince Charles read the Queen’s speech on her behalf on Tuesday. The Queen announced on Monday that she would miss the opening of Parliament.

The Prince clearly noted the inclusion of the anti-BDS effort to ban “boycotts that undermine community cohesion” in his reading of the speech.

At least two cities in the U.K. have passed efforts in favor of BDS practices in recent years, seeking to boycott goods from Israel. The new bill would oppose this practice, arguing that the efforts also add to the rise of antisemitism in the U.K.

The nod to Israel and the effort to ban BDS practices was not warmly received by everyone. A coalition of 46 U.K. groups released a statement noting they opposed such plans, claiming they present a “threat to freedom of expression, and the ability of public bodies and democratic institutions to spend, invest and trade ethically in line with international law and human rights.”

The controversy takes on even more significance as news spread this week regarding and American journalist working as an Arabic-speaking correspondent for Al Jazeerawho was shot and killed during a firefight between Israeli Defense Forces and Palestinians during a counterterrorism operation.

Palestinian sources claim the correspondent was shot by an IDF officer, while Israel claims she may have been shot by one of the Palestinian shooters during the crossfire. Palestinian leaders have so far refused any joint investigation to determine the source of the bullet in the killing.