Thursday, June 30, 2016

UK: High Court backs three local authorities over anti-Israel policies

Via Jewish Chronicle:
Leicester, Swansea and Gwynedd Councils did not overstep the mark when they passed resolutions criticising the state of Israel, the High Court has ruled in a unique test case.

All three councils faced accusations that, by condemning Israel, they encouraged discrimination against and harassment of British Jews.

Jewish Human Rights Watch (JHRW), a charity formed to fight what it says is a tide of rising antisemitism in the UK, argued all three resolutions were unlawful.

But two senior judges today emphasised democratic freedom of speech as they ruled that none of the councils did anything wrong.

In November 2014, Leicester City Council resolved to boycott any produce coming from "illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank".

It said the embargo would remain in place "until such time as Israel complies with international law and withdraws from Palestinian occupied territories".

Jeffrey Kaufman, a Jewish elected member of Leicestershire County Council, described the "dismay" the resolution caused to the city's Jewish community.

He said the City Council had "picked on Israel", but Leicester's mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, "emphatically" denied that a criticism of Israel was "necessarily an attack on British jews".

In October 2014, Gwynedd Council in Wales also resolved to boycott products emenating from the West Bank until Israel withdrew from Palestinian occupied territories.

Swansea's resolution, which was also critical of Israel, dated back to June 2010, Lord Justice Simon told London's High Court.

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