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Dozens of groups oppose UK’s anti-divestment bill which singles out Israeli boycotts

Dozens of civil society groups have called on the UK government to drop a proposed anti-boycott bill they say is primarily aimed at stopping local councils from supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which challenges Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.

The Economic Activity of Public Bodies bill, which was presented to parliament on Monday, also sets out that the government can “specify a country or territory” for which the bill “does not apply”.

But the text of the bill explicitly states that such exemptions “may not specify” decisions or considerations “relating specifically or mainly to Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, or the Occupied Golan Heights”.

The UK government has attempted on several occasions to introduce a bill that aims to end boycotts of Israel within the local government.

While the bill was presented to the House of Commons on Monday, it will still be subject to parliamentary scrutiny in the Commons, the House of Lords and at the committee stage, which means it could face amendments before becoming law.
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