We will be the first ones to see the proposed legislation, which will forbid British public institutions from making investment choices based on their “moral disapproval” of other countries.
Our source has learned that a UK parliamentary measure targeting Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory would expressly attempt to restrict public entities from investing in firms based on the actions of a foreign government and will be introduced next week.
A draft of the Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) bill, which will be introduced to parliament on Monday by Communities Secretary Michael Gove, has only been viewed by our reporter.
The law would forbid public organizations from making investment or procurement choices that are “influenced by political or moral disapproval of foreign state conduct” if it were to pass.
However, the text makes it clear that these exemptions “may not specify” choices or factors “relating specifically or mainly to Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, or the Occupied Golan Heights.”
The 17-page draft document only makes one other mention of any particular nations or territories.
The majority of investment choices are made by managers of “local government schemes for which a pension fund is maintained.”.
Public bodies’ purchases of goods or services are referred to as procurement decisions.
An amendment prohibiting public sector workers from boycotting Israeli investments within their pension funds was approved by the UK parliament last year.
Later, the government declared that new legislation would be introduced to “prevent public bodies engaging in boycotts that undermine community cohesion” at the start of Parliament during the Queen’s Speech.
Human rights groups at the time called on the government to suspend the law, saying it would prevent public institutions from being “free from human rights abuses.”
The move appears to be an attempt to target the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to pressure Israel to end its illegal occupation of Palestinian territories, but the movement itself has been linked to the success of South Africa’s apartheid boycott. is modeled on.
Gove has previously said that BDS “fueled anti-Semitism.”
aspiring to higher education
Once anti-divestment laws take effect, violators will be sent written notice and potentially fined for non-compliance.
The Office for Students will enforce the legislation, which applies to providers of higher education in England.
The defense contractors and the intelligence and security services of the UK will be exempt.
In addition, there are exceptions based on violations of national security, international law, bribery, labor and competition law, and environmental misconduct.
Following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last year, the UK imposed numerous sanctions and boycotts on Russian cultural programs and businesses.
In Xinjiang, where the Chinese government is accused of detaining and abusing Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities, the UK government has also taken steps to ensure that British businesses and organizations do not profit from human rights violations.
After the Palestine Solidarity Campaign took the UK government to court over efforts to prevent local government schemes from divesting from companies that are complicit in Israeli human rights violations, the UK government proposed legislation regarding pension funds.
In 2020, the government was denied a ruling by the Supreme Court.