A Public Bill Committee, made up of MPs from across parties, has been convened to hear and consider evidence about the pernicious anti-boycott bill. While Conservative Friends of Israel, UK Lawyers for Israel, and right-wing columnist Melanie Phillips were all given ample time to have their say, the committee did not invite any Palestinian organisations or the PSC as the largest solidarity organisation undertaking BDS campaigns in the UK, to speak at the hearings.
PSC along with representatives from 23 other civil society organisations has made a formal submission to the committee asking them to listen to those who are most directly targeted by the anti-boycott bill—Palestinians and the solidarity movement responding to their call for BDS.
Although the submission has been received and circulated by the committee, a request that it be published with the other submissions on the parliamentary website has been turned down. We, therefore, publish it below in full:
Written evidence on the exclusion of Palestinian voices and BDS groups submitted to the Public Bill Committee by the signatories listed below. 12 September 2023.
- The Government has made clear in the rhetoric surrounding the Bill, in the Impact Assessment and in the course of debate, that the principal target of the Bill is the Palestinian-led BDS movement. In making the case for the need for a Bill to tackle this movement, Government Ministers have made statements which have been echoed by MPs which have mischaracterised the movement, smeared its Palestinian civil society leaders and those who support the movement here in the UK.
- In light of these facts, it is extraordinary that the Committee, whilst inviting many bodies that endorse these false narratives, has failed to invite representatives of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, representatives of the British Palestinian community and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), which is the largest body in the UK leading campaigns calling on public bodies to make ethical investment decisions to address Israel’s violations of international law.
- This serious deficit has been amplified by the fact that some of those giving evidence to the Committee have already reasserted these falsehoods including a direct attack on PSC.
- It is discriminatory and wrong for Palestinian voices to be wilfully excluded from the public hearings on a Bill that is intended to directly impact on their community and curtail their right to campaign against injustice. If the Committee is serious in its intent to give proper scrutiny to this Bill, this major deficit must be remedied, and appropriate invitations issued.
Kamel Hawwash and Ben Jamal, Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Aimee Shalan, British Palestinian Committee
Selma Dabbagh, International Centre of Justice for Palestinians
Sarona Bedwan, Makan
Zaher Birawi, Palestinian Forum in Britain (PFB)
Robert Andrews, EuroPal Forum
Andrew Whitley, Balfour Project
Daniel Levy, US/Middle East Project (personal capacity)
Charlotte Marshall, Sabeel-Kairos UK
Asad Rehman, War on Want
Raghad Altikriti, Muslim Association of Britain
Emily Hilton, Diaspora Alliance UK
Eurig Scandrett, Scottish PSC
Jonathan Rosenhead, British Committee for the Universities of Palestine
Frances Webber, Institute of Race Relations
Katie Fallon, Campaign Against Arms Trade
Daniel Lubin, Na’amod UK
Hilary Westlake, Artists for Palestine UK
Richard Barnes, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) UK
Jenny Manson, Jewish Voice for Labour
Tim Devereux, Movement for the Abolition of War
John Gurr, Western Sahara Campaign
Jasmine Owens, Ethical Consumer
Laura Clayson, People & Planet
For further information, contact:
PSC Director, Ben Jamal