Jewish group seeks judicial review of British city’s ban on West Bank goods

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — A British Jewish group asked the country’s high court to review a municipality’s decision last year to support a boycott of products from the West Bank.

Jonathan Neumann, director of Jewish Human Rights Watch — a group devoted to monitoring efforts to boycott Israel — earlier this month filed with the High Court of Justice of England and Wales a request for judicial review of a nonbinding motion passed by the City Council of Leicester supporting a boycott of products from the West Bank.

The motion, passed in November and submitted by council member Mohammed Dawood, calls for boycotting such products “in so far as it is legal,” citing Israel’s “continuing to ignore and breach international law” and “continuing its occupation of Palestinian territories.”

But Neumann said the motion was anti-Semitic, because it was a boycott of goods produced by Jews.

“Seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen by the British, there are calls in Europe and the United Kingdom to boycott Jews once again,” he said in video taken outside the Royal Court of Justice in London.

The High Court is scheduled to reply next month to the request for review.

Dawood this week told the BBC: “We are very mindful that this was not an attack on a particular faith but is about a particular policy.”

In the past, judicial review has blocked attempts to promote boycotts of Israel in Britain and elsewhere in Europe.

In 2007, the administration of the University and College Union announced it would not implement a motion to boycott Israel passed by a majority of its members because doing so would be “illegal” and “run a serious risk of infringing discrimination legislation.”

In France, members of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel have been convicted of inciting racial hate based on a 2003 amendment, introduced by a Jewish lawmaker, which forbids discrimination against people or groups of any particular national affiliation.

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