JJP lobbies Foreign Office about shameful “2030 roadmap for UK-Israel bilateral relations “ and the subsequent Economic Matters Bill

On 10 July 2023, JJP lobbied the Foreign, Colonial and Development Office on the Conservative Government’s shameful “policy paper”, “2030 roadmap for UK-Israel bilateral relations “, and the subsequent Bill (Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters). We sought assurances that the UK’s current policies supporting Palestinian rights, inadequate though they are, will not be further eroded. We also expressed our opposition to the Bill and confirmed that we would be lobbying against it in both Houses of Parliament. 

from e-mail to the FCDO, 20 June

Further to our letter of 30 May requesting the meeting, we would like to include the government’s recently published bill, “Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters)” in the discussion. This bill seeks to convert the Conservative government’s “objection to Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions campaigns (against Israel)”, propounded in the April “policy paper”, into a law giving the state of Israel an unprecedented protection from civil society campaigning against human rights abuses, afforded to no other country.

Arthur Goodman

Jews for Justice for Palestinians

letter to the FCDO

Colin McDonald                                                                                                                          30 May 2023

Deputy Head, Levant and North Africa Department

Dear Mr. McDonald,

We are writing to request a meeting to discuss the situation created by the current Government’s “policy paper”, the “2030 roadmap for UK-Israel bilateral relations “,

This paper completely ignores the occupation, the settlements, and the suppression of Palestinian rights. It treats serious criticism of Israeli policies as “disproportionate” or proof of antisemitism. Its only reference to Palestine or Palestinians is this single sentence: “We will cooperate in improving Palestinian livelihoods and Palestinian economic development.”

On 14 March, eight days before the paper was published, the Levant and North Africa Department e-mailed an unsigned, undated letter to me in response to our request for a meeting. The letter reiterated the UK’s policies of acknowledging that settlements are illegal and working to end the occupation.

We are seeking an assurance that this government is maintaining those two policies and that the FCDO continues to warn companies of the risks of trading with enterprises in settlements. We also seek an assurance that the UK’s United Nations delegation will continue to support Security Council resolutions which hold Israel to account for breaking international law.

The letter also said that the FCDO had no plans to meet Mr. Ben Gvir. We think that decision is correct. We would, however, like to know whether the FCDO has made strong representations about the increasing aggression against Palestinians fomented by Mr. Ben Gvir and Mr. Smotrich, and about the judicial “reform” plans which they are promoting.

We hope to hear from you shortly to arrange a meeting.

Yours sincerely,

Arthur Goodman, Diplomatic and Parliamentary Officer,

c.c. Thomas Mead, Levant and North Africa Department

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