One of the big campaigns of anti-Israel campaigners this year has been pushing for a UK Government ban on goods produced in Israeli settlements and industrial areas in the West Bank. The Public and Commerical Services Trade Union – whose Deputy General-Secretary Hugh Lanning also chairs the Palestine Solidarity Campaign – has been pushing for this, as has the Trades Union Congress. In June, Christian Aid and the Quakers held a meeting in Parliament to press MPs to introduce such a ban (the meeting was poorly attended with only a handful of MPs turning up).
Answering a recent recent Parliamentary Question from veteran anti-Israel campaigner Richard Burden MP calling for this ban, Food Minister Jim Paice made it clear:
[The Government] does not believe that a Government-imposed ban or boycott of settlement produce would help engage or influence Israel, or lead to progress in the Middle East Peace Process.
So the Government has ruled out one of the boycotters’ key campaign targets for the next year, on an issue where they probably thought they could win. It hasn’t been a great year for boycott Israel campaigners.