Labour Fence Sitting On Bill Banning Anti-Israel Sanctions Criticised mdi-fullscreen

Not withstanding the best efforts of the opposition, the government’s bill banning public bodies making spending decisions based on political judgements of foreign powers, including in relation to the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, was granted its second reading. Co-conspirators could be forgiven for failing to understand Labour’s position in the vote. Despite supposedly opposing BDS, Labour whipped their MPs to support an amendment which would block the bill from passing to its second reading – all after saying they would not repeal the bill should they get into power. On the actual vote, they abstained.

Before opposing the bill’s passage, Lisa Nandy said Labour was “not in favour” of BDS, a movement which “singles out the world’s only Jewish state”. Why would Nandy, who was formerly a chair of Labour Friends of Palestine, oppose a bill banning an action that “singles out the world’s only Jewish state”…

One explanation for Labour’s equivocation could be found in the source of their legal advice. Lisa Nandy and David Lammy commissioned Richard Hermer KC to draft a position. Richard Hermer has previously co-authored a chapter in a book called “Corporate Complicity in Israel’s Occupation”, co-edited by notorious anti-Israel activist and crank Asa Winstanley. Amongst Asa’s other publications is a book subtitled “How the Israel Lobby Brought Down Jeremy Corbyn”.

A senior Jewish leader, supportive of the bill, tells Guido:

“After a bruising experience with the Labour Party and its alleged opposition to BDS, you would have thought they would have thought more carefully about who they take legal advice from. Richard Hermer is clearly partial. I would question the Party’s judgement on this one. Richard Hermer’s association with Asa Winstanley of all people should have been a major red flag.”

Guido is at a loss for how Labour came to select Richard as their independent legal expert. On an entirely unrelated note, he gave £5,000 to Keir Starmer’s leadership campaign…

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