Israeli anger as Qatar backs campaign for global boycott
The Israeli government has reacted angrily to plans by the Gulf state of Qatar to support a group backed by Labour leaderJeremy Corbyn which wants to impose a global trade and cultural boycott on the Jewish state.
Qatar has emerged as the main financial backer of a conference to review the aims of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign which opens in Tunis on Thursday.
BDS was founded a decade ago by Palestinian human rights activists and is supported by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, as well as leaders of the radical Palestinian Hamas movement. The group seeks to organise a global economic and cultural boycott of Israel in retaliation for its failure to negotiate a peace settlement with the Palestinians.
Shortly after becoming Labour leader Mr Corbyn publicly declared his support for BDS, saying “I believe that sanctions against Israel…are the appropriate way of promoting the peace process.”
In Britain, BDS supporters have made repeated attempts to organise a boycott on importing Israeli goods, as well as trying to get Israeli academics banned from speaking on university campuses.
Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, has dismissed BDS as “a bunch of corduroy-jacketed academics.” But Israeli officials say the organisation is becoming increasingly effective.
In June BDS claimed responsibility for persuading Kuwait to cancel its multi-million pound stake in the UK security firm G4S after claiming the company helps to run Israeli checkpoints on the West Bank, as well as running Israeli prisons holding Palestinian political prisoners.
“This group has been trying to demonise Israel for the past decade,” said a senior Israeli government official. “Now that it is receiving support from Qatar, it is
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