The High Court in London ruled on Thursday that the government acted unlawfully in trying to prevent local councils in the United Kingdom from divesting from firms involved in Israel’s military occupation.
The successful legal challenge for the right to boycott was brought by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in March, and was supported by War on Want, the Campaign Against the Arms Trade and the Quakers.
”We couldn’t be happier that this right has been upheld by the court,” said PSC Director Ben Jamal.
Recent UK polling showed that two in five people consider BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – a reasonable Palestinian response to Israel’s crimes.
“Today is a victory for Palestine, for local democracy and for the rule of law,” PSC Chair Hugh Lanning, said. “Absolutely everyone has a right to peacefully protest Israel’s violation of Palestinian human rights.”
In a judicial review published on Thursday, judge Ross Cranston overturned part of a guidance document issued in September by local government minister Sajid Javid.
The court ruled that the government had acted improperly by seeking to use pension law to pursue its own foreign and arms industry policy.
Jamie Potter, one of PSC’s lawyers, said, “this outcome is a reminder to the government that it cannot improperly interfere in the exercise of freedom of conscience and protest in order to pursue its own agenda.”
Head of the European-Palestinian Forum-Tawasul- Zaher Birawi said the move signals the victory of the boycott-of-Israel campaigns and is a slap on the face of the Israelis, who have left no stone unturned to criminalize boycott campaigns.