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Date: 14 September 2023 

Contact: [email protected] | Bhavesh Hindocha – Media Officer 07590 862268 



  • Palestine Solidarity Campaign is joined by more than 20 civil society organisations including British Palestinians to raise concern at the exclusion of Palestinian and PSC  from the committee hearings into the government’s controversial anti-boycott bill 
  • 3,000 PSC members and supporters have also emailed the committee about the exclusion of witnesses from groups most directly impacted by the proposed bill 
  • The bill’s principal target is the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and aims to limit public bodies’ powers in ethical investment and procurement  
  • The BDS movement has been defamed and smeared in discussion around the bill  
  • The parliamentary committee has failed to give a right of reply to a single Palestinian or BDS group 

Palestine Solidarity Campaign and more than 20 other organisations, including groups representing Palestinians in Britain, have written to raise concern over the parliamentary committee scrutinising the government’s Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) bill, better known as the anti-boycott bill. They condemn the exclusion of Palestinian voices and BDS groups from giving evidence to the committee, despite much of the debate around the bill being focussed on the use of boycotts as a method of international solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice.   

In their statement the groups campaigning for the Right to Boycott say it is discriminatory and unfair to exclude Palestinian voices whilst allowing the mischaracterisation of the BDS movement and smearing of its Palestinian civil society leaders. Several avowedly pro-Israel groups and individuals – including Conservative Friends of Israel, UK Lawyers for Israel, and right-wing columnist Melanie Phillips – have been allowed to give evidence, whilst those who will be most directly impacted by the bill have been excluded.   

The committee still has time to rectify this extraordinary omission and the statement from the civil society groups has been accompanied by a write-in campaign to individual MPs on the committee to demand Palestinian witnesses and BDS groups are called. So far, over 2500 members of the public have written to the MPs. 

Ben Jamal, Director of PSC, says, 

It is absolutely shameful that Palestinian voices and BDS groups have been wilfully excluded from the public hearings on a Bill that the government admits is deliberately intended to impact on their community and curtail their right to campaign against injustice. Boycott and divestment are a peaceful and democratic means to push for human rights to be upheld and for the implementation of international law. Palestinian civil society leaders, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and BDS campaigners have all been repeatedly maligned by government ministers, MPs and the pro-Israeli groups who have already been afforded time to present their one-sided case. If the Committee is in any way serious about giving proper scrutiny to this Bill, it will allow Palestinians the opportunity to put the record straight. 

Although the submission has been received and circulated by the committee, a request that it be published with the other submissions on the parliamentary website has been turned down. Therefore, it has been published on the PSC website here.


Signatories to the Letter –  

Kamel Hawwash and Ben Jamal, Palestine Solidarity Campaign 

Aimee Shalan, British Palestinian Committee 

Selma Dabbagh, International Centre of Justice for Palestinians 

Sarona Bedwan, Makan 

Zaher Birawi, Palestinian Forum in Britain (PFB) 

Robert Andrews, EuroPal Forum 

Andrew Whitley, Balfour Project 

Daniel Levy, US/Middle East Project (personal capacity) 

Charlotte Marshall, Sabeel-Kairos UK 

Asad Rehman, War on Want 

Raghad Altikriti, Muslim Association of Britain 

Emily Hilton, Diaspora Alliance UK 

Eurig Scandrett, Scottish PSC 

Jonathan Rosenhead, British Committee for the Universities of Palestine 

Frances Webber, Institute of Race Relations 

Katie Fallon, Campaign Against Arms Trade 

Daniel Lubin, Na’amod UK 

Hilary Westlake, Artists for Palestine UK 

Richard Barnes, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) UK 

Jenny Manson, Jewish Voice for Labour 

Tim Devereux, Movement for the Abolition of War 

John Gurr, Western Sahara Campaign 

Jasmine Owens, Ethical Consumer 

Laura Clayson, People & Planet  


Right To Boycott coalition statement and signatories here: https://righttoboycott.org.uk/ 

PSC campaign page: https://palestinecampaign.org/campaigns/righttoboycott/