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Birmingham Councillors call for boycott action on Israel

January 14, 2009

Walls Come Tumbling Down, 13 January 2009 - Politicians from all four parties on Birmingham City Council have called on the Council leadership to pursue a policy of instituting sanctions against Israel.

Walls Come Tumbling Down, 13 January 2009 - Politicians from all four parties on Birmingham City Council have called on the Council leadership to pursue a policy of instituting sanctions against Israel.

The call, for a boycott of Israeli goods and services, was initiated by Cllr Salma Yaqoob, Leader of the RESPECT Party, and supported by Tariq Khan (Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group), Cllr Tahir Ali (Labour) and Cllr James Hutchings (Conservative).

The City Council, meeting today (13 January 2009), heard politicians from all sides of the chamber condemn the Israeli attack on Gaza. The cross-party statement recommended that the Council Executive lobby the government to permit local authorities to exercise moral, ethical and human rights considerations when awarding contracts.

"This is a significant breakthrough," says Cllr Yaqoob. "The principle here is moral consistency. It is not that Israel should be singled out for punitive measures, but that it should stop being treated with kid gloves and given diplomatic cover for acting above the law. For too long Israel has felt it can bomb and terrorise innocent civilians with impunity. International pressure on Israel has to be intensified to ensure it adheres to international law and UN resolutions."

She continued: "One of the factors that helped bring an end to the brutal apartheid regime in South Africa was international pressure for economic, sporting and cultural boycotts. It is time that Israel started to feel similar pressure from world opinion. We will now be pressing the council leadership to act on the strong feelings expressed across the whole of the City Council."

Notes 

1. 'Annual bilateral trade between Britain and Israel has exceeded £2 billion for the past five years and could well reach £3 billion by 2012. Israel is the UK's 23rd largest market worldwide and the largest individual export market and trading partner in the region. Significant bilateral investment continues to grow, with over 250 Israeli companies already operating in Britain.'
http://ukinisrael.fco.gov.uk/en/working-with-israel/uk-israel-relations/bilateral-relations

2. British arm sales to Israel has doubled to over £20 million in recent years.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/jul/25/israel.armstrade

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Note: This decision comes after hundreds of Birmingham residentsprotesting the Israeli massacres in Gaza called on their city council to boycott Israel -- click here for more

January 14, 2009
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