Thank you for contacting me about boycotts by public institutions.
I do not believe that public institutions should take different approaches to the UK Government on foreign relations so I welcome the action to stop them from imposing boycotts, divestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries and those who trade with them.
The Government will create a coherent approach to foreign relations from all public institutions by ensuring they do not go beyond the UK’s settled policy toward a foreign country. The UK Government is responsible for foreign relations and is best placed to determine the most appropriate way to interact with our international neighbours.
This approach will ensure that the UK taxpayer is not funding separate approaches to foreign policy. Public institutions should not be pursuing their own foreign policy agenda with public money. It will also prevent divisive behaviour that undermines community cohesion. There are concerns that such boycotts have legitimised antisemitism, for example, Jewish university societies being threatened with bans.
The UK’s longstanding position on the Middle East Peace Process is clear: we support a negotiated settlement leading to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state. This can be best achieved if we act with one consistent voice on the issue in the UK.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.