The role of the British public can be crucial in pushing for different forms of sanctions against Israel, within a variety of campaigns. These encompass trade, oil, military, travel and diplomatic sanctions, which can be implemented from the local level, on a national scale, within the EU and across the wider international community.
The experiences of the anti-apartheid movement against South Africa demonstrated how “peoples sanctions” made an impact from a local level. Once grassroots campaigners built popular, widespread support for sanctions, these were taken up at regional, national and global institutions. In a sense sanctions form a core goal of boycott campaigns that appeal to agencies to apply specific measures against the offender. As with apartheid South Africa, Israel is the target of various forms of sanctions in support of an oppressed people struggling for freedom.
Mutual trade with the UK and EU should be subjected to sanctions. The Israeli economy is particularly reliant on the EU for both imports and exports markets, in the sectors of services and technology, arms, diamonds and fresh produce. The application of sanctions would increase the burden on the economy and place significant pressure on Israel to implement international law and the rights of the Palestinian people.
Israel’s military industry is unusual compared to other states in that production is geared towards external markets, bringing in vital investment for the economy. Israel has a shortfall in domestic production and imports military goods from the US and some EU states (often with assistance).
A sanctions campaign looks to cut off an important sector of the Israeli economy, which has caused mini weapons races across the world, fuelled various conflicts and assisted various regimes, dictators and juntas. It also seeks to halt the arming of Israel where it is unable to source military goods domestically and end the global complicity in Israeli crimes against Palestinians.
Such campaigns can look to restrict the travel of representatives of the state to send a message that human rights violations will not be tolerated in other parts of the world. Moreover, it can encompass the severing of diplomatic relations, participation in external forums and membership of international bodies and agencies.
At other levels – such as university, trade union, and sporting contact – campaigns can consider their relations with groups and individuals who do not oppose the Occupation or support Palestinian rights.
Existing Initiatives in support of Palestine
Parliamentary Support for Sanctions
The House of Commons International Development Committee has called for sanctions and noted: ‘Where a sufficiently egregious case of human rights abuse has been established as to warrant economic sanctions, the EU should not be deterred from imposing them,’.
Gerald Kaufman MP is prominent amongst a number of MPs who support sanctions. An Early Day Motion (EDM) has been tabled by David Lepper and more parliamentary support is needed. Please ask your MP to support sanctions and sign this and similar EDMs.
European Support for Sanctions
Europe is Israel’s largest export partner and Israel receives substantial tax benefits from the European Trade Agreement. Support is growing in Europe for action to end preferential trade with Israel, particularly since countries in such trade agreements are required to abide by international and human rights law. MEPs from several countries are actively pressing for action from the European Commission as well as the regional Parliament.
‘Until the Israeli government shows it is serious about complying with international law and joining the international community of law-abiding nations, the EU must apply economic pressure for it to do so.’
- Dr Caroline Lucas, Green Party
Latest News on Sanctions
South African trade union looks for trade sanctions in support of Palestinians
The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs, Irish parliament, calls for the issue of sanctions against Israel to be discussed PACBI Report
Jubilee South Africa call for sanctions against Apartheid Israel: PACBI Report
South Africa – Metal workers Union Calls for Sanctions
Regional council of the Sør-Trøndelag, Norway passes motion calling for a comprehensive boycott on Israeli goods, followed up with awareness raising campaign across region.