Unite the union has expressed outrage at the deportation from Israel of Hugh Lanning, chair of Palestine Solidarity Campaign. He has become the first victim of a law passed by the Israeli parliament banning those advocating Boycott Divestment and Sanctions from entering Israel.
The new law states that entry will not be granted to anyone who individually calls for a boycott of the state of Israel, or who is part of an organisation that calls for a boycott of the state of Israel.
The ban extends to those who call for a boycott of any areas under the control of Israel, including settlements in the West Bank, which are regarded as illegal under international law. Israel’s restriction of British citizens’ freedom to travel has the potential to see prominent figures such as parliamentarians, trade union leaders, cultural figures and academics banned from Israel.
Human Rights Watch has said: “This decision and the spurious rationale should worry anyone concerned about Israel’s commitment to basic democratic values. It is disappointing that the Israeli government seems unable or unwilling to distinguish between justified criticisms of its actions and hostile political propaganda.”
In condemning Hugh Lanning’s deportation Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Unite opposes any abuse of human and democratic rights. The new law to ban entry to foreigners who advocate the non-violent boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, violates fundamental freedoms which are essential to a democracy. A democratic country does not behave in the way Israel is behaving.
“If Israel believes that by introducing these heavy handed laws it will intimidate its critics into silence it is mistaken. Unite and the wider trade union movement will not stop highlighting the systematic violation of Palestinian human rights.
“We call upon the British government to make clear to Israel that it is not acceptable for it to ban entry to British citizens who advocate for the human rights of the Palestinian people and to peacefully protest against policies that violate those rights.”
For further information please contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.