Write to Humza Yousaf, Scotland's First Minister, and ask him to do everything in his power to prevent the “Anti-Boycott” Economic Activities of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill impacting the ability of Scotland’s public bodies to make ethical investment and procurement decisions.
This legislation would be a clear infringement on Scotland’s powers under devolution. This much has already been identified, with the Scottish Government responding to a previous public petition (PE1803), saying “We have... been clear that we not wish to mandate how Scottish public how Scottish public institutions, organisations or individuals approach this issue [Boycott Divestment and Sanctions against Israel]. We would, therefore, strongly encourage the UK Government to develop their legislation in a manner which restricts the scope of application, and respects the autonomy of Scottish institutions in making decision on this issue”. The intention of this Bill is take away public authorities’ autonomy on such decision, and as it stands, this would extend to Scotland.
The Anti-Boycott Bill is clearly highly political, with the stated aim of protecting Israel from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). BDS was called for by Palestinian civil society in 2005, and demands the equal rights for Palestinians living inside Israel, the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland, and the end of the occupation. All of these demands correspond to very basic rights enshrined in international law. This legislation is doing what Margaret Thatcher tried to do in the 1980s – protect an apartheid state, in that case South Africa, from an international solidarity movement.