• Boycotts of either Israeli or Palestinian goods

    I am aware that the Knesset recently passed a law restricting entry to Israel for foreign nationals who have expressed support for a boycott of Israel or Israeli settlements. I also recognise concerns that laws such as this infringe on legitimate freedom of expression and run counter to free and vigorous political debate. I am opposed to boycotts of either Israeli or Palestinian goods. I do not believe that boycotts help to engage or influence either party or will lead to progress in the Middle East peace process. I do believe though that consumers should have clear information about the origin of the produce they are buying so that they can make informed decisions. The previous Labour Government therefore introduced guidance stating that labels should distinguish between “Israeli settlement produce” and “Palestinian produce”. Before these guidelines were introduced, foods were labelled “produce of the West Bank”. I appreciate that concerns have been raised about the range of individuals who could be affected by the new law in terms of visiting Israel and Palestinian. I hope the Israeli Government will clarify the potential impact on British nationals of this law, and I know that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is seeking this guidance. I can assure you that I will follow this matter closely.