All 1 Lord Leigh of Hurley contributions to the Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Act 2022

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Wed 9th Mar 2022
Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill [HL]
Lords Chamber

Consideration of Commons amendments & Consideration of Commons amendments

Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill [HL] Debate

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Lord Leigh of Hurley

Main Page: Lord Leigh of Hurley (Conservative - Life peer)

Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill [HL]

Lord Leigh of Hurley Excerpts
Consideration of Commons amendments
Wednesday 9th March 2022

(2 years, 4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Act 2022 Read Hansard Text Amendment Paper: HL Bill 118-I Marshalled List for Consideration of Commons Amendments - (8 Mar 2022)
I look forward to listening to the Minister—but please, Minister, if you stray into the BDS campaign in any way, do not give credit to a failed, miserable campaign that is run by extremists and targets the Jewish community. We should ensure that it remains a failed campaign and allow the good people of Israel, Palestinians and everyone else to get on with their lives.
Lord Leigh of Hurley Portrait Lord Leigh of Hurley (Con)
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My Lords, it is always a great privilege to follow the noble Lord, Lord Mann, whose excellent speech has clarified a number of things for me—and the rest of the House, I hope—about how we should look at Amendments 54 and 54A. I am somewhat puzzled by the assertion from the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Brixton, that Amendment 54 has nothing to do with BDS. I have listened to the debate in the House of Commons and, indeed, the debate this afternoon, and that does not ring true with me.

The predominant drive of the BDS campaign and its leadership is not criticism of Israel’s policies, which would be fair enough, but a demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel using other people’s money—and it is other people’s money. The BDS campaign promotes a biased and simplistic approach to the complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict and presents this dispute over territorial and nationalist claims as if it is the fault of just one party: Israel. The BDS campaign does not support Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and, by the way, rejects the two-state solution to the conflict that many people in this House would like to see. Many of the founding goals of the BDS movement, including denying the Jewish people the universal right to self-determination, along with the strategies employed in the BDS campaign, are anti-Semitic. Let us be clear. Many individuals—not all, of course—involved in the BDS campaign are driven by opposition to Israel’s very existence as a Jewish state.

I was in Manchester with my daughter, who is a student at Manchester University. We went shopping in the city centre and encountered a BDS rally. The people there were chanting a chant that noble Lords may have heard: “From the river to the sea”. Do you know what that means? My daughter asked me, “What does that mean for my friends in Israel?” It means their annihilation.

BDS campaigns create tensions in communities in the UK, particularly on college campuses, which result in harassment or intimidation of Jews and non-Jewish Israeli supporters. This sometimes includes overtly anti-Semitic expressions and acts. As I said, this uses taxpayers’ money. This dynamic can create an environment in which, apart from anything else, anti-Semitism can be expressed more freely. I would not wish to suggest that anyone who supports the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Davies, is anti-Semitic at all; I want to make the point about the BDS.

The Government are preparing legislation for the next parliamentary Session to stop public bodies from pursuing BDS activities because of their harmful impact on our foreign policy and trade interests. As has been said, the 2019 Conservative Party manifesto pledged to

“ban public bodies from imposing their own direct or indirect boycotts … against foreign countries.”

The Prime Minister himself has previously criticised public policies for adopting

“their own pseudo foreign policies against countries which with nauseating frequency turns out to be Israel.”

To his credit, in 2021, the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, stated that:

“Labour does not—and will not—support BDS.”

I hope that Amendment 54 will receive full support from all Members of this House, and that all Members of this House will oppose Amendment 54A. Abstaining is not sufficient.