Israeli BDS Ban: Cameron Criminalises Representative Democracy

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Courtesy: Chris Madden

By Ann-Marie de Veer
Saturday 20 February 2016

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement is a global economic and political campaign that seeks full equality for the Arab-Israeli citizens of Israel, respect for the right of return of Palestinian refugees and an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The BDS movement began on the 9 July 2005 and has continued to gain considerable traction and momentum over the last decade in the wake of the appalling atrocities committed by successive Israeli regimes.

The vast majority of opponents to the movement routinely argue that BDS activities are broadly antisemitic, that they promote the delegitimisation of the Israeli State and they are an unwelcome hindrance to the prospect of an Israeli-Palestinian negotiated compromise. However, its proponents vehemently contend that their actions are widely supported by numerous UN resolutions, that they are in complete conformity with international law and that they echo the British anti-apartheid movement which successfully campaigned against white minority rule in apartheid South Africa.

World public opinion clearly suggests that the Israeli regime are on the wrong side of history in this debacle as is the Cameron regime in criminalising representative local democracy.

It is no secret that both the UK and the US, in particular, have gained considerable notoriety for their egregious assault on, and abuse of, civil liberties since the events of the 11 September 2001 in America. The West's assault, in general, on the freedom of its citizens to act, and react, in accordance with their own values and beliefs has been gaining considerable traction ever since as recent events surrounding the BDS movement clearly attest. For example, in Australia, a series of protests that began in 2011 and continued through to 2013, against those companies who were known to be supplying goods to the Israeli Defense Forces, resulted in individuals and institutions sympathetic to the BDS movement being defunded by the Gillard regime. Similarly, the Harper dictatorship in Canada is known to have abused its authority in restricting the activities of the Canadian 2014 Israeli Apartheid Week and its supporters by arbitrarily curtailing many of its public events and protests. Meanwhile, over in France, the Hollande regime has recently convicted twelve of its citizens for simply exercising their freedom of expression rights by publicly advocating the activities of the BDS movement while the pinnacle of global authoritarian despotism, i.e. the Obama regime in the US, is about to further proscribe such freedoms of speech as illegal in the US later this year.

Clearly, these are just a few of the many attacks on the freedom of expression that citizens throughout the West have endured on this, and many other issues, for more than a decade. In fact, the very notion that the West endeavours to uphold the fundamental tenets of liberal democratic values and beliefs is becoming increasingly absurd as freedoms, liberties and rights are being systematically eroded.

Thus, on the issue of local representative democracy.

Generally, at a local level, the electorate are much more cognisant of the political proclivities of the candidates they choose to represent them than those who seek higher office at a national level: local political representatives invariably live and work among their electorate and are often an integral part of the society they have been chosen to represent. Thus, a local political representative will have the support of the majority of their electorate based on information about them that is within the public domain. In other words, the electorate of a local representative will simply choose the candidate who is the closest reflection of their own values and beliefs, i.e. it is the electorates implementation of grassroots democracy

However, on Sunday 14 February 2016, the Independent announced that Cameron's Conservatives plan to make it illegal for all public bodies, student unions etc. to participate in any BDS activities, which naturally includes all local authorities.

In essence, the new rules require that all contracting authorities, which include local authorities, colleges, hospitals, schools, universities, etc., i.e. those who are primarily funded by central government who derive their income from the general taxation of the people, will no longer be free to make ethical decisions about the origin of the goods and services they purchase. That is, local democracy, which is inherently more democratic and representative of the people, is to be subverted by the Cameron regime who is about to criminalise the activities of local representative and officials that routinely reflect the will of the people.

Of course, it should be remembered that history has some valuable lessons for us on this issue, one of which is the Boston Tea Party affair in the US. On the 16 December 1773 the Sons of Liberty, an organisation of American colonists in Boston, staged a political protest where they took exception to the UK's implementation of its Taxation Without Representation policy. Less than three years later the US became an independent country.

Cameron's flirtation with a 21st Century form of Taxation Without Representation, i.e. the criminalisation of local authorities and officials who are simply acting in accordance with the wishes of the electorate they represent, will have a similar effect on his regime and the Conservative Party. The notion that the people will forgive, let alone forget, they are being taxed but no longer free to express their wishes, via their local political representatives, will most certainly herald Cameron's demise.

Cameron's criminalisation of local representative democracy is simply nothing less than an egregious abuse of power engineered to erode the people's freedom of speech.

Democracy, without the freedom of expression, naturally progresses into tyranny.
Ann-Marie de Veer