THE deputy leader of the city council has changed her mind about seconding a motion calling for the authority to boycott Israeli good and services.
Green Party councillor Ruth Buckley says she has decided not to second independent councillor Ben Duncan’s motion calling for Brighton and Hove City Council to support the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
Coun Duncan said the motion was still in the pipeline to be debated in October, but seconded by another Green councillor.
Cllr Buckley said she had thought “long and hard” and said: “I, like many, are deeply concerned about the recent escalation in violence and destruction.
"I feel that pressure must be brought to bear upon the main perpetrators of recent and ongoing violence – the Israeli government – for their decisions being made in contravention of international law, their use of force against civilians, and their disregard of basic human rights as recorded by independent organisations such as B’Tselem.
“Needless to say that as a pacifist I also condemn the violent actions of Hamas and other organisations in the region and around the world.”
She said the aims of the BDS movement – ending Israeli occupation, equal rights for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and protect the right of return for Palestinian refugees – were “quite clearly not anti-Semitic.”
She said: “Instead they have a pacifist basis advocating non-violent rather than violent direct action to achieve equality and peace for all inhabitants of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.
“Therefore those seeking to distort the issue are either abhorrently using the current conflict as an excuse to exhibit their racism/anti-Judaism, or on the other hand are linking the BDS campaign to these incidents, which is disingenuous.
“On balance I have decided not to second the motion as I feel my intentions have been misinterpreted.
“The debate is certainly not clear-cut and is fraught with emotion and nuance, especially at this difficult time.”
The party calls for a “fair and humane solution” to the conflict, she said, and other councillors in the party were free to second the motion based on their personal views.
Coun Duncan, an independent after being suspended from the Green Party over a Tweet, says he wants the council to show its support for international law.