UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) has written to CEOs of the top UK companies and law firms, pointing out that the “briefing” Amnesty International UK (Amnesty) recently sent them is highly misleading and promotes discrimination and illegal activity.
Amnesty’s “briefing”, sent to the FTSE 100, 250 and top corporate law firms on 13 March 2019, told companies that they will be involved in human rights violations including war crimes if they do business in or with the “illegal Israeli settlements” in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
UKLFI, an association of lawyers who promote the proper application of laws in matters relating to Israel, has rebutted Amnesty’s claims:
- Amnesty’s claims are contradicted by judgments of the UK Supreme Court and the Versailles Court of Appeal. The UK Supreme Court ruled that no offence was committed by a customer selling the products of an Israeli West Bank business in the UK and the Versailles Court dismissed allegations that companies had acted unlawfully by participating in a consortium to construct and operate a railway in Jerusalem beyond the 1949 armistice line (the “Green Line”).
- Amnesty’s argument that “all business activity with settlements ultimately contributes to maintaining an illegal situation” is untenable. Even if the Israeli settlements were illegal (a point which is disputed), it would be like arguing that all business activity with countries which oppress women, homosexuals, ethnic or religious minorities or which violate any human rights (most countries in the world) should be boycotted.
- Amnesty singles out Israeli settlements for a boycott policy. This constitutes racial, ethnic and religious discrimination, since it applies different standards to Israel as compared with other countries, and different standards to Jews as compared with other ethnic and religious groups.
- Amnesty’s briefing makes numerous allegations of violations by Israelis of human rights of Palestinians, largely based on its own tendentious reports, which have been found to be highly unreliable and permeated by prejudice against Israel.
- Amnesty’s prejudiced reports reflect persistent antisemitism in the organisation, as summarised by NGO Monitor.
- Amnesty ignores the considerable benefits to 30,000 Palestinians who are employed in the vicinity of Israeli settlements in the West Bank at salaries two or three times those paid by Palestinian employers. . Their employment also promotes peace and reconciliation through the good relations created between Israelis and Palestinians working together.
- Boycotting Israelis and areas under Israeli administration can incur liabilities and sanctions under US, French, British, Israeli and other laws. After Airbnb announced a boycott of Jewish homes in the West Bank, Florida adopted sanctions against the company, Illinois and Texas have initiated procedures for implementing sanctions, and legal actions have been brought in Delaware, California and Jerusalem. In France, Sodastream was awarded an injunction, damages and costs against an NGO that promoted a boycott of its products made in the West Bank. In the UK, a refusal to supply goods or services on grounds of nationality, ethnicity or religion is liable to contravene the Equality Act 2010 and may constitute an actionable conspiracy to damage. An agreement or concerted practice to participate in a boycott may also breach national and EU competition laws.
- Businesses taken in by the misinformation of the BDS campaign are liable to lose out on opportunities in a consistently successful and probably the most innovative economy in the world.
Jonathan Turner, Chief Executive of UKLFI commented: “We suggest that companies place no reliance on the materials provided by Amnesty”.
 Richardson v DPP  UKSC 8 at §17
 AFPS and OLP v Alstom and Veolia, Appeal No. 11/05331, Judgment of 22 March 2013
 https://www.ngo-monitor.org/reports/amnesty-internationals-forthcoming-antisemitic-campaign-background-and-information/; https://www.ngo-monitor.org/amnesty-silences-human-rights-extends-hate-campaign/
 See e.g. Nadia Aloush, A Palestinian Woman’s Perspective on Working for an Israeli Company, JCPA March 2018 http://jcpa.org/defeating-denormalization/palestinian-womans-perspective-working-israeli-company/
 S.A.S. OPM France v AFPS, Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris, no. 13/06023, judgment of 23/1/2014
 This legislation was recently invoked against a refusal by Kuwait Airways Corporation to sell a ticket to an Israeli: https://www.timesofisrael.com/kuwait-air-to-compensate-israeli-for-refusing-to-fly-her-report/