In 2009, Sadiq Khan repeatedly called on ministers to impose sanctions on Israel. Since then, Khan’s position has drastically shifted, and he explains why he switched from lobbying for sanctions against Israel to supporting non-boycotts of Israel.
Khan is keener than ever to show his non-boycott stance in the run up to the London mayoral elections in May. In his opposition to the boycotts, he said, “The evidence clearly shows that boycott, sanctions and divestment against Israel do not help us achieve peace – we must not turn our face against Israel.” Khan doesn’t mention where he is deriving such clear evidence from and also avoids acknowledging the success of boycotts during the South African apartheid, which is a clear example of why it does work.
Another argument he makes is that “The Boycotts of Sodastream international showed, boycotts only hurt working people and do nothing to build a lasting peace in the region.” Khan fails to give full context to the situation. Palestinian themselves have called for a boycott of Israel, and therefore, undermining their call is not only patrionsing, but it also goes against an already oppressed community. Any short term and minor short-term economic dip is compensated over liberation. The Israeli opposition for boycott has gone from Netanyahu now down to Khan. The BDS campaign is effective and is working in helping Palestinians. This was also the case during the South African apartheid, boycotting is an effective strategy to stop oppressive regimes.
Peace talks over the decades has only resulted in more Palestinian land being occupied and their rights eroded. During the so called ‘peace process’ period the Israeli settlements have rapidly expanded in size and increased in numbers. The growth rate in Israel’s settlements was more than twice that of Israel proper between 2009 to 2014, making a viable Palestinian state a practically impossible reality on the ground.
Despite these facts, Khan wants to be seen leaning towards Netanyahu rather than the occuppied Palestinian people.
While Khan is now shoulder to shoulder with Netanyahu on boycott he is also echoing Netanyahu in being “committed to a peaceful two-state solution” but not putting any proposal forward as how this can be achieved.
Khan’s effort to derail the boycott campaign, both economic and cultural does not appear to have any impact as we have noted today G4S is planning to pull out of Israel.