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Britain’s Miliband raps Israel boycott efforts

LONDON (JTA) — Britain’s foreign secretary expressed dismay that British trade unions are discussing motions calling for boycotts of Israel.

“The government is dismayed that motions calling for boycotts of Israel are being discussed at trade union congresses and conferences this summer,” David Miliband said Tuesday in a statement.

The statement said that Ivan Lewis, the minister responsible for the Middle East, would meet with leaders of trade unions this week to discuss the issue "to make clear the Government’s firm belief that calls for boycotts of Israel cannot and do not contribute to peace."

Miliband said the economic, academic and cultural boycotts "obstruct opportunities for cooperation and dialogue, and serve only to polarize debate further. Boycotts would only make it harder to achieve the peace that both Palestinians and Israelis deserve and desire."

Lewis, who is Jewish, was chief executive of the Manchester Jewish Federation before he was elected to the parliament. Last month he was appointed Minister of State at the foreign office.
 

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