Ban on Israel boycotts denies us the freedoms we say we’re defending

Comparison between Israel and apartheid South Africa is distasteful, but Cameron shouldn’t follow in Thatcher’s footsteps

Watching David Cameron’s government grappling with the Israeli boycott movement reminds me of one of the brighter moments in British public life during the turbulent Thatcher years. It came when Mrs T tried to stop the Olympic squad going to the 1980 Moscow Games in protest against the recent Russian invasion of Afghanistan. The Olympic movement, including Seb (now Lord) Coe and Steve Ovett, who would both win gold medals, said no. To her credit, Thatcher did not prevent them. In this instance, Cameron is not doing as well.

Here’s the Guardian’ s account of what happened in 1980, culled years later from the Whitehall archives, complete with pressure on Coe’s truculent father and manager, Peter. It was applied by a young ministerial thruster called Douglas Hurd.

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Comparison between Israel and apartheid South Africa is distasteful, but Cameron shouldn’t follow in Thatcher’s footsteps

Watching David Cameron’s government grappling with the Israeli boycott movement reminds me of one of the brighter moments in British public life during the turbulent Thatcher years. It came when Mrs T tried to stop the Olympic squad going to the 1980 Moscow Games in protest against the recent Russian invasion of Afghanistan. The Olympic movement, including Seb (now Lord) Coe and Steve Ovett, who would both win gold medals, said no. To her credit, Thatcher did not prevent them. In this instance, Cameron is not doing as well.

Here’s the Guardian’ s account of what happened in 1980, culled years later from the Whitehall archives, complete with pressure on Coe’s truculent father and manager, Peter. It was applied by a young ministerial thruster called Douglas Hurd.

 

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