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Wednesday, 22 July 2009

European Court of Human Rights Rules Against Boycott

Below is a post from Scottish PSC. It isn't quite correct as the ECHR can't make something legal or illegal but it has persuasive powers. The ruling is also quite specific to France and French law.

However the ruling is still quite ominous and would have meant that a Boycott of South Africa and Nazi Germany were also discriminatory and illegal!! In other words, you can be convicted of racial hatred for opposing racists!!

Tony Greenstein

European Court rules boycott of Israel illegal
Boycott is 'discriminatory and punishable' - EU Court judges
'interference with...freedom of expression needed to protect the rights of Israeli producers.' - Jerusalem Post
'First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win' - Gandhi

The European Court of Human Rights has moved to criminalise support for Palestinian human rights. The EU has consistently rewarded an Israel sinking ever deeper into crime, with open ethnic cleansers as Foreign Minister and Prime Minister. Now the judiciary joins the executive in aligning with Israel and criminalising those who support the call from Palestine for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against the bloody violence of the Israeli state. Hardly suprising when the British Government is involved in an equally bloody military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Birds of a blood-stained feather flock together.

This ruling is a response to the growing support for BDS following Israel's most recent massacres in Gaza in January. It criminalises the entire Scottish, Irish and South African trade union movements.

It might soon become illegal to stand up to the violence of Israel with the non-violent weapon of boycott. The courts, then, will leave supporters of Palestine with no choice but to challenge these laws in every way possible, including civil disobedience and non-violent direct action. This ruling is designed to protect those carrying out the ethnic cleansing of Palestine: according to the Jerusalem Post (see below), the European court of Human Rights 'ruled that interference with...freedom of expression was needed to protect the rights of Israeli producers.' Producing goods on ethnically cleansed land while working to destroy Palestinian producers.

The growing BDS movement will not be deterred by this latest ruling. After all, the British Government defied the ICJ (International Court of Justice) 2004 ruling that Israel's apartheid Wall is illegal and must come down. The people of Gaza are being crushed by an open alliance of Israel, the US, the EU and the Arab regimes. They have no allies but a slowly awakening world civil society. They have paid many times over in mountains of corpses for their refusal to accept Israeli/Western plans for them to disappear. Compared to their heroism and suffering, the cost of standing up for human rights against the European Court of Human Rights remains very modest. Here in Scotland, we do not face Israeli death squads, the murder of our children, bulldozed homes, burning farms, prison walls, the kidnapping of our finest sons and daughters into dungeons, routine torture, expulsion or daily humiliation by a murderous soldiery.

Five Scottish PSC members will appear in court on Friday August 7 charged with 'racially aggravated' crime for disrupting a musical performance by official 'Cultural Ambassadors' of Israel when they came to Scotland last year. The charges are no more absurd than the defence of 'Israeli producers' by the European Court of Human Rights while Gaza lives with Israeli-induced hunger and misery. The five are privileged to stand alongside so many others fighting for justice, and with the people of Palestine whose resistance to Zionist crime has inspired the world, but has long been criminalised by Israel's Western allies.

We invite you to come to the Court on Chambers St, Edinburgh at 9.15am on Friday 7 August to show your:

- solidarity with Palestine
- support for the boycott of Israel
- opposition to 'interference with freedom of expression to protect Israeli producers'

European court: Israel boycotts are unlawful discrimination
Israel finally won one last week in an international human rights court.

On Thursday, the Council of Europe's European Court of Human Rights upheld a French ruling that it was illegal and discriminatory to boycott Israeli goods, and that making it illegal to call for a boycott of Israeli goods did not constitute a violation of one's freedom of expression.

The Council of Europe is based in Strasbourg, has some 47 member states and is independent of the European Union. The court is made up of one judge from each member state, and the rulings of the court carry moral weight throughout Europe.

On Thursday the court ruled by a vote of 6-1 that the French court did not violate the freedom of expression of the Communist mayor of the small French town of Seclin, Jean-Claude Fernand Willem, who in October 2002 announced at a town hall meeting that he intended to call on the municipality to boycott Israeli products.

Jews in the region filed a complaint with the public prosecutor, who decided to prosecute Willem for "provoking discrimination on national, racial and religious grounds." Willem was first acquitted by the Lille Criminal Court, but that decision was overturned on appeal in September 2003 and he was fined €1,000.

His appeal to a higher French court was unsuccessful, and as a result he petitioned the European Court of Human rights in March 2005, saying his call for a boycott of Israeli products was part of a legitimate political debate, and that his freedom of expression had been violated.

The court, made up of judges from Denmark, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Macedonia and the Czech Republic .

According to a statement issued by the court on Thursday, the court held the view that Willem was not convicted for his political opinions, "but for inciting the commission of a discriminatory, and therefore punishable, act. The Court further noted that, under French law, the applicant was not entitled to take the place of the governmental authorities by declaring an embargo on products from a foreign country, and moreover that the penalty imposed on him had been relatively moderate."

The one dissenting opinion was written by the Czech judge.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor hailed the ruling Sunday, saying it provided important ammunition for those challenging on legal grounds calls frequently heard in Europe for a boycott of Israeli products, as well as calls for a boycott of Israeli academia.

"It is now clear that in every country in Europe there is a precedent for calling boycotts of Israeli goods a violation of the law," Palmor said. "This is an important precedent, one that says very clearly that boycott calls are discriminatory. We hope this will help us push back against all the calls for boycotts of Israeli goods."

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