Friday, 18 Sep 2020 - 29 of Elul, 5780

The European Court of Human Rights rules against France criminal conviction of BDS activists

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The European Court of Human Rights (EHCR) in Strasbourg has ruled that a French criminal conviction against BDS activists involved in a campaign to boycott products imported from Israel had no sufficient grounds and violated their freedom of expression.

France’s highest appeals’ court in 2015 upheld rulings that convicted twelve members of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) on the basis of inciting racism and anti-Semitism. They were sentenced over the distribution of leaflets in supermarkets in eastern France and wearing T-shirts calling for the boycott of Israeli products.

The EHCR said there was little scope in European conventions for restrictions on political speech and that its very nature was to be controversial and virulent as long as it did not cross the line and call for violence, hatred or intolerance.

“The Court considered that the applicants’ conviction had lacked any relevant or sufficient grounds,” the ruling said.

France was ordered to pay 27,380 euros ($31,150) to each campaigner.

Israel considers the BDS movement as motivated by antisemitism and a desire to delegitimize the Jewish state.

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  1. I suggest – as I have not seen their judgement text – the court is wrong under Declaration of the Rights of Man Art IV, UN Universal D of R of Man Arts 29 and 30; and Europe’s own D of R of Man Art 17.
    These all hold that Liberty inc freedom of speech – stops at not depriving somebody else of these self same rights and at forbidding the [mis]use of the wording of these documents to proceed against their intention or UN policy. It is UN policy that Israel exist so BDS freedom of speech has NOT been infringed. Finally if “Palestine” wants a state they may not deny Israel one.

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