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Legal blow for pro-Israel lobby as BDS continues its long advance

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The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) had a landmark legal victory against Israel last week. The European Court of Human Rights ruled unanimously against the convictions of Palestinian-rights campaigners by French courts for BDS protests they staged more than a decade ago.

In September 2009 and May 2010, the group of 11 activists entered a supermarket in Illzach, a town in north-east France, wearing t-shirts bearing the words “Boycott Israel”. They chanted slogans and passed out flyers urging shoppers not to buy Israeli goods, and also asked them to sign a petition requesting the supermarket chain to stop stocking such products altogether. Their actions were entirely peaceful, so much so that the company did not even file any legal charges against them.

However, the public prosecutor took a different view and launched a case against the activists, claiming that they had incited “hatred or discrimination” by calling for a boycott of Israel. This was, of course, entirely spurious. And entirely political, because France’s Minister of Justice had ordered local prosecutors to go after BDS activists. They were sentenced in French courts to pay punitive fines and costs. It was an object lesson in “justice” against the “crime” of standing up for equality and human rights.

Now, after a long legal struggle, the French BDS activists have been........

© Middle East Monitor

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