(Wissam Nassar / Maan Images) Boycott activists beat Israel lobby in French high court
November 21, 2013
Palestine solidarity activists in France are celebrating a victory in the country’s highest criminal appeals court this week, affirming the earlier acquittal of an activist in a case stemming from protests calling for the boycott of Israeli goods.
The court victory comes as France’s Left Party became the first political party in the country to openly endorse BDS.
The case dates back to a July 2009 protest in a Carrefour supermarket in Évry, a suburb of Paris.
As the video of the protest above shows, activists wearing t-shirts saying "Boycott Apartheid Israel" sang, danced and chanted slogans calling on shoppers not to buy Israeli goods.
One protestor declared in English, "By these products you are supporting the Israeli army in order to kill the children of the Palestinians, so everyone needs to boycott Israel … If you are supporting peace, if you are supporting justice, you need to boycott these products."
Charged with incitement for posting video
After the video was posted on the website of the group CAPJPO-EuroPalestine, the group’s director, Olivia Zémor, was charged by prosecutors with "incitement to discrimination, hatred or violence toward a group of persons due to their belonging to the Israeli nation."
Zémor was acquitted by two lower courts. However, under the French justice system, the case did not end there.
Four pro-Israel groups – France-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Avocats sans Frontières (Lawyers without borders), Association France-Israel and the Simon Wiesenthal Center-affiliated Bureau National de Vigilance Contre l’Antisemitisme (National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism) – appealed to the Court of Cassation against the acquittals.
In a 19 November judgment, the Court of Cassation – the highest criminal court of appeal – affirmed the acquittals and ruled that the pro-Israel groups had no standing to bring an action.
"The lack of standing of the France-Israel Chamber of Commerce has been confirmed, at least for all the current cases," CAPJPO-EuroPalestine said in a statement lauding the court’s decision.
Several other cases against activists are still making their way through lower courts in several cities.
The ruling, moreover, "confirms the legality of the boycott Israel campaign as long as this state, its government and its army trample on the most elementary rights of the Palestinian people," the statement adds.
Solidarity was crucial
Olivia Zémor stressed that "national and international solidarity have played a very important part in this victory."
The French "government is watching the fact that repression not only does not stop our BDS actions, but that people that were not involved before are joining us," Zémor wrote in an email to The Electronic Intifada.
Zémor thanked in particular "our British comrades demonstrating in front of the French embassy and consulate."
The group said it "rejoices in this new legal victory and calls on all citizens of conscience to boycott Israel, its products and institutions as long as that country does not respect international law and the legitimate rights of Palestinians."
"Because our governments do not shoulder their responsibilities, as the the scandalous visit of François Hollande to Israel demonstrates, it is our duty to act," the statement added.
France’s president François Hollande, who made a high-profile visit to Israel this week, had publicly opposed BDS and claimed that boycotting Israeli goods – even from West Bank settlements – is "illegal."
The party called on Hollande to demand that Israel free all Palestinian political prisoners, freeze and dismantle settlements on Palestinian land, end the siege of Gaza and "recognize a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders."
Its statement adds:
Given the escalation of the Israeli government’s policy of repression toward all Palestinians, the national bureau of the Left Party, meeting on 16 November, decided to engage the party in the support of the campaigns of BDS France … Everyone can act, notably by boycotting Israeli goods and insisting that French companies do not participate in the colonization and apartheid policies of the Israeli government, and by demanding that the president and government apply real sanctions on Israel. Peace cannot come except by obliging Israel to respect the Palestinians and their universal rights.
Left Party leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon won a respectable 11 percent, or almost four million votes, in the first round of the 2012 presidential election.
While the Left Party currently holds no seats in the National Assembly, Mélenchon holds a seat in the European Parliament and the party has several dozen regional and local elected officials.
Zémor said the party’s endorsement was "psychologically" significant in a country where no major institution, union or university had yet joined the BDS campaign.
Such endorsements, Zémor said, would raise the profile of BDS activism and make it "more difficult to repress with trials."
Note: An earlier version of this post stated that several activists had been charged in relation to the July 2009 protest at the Carrefour in Évry. It has been changed to reflect that Olivia Zémor was the only person charged – and ultimately acquitted – for posting the video online.
:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.
The section for the comments of our readers has been closed, because of many out-of-topics.
Now you can post your own comments into our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/uruknet
Warning: include(./share/share2.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/content/25/8427425/html/vhosts/uruknet/colonna-centrale-pagina-ansi.php on line 385
Warning: include(): Failed opening './share/share2.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/local/php5_6/lib/php') in /home/content/25/8427425/html/vhosts/uruknet/colonna-centrale-pagina-ansi.php on line 385
Uruknet receives daily many hacking attempts. To prevent this, we have 10 websites on 6 servers in different places.
So, if the website is slow or it does not answer, you can recall one of the other web sites: www.uruknet.info www.uruknet.de www.uruknet.biz www.uruknet.org.uk www.uruknet.com www.uruknet.org - www.uruknet.it www.uruknet.eu www.uruknet.net www.uruknet.web.at.it
:: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.
We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
For more info go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own
that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
:: We always mention the author and link the original site and page of every article.