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European Court of Human Rights criminalises boycott of Israel watch

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    The European Court of Human Rights recently upheld a ruling that it is discriminatory and illegal to call to boycott Israeli goods. This has set a moral precedence throughout Europe.

    This change, is effectively reversing the progress of the Scottish Trade Union Congress(representing every trade Union in Scotland) which joined Ireland and South Africa in committing to join the campaign to boycott, initiate divestment and create sanctions against Israel.

    Here is a response from the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign:
    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.

    Amnesty International recently published a report detailing the crimes against humanity, war crimes and human rights violations which occurred in Gaza in January.
    Both sides were guilty, but overwhelming evidence shows Israel and the IDF completely disregarded the safety of Palestinian civilians in it's disproportionate attack. So far the international community has almost entirely ignored what has happened.The report can be found here:
    http://www.amnesty.org.uk/uploads/do.../doc_19503.pdf

    Personally, I believe it is my basic right to boycott goods produced on ethnically cleansed land. If you believe in peace and peaceful protest then you may choose to boycott Israeli goods, which carry barcodes with the prefix of 729 - it is a simple choice.
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    Boycotting a nation's goods should never be illegal. It was one of the main reasons the South African regime was overthrown. I just wish that Palestinian campaign groups weren't basically an extension of the SWP. It doesn't do their credibility much good. Occupying university buildings etc.
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    (Original post by gcampb)
    The European Court of Human Rights recently upheld a ruling that it is discriminatory and illegal to call to boycott Israeli goods. This has set a moral precedence throughout Europe.
    Source? I'm searching Israeli newspapers but they haven't reported this.
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    Here is the article taken from the Jerusalem Post on the ruling:

    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 ruled that interference with the former mayor's freedom of expression was needed to protect the rights of Israeli producers.

    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."


    I'm sorry for not posting the source in the first place, but they keep changing the URL.
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    I can't find any credible source that states that they've done such a thing yet.
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    (Original post by Sundous)
    I can't find any credible source that states that they've done such a thing yet.
    Post number five mate.
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    (Original post by Feral Beast)
    How the bloody hell do you criminalise a boycott? Go and force people to spend money on Israeli goods? :wtf:
    Exactly. :confused:

    Unless you criminalise the distribution of leaflets or information regarding the planned boycott? Which would be an even bigger crime.

    The right to boycott should be a basic democratic right, along with the right to withdraw your labour and your right to choose how to spend your personal income after tax. This sounds very unfair.
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    (Original post by gcampb)
    I'm sorry for not posting the source in the first place, but they keep changing the URL.
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satelli...cle%2FShowFull
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    It seems this only applies under French law but still.
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    As much as I dislike anti-Israeli unions, banning peaceful boycotts is totalitarian and immoral. It seems freedom of expression means only freedom to express things the EU and national governments like in a way they wish you to. The EDHR is not worth the paper it's written on.
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    (Original post by gcampb)
    This change, is effectively reversing the progress of the Scottish Trade Union Congress(representing every trade Union in Scotland)
    It doesn't.

    Here is a response from the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign:
    [I]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.
    I'm not quite sure how the British Government could defy such a ruling. In case they haven't noticed, we pulled out of the British Mandate quite a while ago.

    Personally, I believe it is my basic right to boycott goods produced on ethnically cleansed land. If you believe in peace and peaceful protest then you may choose to boycott Israeli goods, which carry barcodes with the prefix of 729 - it is a simple choice.
    Oh look, a lefty arguing for individual liberty, freedom of choice and the right to discriminate. It's a shame you only respect those 'basic' rights when they can be used for your own purposes.
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    (Original post by gcampb)
    Post number five mate.
    where's the link?

    Edit: never minds, thanks
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    (Original post by L i b)
    Oh look, a lefty arguing for individual liberty, freedom of choice and the right to discriminate. It's a shame you only respect those 'basic' rights when they can be used for your own purposes.
    That's why they always phrase it as a 'right to protest' rather than a more general right to spend one's income in a manner of one's own choosing. The implication is that controlling peoples' spending is fair game if there isn't a 'cause' being served that they believe is sufficiently worthwhile.
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    (Original post by Sakujo)
    It seems this only applies under French law but still.
    It applies to a French case. A man was charged with the French version of inciting racial hatred for calling for a boycott. He is arguing that this is a violation of his right to freedom of expression. The court has ruled that this is not a matter of expression and that he has no protected rights in this regard.

    Doesn't make the original law he was charged with any more moral though.
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    (Original post by gcampb)


    Both sides were guilty, but overwhelming evidence shows Israel and the IDF completely disregarded the safety of Palestinian civilians in it's disproportionate attack. So far the international community has almost entirely ignored what has happened.The report can be found here:
    http://www.amnesty.org.uk/uploads/do.../doc_19503.pdf

    IMO I don't care if you boycott Israeli goods because, tbh its not like you are the economic hub of this world.

    But the statement I put up above is just flat out wrong. Let us put a little thing called the Geneva Convention into his argument. What does the Geneva Convention say about proportionality:

    'The principle of proportionality is embedded in almost every national legal system and underlies the international legal order. Its function in domestic law is to relate means to ends. In armed conflict, the principle is used to judge first, the lawfulness in jus ad bellum of the strategic goals in the use of force for self-defense, and second, the lawfulness in jus in bello of any armed attack that causes civilian casualties…In the conduct of war, when a party commits a lawful attack against a military objective, the principle of proportionality also comes into play whenever there is collateral damage, that is, civilian casualties or damage to a nonmilitary objective…attacks are prohibited if they cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, or damage to civilian objects that is excessive in relation to the anticipated concrete and direct military advantage of the attack. This creates a permanent obligation for military commanders to consider the results of the attack compared to the advantage anticipated.'

    Therefore it is upon the aggressor to determine whether the military benefits of its actions are enough to allow civilian casualties - not up to you. Lets not forget that of the 1100 deaths in Gaza, about 700 were militants.

    Onto the civilian casualties. Civilian casualties in warfare are tragic, but who is to blame? This is what the Geneva Convention states:

    'The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favour or impede military operations.'

    Military Parties should : 'endeavour to remove the civilian population, individual civilians and civilian objects under their control from the vicinity of military objectives;
    (b) avoid locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas;
    (c) take the other necessary precautions to protect the civilian population, individual civilians and civilian objects under their control against the dangers resulting from military operations.'


    In these cases Hamas did none of those points, therefore the Geneva Convention states that those civilian casualties are the fault of Hamas, the military organization that was in control of the area of high population density.

    The international community has not ignored what has happened, in contrast they have completely warped it into something it was not.

    Also here is a graphic image of Hamas's rocket activity:


    Why do you not boycott goods from Sudan or Sri Lanka??
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    (Original post by Sakujo)
    It seems this only applies under French law but still.
    Well not exactly, it means now that if I were to choose to petition my University to boycott Israeli culturally and academically then I could be stopped. It's up to the UK government to enforce this and it's by no means mandatory - but it means they could do it. This is not unlikely seeing as how government organisations such as the Charities Commission has stepped in, in the past to seize funds destined to Palestine.

    That's what is so dangerous about it, it is criminalising the right to boycott because it is deemed as 'discriminatory'.
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    (Original post by gcampb)
    Well not exactly, it means now that if I were to choose to petition my University to boycott Israeli culturally and academically then I could be stopped. It's up to the UK government to enforce this and it's by no means mandatory - but it means they could do it. This is not unlikely seeing as how government organisations such as the Charities Commission has stepped in, in the past to seize funds destined to Palestine.

    That's what is so dangerous about it, it is criminalising the right to boycott because it is deemed as 'discriminatory'.
    Ironically, the people who demanded that our traditional liberties be replaced by arbitrary laws against 'discrimination' are largely the same people who want to boycott Israel. I have no sympathy and nor will the judge I'm sure.
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    I'm an Israeli and I think that people should have the choice to buy or not buy whatever they want.

    However I think you people are interpreting this decision in a wrong way. I don't think it has anything to do with private consumption, but rather with organized boycotts, and especially with government spending issues.

    You should consider that with this kind of action some people are being pressured into boycotting even though the may not wish to do so. For example, what if you need the copaxon medicine for one of your family members? There's no replacement for it yet. But if you are a member of some labor organization which boycotts Israel - you're in a problem.

    I'm guessing that's the rationale behind the decision, although I still don't support it.
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    @Dno13..

    Perhaps you should read the Amnesty International report on the the January attacks in Gaza. The link is in the original post.
    It's very comprehensive and takes into account both sides of the conflict. However, as I've said, the overwhelming evidence
    shows that Israel completely disregarded the safety of the Palestinian civilians.
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    (Original post by gcampb)
    @Dno13..

    Perhaps you should read the Amnesty International report on the the January attacks in Gaza. The link is in the original post.
    It's very comprehensive and takes into account both sides of the conflict. However, as I've said, the overwhelming evidence
    shows that Israel completely disregarded the safety of the Palestinian civilians.
    Dont worry mate I read it, and I have formalized my own judgment that Amnesty International completely disregarded the Geneva Convention. Here is a little interesting read if you want:
    http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_co...x_article=1599

    But as I stated earlier, if you want to boycott Israeli goods go for it, it is your right not to spend your money on something produced by a country you believe is morally incorrect.
 
 
 
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