European Court: France Violated BDS Activists’ Rights
The European Court of Human Rights has ordered France to pay damages totaling 101,000 euros ($115,000) to 11 activists from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement who were convicted in connection with a protest against the sale of Israeli goods. The 2009 protest, at a supermarket in Illzach, town in eastern France, resulted in convictions on charges of incitement to economic discrimination. The Strasbourg-based human rights court found that France had violated the activists’ right to freedom of expression. The court’s rulings are binding on those nations that signed the European Convention on Human Rights, in force since 1953. France is a signatory. The BDS movement hailed the decision. “This momentous court ruling is a decisive victory for freedom of expression, for human rights defenders and for the BDS movement for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality,” a senior figure said in a statement. In handing down their decision, the justices cited Article 10 of the convention’s charter, which says any protests should be allowed to take place as long as they do not “cross the line and turn into a call for violence, hatred or intolerance.” Israel and its supporters say the BDS movement is anti-Semitic for targeting just Israel, the world’s sole Jewish state.