Posted by: Lister | July 23, 2009

Boycotts and Racism

Were you in favour of a boycott against Apartheid South Africa? Good on you! Are in you in favour of a boycott against Hafrada Israel? You anti-semite!

That seems to be the opinion of the ECHR, if the JPost report is accurate:

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.

[…] 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.

[…] 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.”

You’d still have to make people buy those goods — without labelling them as coming from Cyprus.

(Via Tony Greenstein)



  1. From a comment by Senhal at JSF:

    In finding that M. Willem’s rights had not been violated it relied heavily on the somewhat ad hoc arguments offered by the French courts and subsequently the French government, viz.:

    1) M. Willem made his call for boycott in his official capacity as mayor of a village;

    […] I can’t see how this case can possibly set precedent for anyone other than French sub-national elected politicians holding executive office.

    […] The short version of the above: in no way can this ruling be construed as to ban the vast majority of Europeans from boycotting – or calling for the boycott of – Israeli goods and services. (But I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. If anyone more schooled than I in ECHR jurisprudence disagrees with me, I would be most interested in hearing your arguments; I’m fully aware of the fact that I may be completely wrong.)

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