Let’s Take BDS to Court
The tactics of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement out to destroy Israel turn out to be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is largely held in higher esteem than the Bible is in Europe.
While this is hardly a surprise to those who still have their logical faculties intact, in the morally skewed and ethically challenged world that our generation inhabits, it is unfortunately necessary to have a court adjudicate that singling out the Jews — for the millionth time in world history — for discriminatory and hostile treatment is not the humanitarian thing to do.
It was judges on the panel of a Spanish administrative court who ruled that boycotting Israel is not compatible with the ECHR, as well as being in violation of the Spanish constitution.
The ruling came in a case brought before Administrative Law Court No. 1 of the city of Gijon recommending the legal invalidation of four points of a resolution adopted on Jan. 13, 2016, by the Gijon city council. In these points, Gijon is declared free of alleged “Israeli apartheid” and the city council undertakes to introduce legal measures to prevent public procurement and to avoid entering agreements with companies that allegedly violate international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In addition, they also pledge that the city will cooperate with the BDS movement against Israel.
The pro-Israeli group ACOM brought the case before the court. In its ruling, the court stated that the boycott constitutes “infringement of the fundamental rights of equality and nondiscrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion, or convictions expressly proscribed by our constitution as well as by international treaties.”
A motion similar to the one passed in Gijon was defeated last week by a majority of delegates in Tarragona, an eastern Spanish city with 130,000 residents. Tarragona is the fifth Spanish municipality where BDS motions have failed in recent weeks, while motions supporting an Israel boycott have passed in four Spanish municipalities.
The tide of BDS rises and falls, almost habitually by now, across municipal city councils all over Europe. Sometimes the motions calling for BDS fail and sometimes they pass, all depending on the political makeup of the city council and the extent of virulent anti-Israeli sentiment among its members. Such a situation, naturally, is untenable and ridiculous. City council members should not be allowed to vote on and subsequently implement discriminatory and frankly racist motions, which contravene international treaties and national constitutions, prohibiting city authorities from procuring Israeli goods and services based solely on how anti-Semitic the composition of their city council is.
The answer to this tide, of course, is to stop the BDS malaise from spreading once and for all. BDS is already illegal in some European countries, such as France, but it seems to make little difference in the overall European picture, where BDS motions still flourish. What is needed is a final judicial ruling on the utter illegality and incompatibility with human rights legislation from the highest authority on this issue in Europe, namely the European Court of Human Rights.
This court, based in Strasbourg, rules on individual or state applications alleging violations of the civil and political rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights. Since 1998, it has sat as a full-time court and individuals can apply to it directly.
The judgments of the European Court of Human Rights are binding on the countries concerned and have led governments to alter their legislation and administrative practice in a wide range of areas. This is why bringing the question of BDS before the European Court of Human Rights could prove to be a very powerful step against BDS, literally outlawing the movement across the European continent in one sweep with an authoritative ruling that would render the BDS movement’s purpose and actions in contravention of the European Convention of Human Rights.
While there is, of course, always the risk that the European Court of Human Rights would not find the BDS movement in violation of the convention, this is a result almost impossible to imagine. The BDS movement is so blatantly in violation of human rights legislation that the continuing presentation of BDS motions before city councils is shocking. It is, at the same time, a stark testament to the extreme spread of anti-Semitism across the European continent and the almost natural way in which it has become an acceptable feature of the political life on the continent.
As for the practicalities of bringing such a case before the European Court of Human Rights, this is naturally a matter for the lawyers. It is a venue that must be explored as a means to shutting the BDS down and officially exposing it, on European soil, as the racist and illegal movement that it is and as the very antithesis of everything for which the European Convention on Human Rights stands.
This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.