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May 27, 2016 2:32 am

Let’s Take BDS to Court

avatar by Judith Bergman

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The European Court of Human Rights.  Photo: wiki commons.

The European Court of Human Rights. Photo: wiki commons.

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. 

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  • Laurel Fleger

    BDS should be shut down in the US. I don’t understand why it hasn’t happened yet.

  • Ursula Right

    BDS is about getting a politics of hate on the agenda – it doesn’t seem to aim actually to boycott but endlessly to debate singling Israel out for unique opprobrium so that, eventually, as has happened in some circles, today’s main form of antisemitism (anti-Zionism) is justified and is even considered an admirable anti-racist stance.

    From this perspective, engaging in long-drawn out court procedures could be affording the antisemites just the arena they so crave. What’s an unfavorable outcome in court, after years of headlines which carry the message of BDS & give the BDSer’s a forum to pretend to be silenced and muzzled?

    If the example of media coverage of pioneering decisions of Israel’s Supreme Court is anything to go by, when the Court invalidates a measure on grounds of human rights or humanitarian considerations, often the press only focus on the offending measure but fail to report the overturning decision and certainly fail to give it as much focus as was given the former.

  • ricardo

    “There is… the risk… (they) would not find the BDS movement in violation of the convention..” I’d say that this is a tremendous risk, and is of great concern. The Church, distributor of Jesus’s teachings of peace, love thy neighbor, etc. spent two millennia waging war and killing Jews. The UN, that great arbiter of peace and justice has been repeatedly shown to be inept, biased, corrupt, and inept. That latter is well worth repeating. The basic problem is human beings. They’ve always been predisposed to racism, tribalism, violence, and mayhem. That means that we Jews must always protect ourselves however we can. Yet we have the additional duty of trying to protect ourselves while being loyal to those higher values which we bring to the world (only generally to see them prized and then ignored). It’s really complicated. I would hope this court would act for true justice, which in this case is clear to the author, to me, and to those of us who are unbiased (as much as one can be). But even a court decision won’t change human nature. the Civil Rights Act hasn’t eliminated anti-black racism in this country, though it did drive it underground.

  • nat cheiman

    I think there is a causa for such litigation, indeed.

  • jake

    Amalec has to be destroyed ! Not “brought to Court” and possibly not condemned by a accomplice Court (Remember European 1930ies Years…!)
    Finally, all the Anti-Jewish and Nazis people possibly passed through Courts and lightly punished, won the Power and made the WWII and the Shoah……..

  • stevenl

    Every second son or daughter is supposed to be a lawyer. The other one a physician!
    If this is correct, why so few lawyers show-up to defend Israel?

  • Ephraim

    That would be a truly humanitarian gesture. It is too bad that in the US we have no vehicle for it. I think getting this cancer removed from universities would go a long way towards chilling the tsunami of antisemitism on US campuses, making them once again safe for everyone. Of course if, by some miracle, Hillary is not elected, then perhaps, when our jihadist-in-chief finally vacates the throne, US policy would move towards stamping out this blatant antisemitism. What a wonderful world it would be if these antisemitic, Israel bashing, US hating foreign savages were deported!

  • Myron Slater

    The European countries have conveniently forgotten their unhealthy past in helping the Nazis to kill the Jews. They tried to erase the past but we will never forget!!

  • Rumpleforeskin


  • Nancy Brenner

    This is a brilliant and effective plan!

  • I really can’t wait for election I really don’t care who wins but I don’t want to see Hillary’s face ever again I wish she would fall off our planet somehow I really like Trump but his views are too erratic but anything could be better than Obama but not Hillary please oh God no I will keep praying oh God please don’t let her win we have been through too much that would really be a test amen

  • James Young

    An excellent article by Ms Bergman and right on the money as far as dealing with this poison. As a British non-Jew with a son in a UK University, i am horrified by the way in which free speech is being set aside to make way for what is clearly Islamist backed anti-semitism.