Palestinian civil society and Israeli citizens of conscience condemn France’s suppression of human rights


Palestinian civil society and Israeli citizens of conscience condemn France’s suppression of human rights

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), the broadest Palestinian civil society coalition and the Palestinian leadership of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, and Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call From Within, a group of Palestinians, Jews and citizens of Israel, once again reiterate that they stand in full solidarity with the French people of conscience who are being prosecuted for their support of a boycott of Israel and strongly condemns the French state repression against them.[1]

French activist Olivia Zémor of the EuroPalestine group will appear in court in Paris on June 17 for publishing a video of a BDS action that took place in 2009 in which many BDS activists took part to protest business as usual with a state practicing occupation, colonialism and apartheid.[2]

Activist Moumbaris Alexander was recently summoned to appear in court after publishing information relating to BDS successes. Many other BDS supporters face criminal charges, but most cases have been adjourned while the constitutionality of the charges is considered by a higher court. The case of Olivia Zémor will not be adjourned in this way, according to statements released on the EuroPalestine website.

The unfounded and blatantly political charges of ‘discrimination’ faced by BDS activists have been brought following complaints from rightwing, pro-Israel lobby groups. “Altogether, we have filed over 80 similar complaints, everywhere in France,” the president of the Bureau National de Vigilance Contre l’Antisémitisme (BNCVA) has boasted. In 2009, activist Sakina Arnaud was fined €1000 for attaching a “Boycott Israel” sticker to a fruit juice carton. Last year, Senator Alima Boumediene-Thiery and prominent activist Omar Slaouti were acquitted following a huge mobilisation outside the court that heard the case against them. Demonstrations in solidarity with prosecuted activists have taken place outside French embassies and in other prominent public areas in Scotland, Ireland, Italy and Sweden.[3]

We strongly condemn the politically motivated prosecutions of those who take action in support of Palestinian rights. That the French state is an active defender of Israel is well known; that it is willing to attack the basic freedoms of speech and association of its own citizens in order to do so is shameful. We remind the government of France of its obligations under international law to respect basic human rights and end all complicity in Israel’s war crimes and other violations of international law. The French government must urgently end its arms trade with Israel and impose sanctions upon it rather than persecute dissidents who dare to shoulder the moral responsibility to end Israel’s impunity and French complicity in it. With these witch hunts and blatant suppression of free speech to protect Israeli occupation and apartheid, the French government stands on the wrong side of history.

We commend and warmly salute the entirety of the French BDS movement for its continued actions in response to the Palestinian civil society call for BDS. We are confident that, far from deterring BDS activists, the French persecution of human rights defenders will only will only give them further strength and courage and reveal the shameful record of human rights violations committed by France.

La Lutte Continue!

Palestinian BDS National Committee
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call From Within

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