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Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Seven Years Fat, Seven Lean

Last week may have seen the beginning of the end of anti-Israel boycotts in Europe.

It’s happened amid comments that anti-Israel feeling has reached fever-pitch in the U.K. and follows a seven-year-old fight which ended in the European Court of Human Rights, making me wonder how many hate-filled anti-Jewish campaigns had been staged in the interim.

Herb Keinon of the Jerusalem Post reported:

“ … 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.

“… 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.

“Jews in the region filed a complaint with the public prosecutor, who decided to prosecute Willem for “provoking discrimination on national, racial and religious grounds.” Willem was first acquitted by the Lille Criminal Court, but that decision was overturned on appeal in September 2003 and he was fined €1,000.

“His appeal to a higher French court was unsuccessful, and as a result he petitioned the European Court of Human rights in March 2005, saying his call for a boycott of Israeli products was part of a legitimate political debate, and that his freedom of expression had been violated.

“The court, made up of judges from Denmark, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Macedonia and the Czech Republic ruled that interference with the former mayor’s freedom of expression was needed to protect the rights of Israeli producers.

But the court ruling stated that Willem was not convicted for his political opinions, “’but for inciting the commission of a discriminatory, and therefore punishable, act. The court further noted that, under French law, the applicant was not entitled to take the place of the governmental authorities by declaring an embargo on products from a foreign country, and moreover that the penalty imposed on him had been relatively moderate.”

The one dissenting opinion was written by the Czech judge.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor hailed the ruling as 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,” he 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.’”

This may be the first light of a new dawn regarding anti-Israel economic measures but will never rid Europe of its ancient and constantly seething Jew-hatred which is what lies behind all these vicious campaigns.


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