Sep 10, 2010

#BDS: Boycott leadership: solidarity with French activists

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), on behalf of its constituent organizations and unions representing the majority of Palestinian civil society, strongly condemns the decision taken by French authorities to prosecute people of conscience for calling for a boycott of Israeli produce. These state-sanctioned forms of repression amount to active support for Israeli violations of international law and have serious implications on political freedoms in France and across Europe.

On 13 September, five members of the group "Boycott 68" will appear in court charged with "incitement to discrimination, hatred or violence" after distributing leaflets asking shoppers to boycott Israeli products ("Halte aux procès politiques contre les défenseurs du droit!" BDS France). Last year, Sakina Arnaud was fined 1000 euros for attaching a "Boycott Israel" sticker to a fruit juice carton. Arnaud will appear in court again on 24 September to appeal the decision. The campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, called for by Palestinian civil society in 2005, is a nonviolent, just and effective way of pressuring Israel to comply with international law and end its institutionalized discrimination and violence towards Palestinians. People of conscience all over the world, including many progressive Israelis and Jews, engage in BDS campaigns as a form of solidarity with an oppressed people, suffering under Israeli occupation and apartheid. BDS is based on unambiguous respect for international law and universal human rights; as such, it is categorically opposed to all forms of racism and racial discrimination, including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. The BNC is therefore deeply troubled by state-sanctioned smear campaigns against BDS activists.

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