November 15, 2016
Supporters protest against BDS activities [file photo]
The international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to boycott Israel has recently had several successes in the international arena, Safa news agency reported on Monday. They included official support from the EU Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini.
In answer to a parliamentary question on whether the EU commission will commit to defending BDS activists’ right to exercise their democratic freedom of expression, Mogherini was clear: “The EU stands firm in protecting freedom of expression and freedom of association… including with regard to BDS actions carried out on this territory.” The question was asked by Northern Ireland’s Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson.
The EU official also noted that the European Court of Human Rights has affirmed that freedom of expression applies to ideas “that offend, shock or disturb the state or any sector of the population.”
Meanwhile, Sweden, Holland, Ireland, Amnesty International and the International Federation for Human Rights — along with other countries and organisations — defended the right to boycott Israel as part of the struggle for Palestinian rights.
In France, the municipal council in Évry has adopted a resolution supporting the right to boycott Israel and called on the French government to end its criminalisation of BDS. The Paris suburb’s decision also includes a boycott of Israel goods produced in illegal settlements; it called on the government to take similar measures.
The Green Party in Kibik, Canada, has responded to the BDS call for an academic, cultural, military and economic boycott of Israel pending the end of the occupation and Israeli apartheid. Across the border in the US, the Student Council of Portland University in Oregon adopted overwhelmingly a decision calling for the university administration to divest from the occupied territories.
In occupied Palestine itself, the Europe Campaigns Officer of the Palestinian BDS National Committee said that Israel has allocated $35 million to fight BDS. It proposes to trace, monitor and damage its work on the internet and to expose the people who are behind the boycott movement. The committee added that Israel has authorised the interior minister to refuse entry permits to any BDS activists trying to visit Israel or the occupied Palestinian territories.