BDS Turkey slams hypocritical French court decision on Israel

The Initiative to Boycott Israel for Palestine (BDS Turkey) has protested a court decision to mete out punishment to 12 BDS volunteers who called for a boycott of Israel in France. Freedom of expression in France does not extend to those that oppose the Zionist regime, BDS Turkey said, calling for a strengthening of the boycott in the interests of solidarity with the Palestinian people, who have come under increased attack

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The Initiative to Boycott Israel for Palestine (BDS Turkey) staged a demonstration outside the French Consulate in Istanbul’s central Taksim neighborhood on 11 November in protest at a recent French court ruling that convicted 12 young people who had led calls for a boycott of Israel in France.

“We condemn the judiciary’s decision in France, which is hypocritical and a collaborator of Israel,” BDS Turkey members said during the rally, while also holding aloft placards reading “We will rise until Palestine is free” and “BDS will remain free despite your judiciary.”

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Speaking on behalf of BDS Turkey, Ayşe Düzkan criticized the decision to sentence the 12 youth to either jail time or force them to pay a 30,000-euro fine at a time when Israel, its occupational army and paramilitary settlers have increased the rate of their attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The decision has made the BDS effectively illegal in France even though the BDS movement’s struggle had resulted in the European Union Commission appending notifications to products produced by Israeli settlers in areas that had been occupied after 1967, Düzkan said.

The French judiciary’s decision, and similar ones before it, make a mockery of the “Je Suis Charlie” campaign, the BDS members said, noting that freedom of expression in France did not extend to criticizing the “bloody Zionist regime.” In response, the members noted that intensifying the boycott was the best method of showing solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The BDS members in France are not alone, the members in Turkey said, while condemning the French state and vowing to continue with boycott activities.

Full text of the BDS Turkey’s announcement:

At a time when the illegitimate Israeli state, occupying army and paramilitary settlers are increasing the level of their harassment, attacks and murders against the Palestinian people in Jerusalem and the West Bank, the imperialist states and their collaborators have declared their support to the Zionist entity by punishing those that show solidarity with the Palestinian people. France, which had lauded itself for “its balanced stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” for decades, declared itself to be on the occupying Israel’s side with the French judiciary’s decision.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the occupying Israeli state, which takes inspiration from the boycott campaign that dealt a defeat to the racist regime of European White occupiers in South Africa, was subjected to a heavy blow in France. France’s Supreme Court recently approved punishments that include either prison time or a 30,000-euro fine against 12 BDS activists for handing out flyers in a supermarket that highlighted how “purchasing Israeli products legitimizes the country’s crimes in Gaza.” As such, the decision has created a legal precedent against BDS activities in France, effectively making the BDS illegal in France.

Last Wednesday, however, the EU Commission took an important decision as a result of the international BDS movement’s struggle, appending notifications to products produced by Israeli settlers in areas that had been occupied after 1967. With this decision, however, France has come down on the side of the Zionist state, which had furiously opposed the EU Commission’s decision, as the activities of the BDS members were permissible under the EU decision.

Last summer, the French state prohibited solidarity rallies with Gaza that were organized in response to the heartless murder of 2,200 Palestinians, most of them civilians; with the Supreme Court’s decision, it has shown once more that the imperialist states are always on the side of Israel and that they never stray far from the country’s line. Not without reason do representatives of the Israeli government say that the global BDS movement is one of the biggest threats the country is currently facing. As such, no one should be surprised if other imperialist countries pass similar decisions following France. In keeping with this line, French courts sentenced George Abdallah, a Lebanese internationalist who has devoted himself to the Palestinian cause, to life in prison after previously detaining him for 30 years without due process.

Similarly, no one should be surprised that, in an imperialist country such as France, the principle of freedom of expression can only have meaning and be exercised so long as it is not used against imperialism and Zionism. It has become apparent, however, that the French state is displaying a hypocritical and inconsistent stance toward freedom of expression. This decision from the French Supreme Court makes a mockery of the aftermath of the 7 January Charlie Hebdo massacre, when millions poured out onto the streets to say, “Je Suis Charlie.” This is because freedom of expression in France is not applicable when it is used against the bloody Zionist regime. Ultimately, it is clear that the principle of hypocrisy must also be added to the principles that make France what it is: liberty, equality and fraternity.

At present, the thing that the Palestinians, who have been abandoned against the occupiers’ attacks, need most is an effective boycott movement. Since 1 October, close to 80 Palestinians have been killed in Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza and 48 territories. The Zionist entity has created a ghetto for Palestinians in areas where it has tightened the military occupation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, continued to construct new settlements in these areas in spite of international law, as well as ignored – if not effectively encouraged – a number of assaults by armed settlers against Palestinians. For example, the perfunctory release of racist settlers who were suspected of staging a recent arson attack in Nablus that resulted in the burning to death of an 18-month-old baby, as well as his mother and father, is nothing but an invitation to future attacks.

At the same time, the accelerated attacks against the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem by the occupying forces and settlers since September have demonstrated how Israel sees no harm in trampling on the Palestinians’ sacred values. These types of attacks, as well as the house raids, arrests and frequent extrajudicial killings have become routine, infuriating Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank and leaving them no choice but to resist.

In declaring full support to the Palestinian people in their rebellion, we emphasize that Israel has also been able to continue its systematic attacks for more than half a century because it has never been punished, while reiterating that the biggest support to the Palestinian people stems from the pursuit of an effective boycott campaign. We condemn the French state for criminalizing boycott activities based on trumped-up reasons, cry that our comrades conducting BDS activities in France are not alone and promise to intensify our boycott activities until Turkey severs all ties with Israel.

Murderous Israel, collaborator France!

The Palestinian people are not alone in their resistance!

Freedom to Palestine, boycott Israel!

Initiative to Boycott Israel for Palestine (BDS Turkey)