Europees Hof: activisten mochten oproepen tot boycot Israëlische producten

Activisten die opriepen tot een boycot van Israëlische producten zijn daarvoor ten onrechte veroordeeld, heeft de Europese rechter bepaald. Volgens het Europees Hof voor de Rechten van de Mens (EHRM) valt de oproep onder de vrijheid van meningsuiting.

Een groep van elf pro-Palestijnse activisten riep in 2009 en 2010 in een supermarkt in Frankrijk klanten op om geen Israëlische producten te kopen. Ze werden daarvoor door de hoogste Franse rechter veroordeeld voor het aanzetten tot economische discriminatie.

Maar die veroordeling was niet terecht, oordeelde een college van zeven rechters vandaag unaniem. De acties waren volgens het Europees Hof een vorm van politieke expressie en daarom toegestaan in het kader van het publieke debat.

De actievoerders maken onderdeel uit van de BDS-beweging, die pleit voor economische druk op Israël om de bezetting van Palestijns gebied te beëindigen. BDS staat voor boycot, desinvesteringen en sancties. Aanhangers van de beweging reageerden vandaag opgelucht. De Palestijnse activist Rita Ahmad noemde de uitspraak "een beslissende overwinning".

Volgens de Israëlische regering is de BDS-beweging antisemitisch en streeft zij naar de vernietiging van de Joodse staat. En ook de Duitse Bondsdag stemde vorig jaar voor een motie die de BDS-beweging als antisemitisch bestempelt. Maar volgens het Europees Hof is het oproepen tot een boycot "niet noodzakelijk hetzelfde als aanzetten tot discriminatie".


"Dit is een interessante en belangrijke uitspraak", zegt hoogleraar mensenrechten Barbara Oomen van het University College Roosevelt. "Het is een steun in de rug voor deze vorm van protest."

Omdat beslissingen van het EHRM over alle landen in de Raad van Europa gaan, heeft deze uitspraak een belangrijke precedentwerking. "Een vergelijkbare oproep tot een boycot zal door de rechter waarschijnlijk op dezelfde manier beoordeeld worden", aldus Oomen.

Grenzen aan boycot

Maar volgens hoogleraar mensenrechten Antoine Buyse van de Universiteit Utrecht betekent de uitspraak niet dat hiermee alle boycotacties toegestaan zijn. "Het Hof zegt niet dat alle uitingen van de BDS-beweging in orde zijn. Er zitten ook aan boycots grenzen, zoals het oproepen tot geweld of discriminatie. Bijvoorbeeld door een boycot van een bepaalde bevolkingsgroep binnen een land. Maar daar was hier volgens de rechters geen sprake van."

Het Europees Hof beval de Franse regering om de activisten zo'n 7000 euro per persoon aan schadevergoeding te betalen. Frankrijk heeft drie maanden de tijd om tegen de beslissing in beroep te gaan.

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What is the American public to make of Attorney General Bill Barr’s congressional testimony defending his actions in the Trump ally Roger Stone’s case? During Barr’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee last week, Barr claimed the mantle of fairness and compassion, arguing that the career prosecutors were out of line in seeking a nine-year sentence for this first-time offender, who is a nonviolent criminal and 67 years old. Back in February, Barr had withdrawn the submission of career professionals for a seven-to-nine-year sentence and instead sought a sentence of at most three to four years. Two weeks later, a district judge sentenced Stone to 40 months of jail time, which Barr testified was a vindication in full.Sound reasonable? Not in the slightest. 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