[News] Court overturns French ban on Palestine solidarity groups

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue May 3 12:15:42 EDT 2022

Court overturns French ban on Palestine solidarity groups
May 2, 2022
[image: A man with a microphone addresses people holding signs in a street]

A rally in Toulouse on 5 March against the French government’s order
dissolving the solidarity group Collectif Palestine Vaincra. On 29 April,
France’s highest court, the Conseil d’Etat, suspended the order against
that group and one other. (via Facebook

Emmanuel Macron’s war against campaigners for Palestinian rights suffered
another big setback on Friday.

The Conseil d’Etat, which acts as France’s supreme court ruling on
government actions, suspended the president’s order banning two Palestine
solidarity groups.

The court upheld the right to call for a boycott of Israeli goods and found
the government’s accusations of “anti-Semitism” against the two groups to
be unfounded.

In February, on Macron’s instructions, interior minister Gérald
Darmanin ordered
the dissolution
of Collectif Palestine Vaincra (Palestine Will Win Collective) and Comité
Palestine Action (Palestine Action Committee).

The government accused the two groups of inciting hatred and violence in
relation to Israel.
In a summary of its rulings
the Conseil d’Etat said it suspended the government orders after finding no
evidence “that the positions taken by these groups, although clear-cut and
even virulent, constitute a call for discrimination, hatred or violence or
a provocation to commit acts of terrorism.”

With respect to Comité Palestine Action, the court ruled that the
government’s order was “a serious and manifestly illegal violation of the
freedom of association and freedom of expression.”

In a finding relevant to the Palestinian-led BDS – boycott, divestment and
sanctions – campaign, the Conseil d’Etat stated that “the call for a
boycott of certain Israeli products by Collectif Palestine Vaincra cannot
by itself justify a dissolution order in the absence of other provocations
inciting hatred and violence.”

That is in tune with the unanimous June 2020 decision
by the European Court of Human Rights that France’s criminal prosecutions
of activists who have called for such boycotts violate fundamental
guarantees of freedom of expression.

The Macron administration has been trying to sidestep
that European ruling in order to continue its pro-Israel repression.
No evidence of anti-Semitism

In a blow to efforts to equate criticism of Israel and its Zionist state
ideology with anti-Jewish bigotry, the Conseil d’Etat found that the
government failed to provide evidence of “anti-Semitic acts” by the two

The full ruling on Comité Action Palestine states flatly that “it is not
established, contrary to the interior minister’s claims, that the group
disseminated anti-Semitic publications on its website.”

The government must now pay around $3,000 to each of the groups. The ruling
immediately suspends the order dissolving the two groups pending a final
ruling expected at a later stage.

Decisions by the Conseil D’Etat cannot be appealed.

Collectif Palestine Vaincra hailed
the Conseil d’Etat ruling for “reaffirming the legitimacy of supporting the
Palestinian people” and said it was “celebrating that it could freely
pursue its struggle.”

The group thanked activists who had protested the government measure, and
several solidarity organizations, including Association France-Palestine
and the Jewish-French Union for Peace
(UJFP), that filed briefs in its support at the Conseil d’Etat.

UJFP welcomed the ruling as a “victory against the criminalization of the
solidarity movement.”
Almost 11,000 people had signed a petition
against the dissolution orders.

Comité Action Palestine said it “would like to dedicate this victory to the
Palestinian people and their struggle.”
This is the second major rebuke in the space of a week against Macron’s
violations of the fundamental rights of French citizens.

On Tuesday, the Conseil d’Etat, overturned a government decree
ordering the closure of a mosque in Bordeaux.

Macron’s interior ministry issued the order earlier this year on the
pretext that the mosque was spreading hatred against France and Israel and
inciting terrorism.
“Milestone” judgment in Germany And in Germany last week, a court sided
with the local Palestine solidarity committee against city authorities in

The European Legal Support Center (ELSC), a group that defends free speech
about Palestine, hailed the decision as a “milestone judgment” that
“reaffirms the right to boycott.”

Following a smear campaign in Israeli media, Stuttgart authorities began
denying the solidarity group access to city premises and refused to
advertise its events on the city’s website.

The municipality cited the 2019 resolution passed by the Bundestag
Germany’s lower house of parliament, smearing the boycott, divestment and
sanctions movement as “anti-Semitic.”

The German court affirmed that the Bundestag resolution is nonbinding, and
that the Palestine solidarity group’s activities are constitutionally
protected free speech.

ELSC noted that this recent decision is “consistent with a growing trend in
German case law, which upholds the right of activists to use public
facilities for BDS-related events.”
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