Tuesday, January 26, 2016

France: Prime minister calls to ban BDS

Via France24:
France’s prime minister has criticised boycotts of Israeli products, saying they fuel anti-Semitic sentiment. But critics say using France's strict laws against "inciting discrimination" to criminalise the boycotts violates free speech.

Addressing a meeting of the Crif, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, on Monday, Manuel Valls said “French authorities must change their attitude” towards demonstrations that call for a boycott of Israeli products, which he accused of fostering a “nauseating climate” in the country.

It is perfectly obvious how we have shifted from criticism of Israel to anti-Zionism and from anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism,” he added, slamming a recent protest in Paris, staged by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which opposes the Israeli “colonisation” of Palestinian land and has grown in popularity as people lose faith in the stalled Mideast peace process.

When the Crif’s president, Roger Cukierman, repeated longstanding calls to ban all BDS protests, Valls said he had discussed the issue with France’s interior minister and would raise it again. He did not specify what actions he had in mind, though adding that any new step would be taken “in compliance with the rule of law”.

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