Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Europe:How does Europe fight the BDS movement?

Obviously, the fact that in the United States states have been passing anti-BDS laws divesting from companies that are boycotting Israel has an effect on European banks, companies, etc.

Via the European Jewish Press:
Association Belgo-Palestinienne
Wallonie-Bruxelles BDS campaign

Is Europe fighting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement? Although the atmosphere seems to  point out that BDS is stronger, many European countries are fighting this phenomena. 
(...) Also this week, Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis came out firmly against the BDS movement during a meeting with a delegation of Knesset members, who visited the country to mark 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Spain and Israel. 
In the United States, at least 12 states have already passed anti-BDS laws, divesting from companies that are boycotting Israel, including Arizona, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, and South Carolina. 
Spain is already regulating laws against BDS. 
The Partido Popular (People’s Party), the ruling party in Spain, has approved amendments that explicitly reject the BDS campaign, according to the pro-Israel Spanish group ACOM. 
Switzerland’s national Council – the lower chamber of the legislature – passed a bill to stop government funding of organizations that promote boycotts of Israel and spread antisemitism and racism. 
The measure will be submitted in May to the Swiss Council of States, the upper chamber of the legislature, which will decide whether it becomes law. 
Last October the Bank of Ireland closed the accounts of the pro-BDS organization’s Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). The group’s accounts were terminated in Ireland and Northern Ireland, according to media reports. 
In many other countries there is more and more awareness about the negative consequences of BDS. It appears to be a large trend within the European banking system to sever ties with pro-BDS groups.
Similar decisions like in Ireland, Spain and Switzerland, have been taken also  in other European countries including Austria, Germany, France and the UK where banks have closed down accounts of Palestinian campaign groups. The  first  bank accounts that has been closed as anti-BDS policy were  in France, Germany and Austria in 2016. Commerzbank, Germany’s second largest bank, shut a BDS account last June. The Austrian bank Bawag shut down the account of the Austria-Arab Culture Center. The Austrian financial company Erste Group terminated BDS Austria’s account in April.French banking giant BNP Paribas shut down its subsidiary DAB bank  account with BDS-Campaign in February in Munich. Belgium-based BDS group that holds a Paribas bank account is called Association Belgo-Palestinienne (Belgian-Palestinian Association). It has an office in New York State where Gov. Andrew Coumo signed an anti-BDS executive order in June. He said at the time: “If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you.” 
In Italy, a  BDS gathering due to take place in the Municipality of Rome was prohibited. (...)
In response to a question from a member of the European Parliament about banning BDS in Europe, EU’s foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini stated last September:’’ The EU stands firm in protecting freedom of expression and freedom of association in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which is applicable on EU Member States' territory, including with regard to BDS actions carried out on this territory. Freedom of expression, as underlined by the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, is also applicable to information or ideas ‘‘that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population’’. She added however that ‘’the EU rejects the BDS campaign's attempts to isolate Israel and is opposed to any boycott of Israel.’’
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