Friday 15th October 2010
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Media Release
FRENCH CONSULATE PROTESTED OVER PERSECUTION OF “BOYCOTT ISRAEL” ACTIVISTS.
The French Consulate in Edinburgh faced protest yesterday on the day that a French Green Party MP and a university professor faced trial on charges of racism over their support for the growing campaign to boycott Israel.
The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) organised the protest to show support with Senator Boumediene-Thiery and Professor Omar Slaouti, a leading member of the NPA anticapitalist party. Around 30 campaigners held placards with slogans such as “Boycott Israel, not Gypsies”, and “Israel is a country, not a race”.
However, the case against the French pair lasted only 45 minutes before being thrown out of the Pontoise court to cheers from their supporters, who had gathered in their hundreds despite a national transport strike.
SPSC chair Mick Napier welcomed the legal decision but criticised what he referred to as the “political show-trials”. Said Napier, “The French Interior Minister, Brice Hortefeux, stated before the trials had even begun that boycotting Israel was a crime. This is a very dangerous interference in the judicial process, but it is encouraging to hear that the judge today was not swayed. It is clearly ironic that a French state in the process of expelling its Roma population is accusing human rights activists of racism.”
Napier was one of five SPSC activists cleared of similar racism charges in Scotland earlier this year. In dismissing that case, Sheriff Scott said, “… if persons on a public march designed to protest against and publicise alleged crimes committed by a state and its army are afraid to name that state for fear of being charged with racially aggravated behaviour, it would render worthless their Article 10(1) rights. Presumably their placards would have to read, ‘Genocide in an unspecified state in the Middle East’; ‘Boycott an unspecified state in the Middle East’”.
Olivia Zemor of French group EuroPalestine said that more trials were set for coming months, including the appeal by Sakina Arnaud, who was convicted of racism for fixing a sticker saying "Boycott Apartheid Israel" to a bottle of orange juice.
Notes for editors:
1. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign started in autumn 2000 in response to the Palestinian second uprising against Israeli occupation (Intifada). The SPSC has branches and groups of supporters in several Scottish cities and universities, as well as individual members across Scotland and elsewhere.
For further information, contact:
SPSC Chair, Mick Napier: 0131 620 0052; 07958002591
(default reply to this email)
2. Some background to the charges against the French activists can be found here:
3. A website report of the French Consulate protest (Thurs 14th Oct 2010) can be accessed here:
Photos can be downloaded and are free to use.
And the BDS France website: