Free speech win with Dutch upholding Israel boycott

Israel has been pressuring the US and European countries to introduce legislation and take other repressive measures to confront the BDS movement.

Free speech win with Dutch upholding Israel boycott

World Bulletin / News Desk

Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said on Thursday the Dutch government has said that the Dutch people are entitled a request by Israel 

The Dutch government has defended the right to boycott Israel, in a rejection of Israeli efforts to outlaw such political activity.

According to Koenders, Israel regularly raises the topic of BDS in bilateral meetings with the Dutch government. The minister said that while the government itself does not support the boycott of Israel, “endorsing BDS falls under freedom of expression.”

The Netherlands is the second European Union (EU) state to publicly state that support for the Palestinian-led BDS campaign should be protected under the principle of freedom of expression. In March 2016, the Swedish foreign ministry affirmed that BDS “is a civil society movement” and that “governments should not interfere in civil society organization views.”

Netherlands is the second country in the European Union to have announced its support for people’s right to join the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. 

“Statements or meetings concerning BDS are protected by freedom of expression and freedom of assembly as enshrined in the Dutch Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights,” Koenders said. 

Dutch Ambassador to Israel Gilles Beschoor Plug defended Koender’s remarks, saying that joining the campaign in Holland “is not illegal and therefore it falls within the limits of freedom.”

“As long as what one says is not illegal you are free to say it,” he added.

Riya Hassan, Europe coordinator for the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), welcomed Koenders comments.

“With the Netherlands joining Sweden in defending the right to advocate and campaign for Palestinian rights under international law through BDS, Israel’s attempt to get the BDS movement outlawed in Europe and to bully its supporters into silence has been dealt a serious blow.”

source: Middle East Monitor

Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Mayıs 2016, 09:45