Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

"A Setback in the Fight Against Prejudice": High Court judge upholds British local councils' BDS initiatives

Founded in Britain at the end of 2014, Jewish Human Rights Watch JHRW) first came to public attention when, as I mentioned at the time, it mounted a demonstration outside the anti-Israel NGO War on Want.  More recently, they sponsored a full-page ad in The Guardian in response to one advocating an academic boycott of Israel.

They have also sought judicial reviews against local councils passing BDS resolutions (Leicester City Council,  Swansea City Council and and Gwynedd Council) alleging that those resolutions breached equality law requirements, and “failed to have regard “to the need to eliminate discrimination and harassment of Jewish people”.

 Defence counsel for the councils concerned called this legal action “misconceived”,  brought because JHRW “wants to stop local authorities debating Israel’s actions,” and argued that the councils“were exercising their right to freedom of expression protected by both the common law and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.”

.Yesterday, 28 June, Lord Justice Simon, ruled at the High Court in London that however, said that the councils had nothing unlawful. (If so-minded, you can read the entire ruling, in all its legalese, here).

The JHRW intends to appeal the judge's decision:

Needless to say, the BDS crowd (including War on Want) are cock-a-hoop at the judge's decision.  As gleefully reported here:
'....Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council described the decision as “a victory for freedom of expression and the rights of elected councillors to debate and speak about issues of public interest through notices of motion.”
Stewart added: “It was a difficult decision to go to court on this matter. However, given that this was an issue about the democratic rights of councillors to speak on matters of public interest, we believed there was no other option than to defend that fundamental right in court.”
According to the Swansea Council leader, “as part of the court’s judgment costs have been awarded to the Council and, on behalf of the council taxpayers of Swansea, we will now be seeking to recover them from the applicants.”
Leicester mayor Sir Peter Soulsby, meanwhile, said: “This judgement confirms that councillors have the right to shine a spotlight on a legitimate area of public debate and to discuss issues that are of concern to their electorate.”
 Labour councillor Mohammed Dawood, who proposed the motion, said: “I understand the organisation has the right to appeal but I am very pleased with the result. As a council we have a right to express an opinion and I feel that is what was being questioned.”
Responding to the ruling, War on Want said it was “pleased that the court has rejected attacks on local councils standing up for Palestinians.”
Ryvka Barnard, Senior Campaigner on Militarism and Security at the charity, added that “attempts to stifle grassroots solidarity with Palestinians will not work. We are confident that this ruling will give confidence to more councils to stand up for justice.”....'
Not a squeak, it seems, from Gwynned Council's leader yet.


  1. BDS by local municipalities is likely to be virtue signalling at its most extreme with zero practical consequences. In 2011 I sent a Freedom of Information request to West Dunbartonshire, Scotland who had produced a similar boycott resolution. (please check out the full article on Five Minutes for Israel Not so wild West -- Much ado about Dunbartonshire).

    The gist, and I suspect these are general truths for the other virtue signalling municipalities, is that,
    a) they purchase through a buying cooperative and have no input about the origins of what they purchase and no alternative,
    b) they kept no records of buying an Israeli origin product before the resolution and are keeping no records about how or even if the resolution is being followed,
    c) no comparisons are made about the relative costs to the people they serve of replacing the presumably cheaper or better Israeli product with an alternative,
    d) there is an 'easy out', avoiding the resolution, of buying the forbidden products supplied by British companies (which accounts for just about everything) rather than directly from Israel which they never do anyway, and
    e) unavoidable Israeli purchases such as computers are simply ignored.

    Much ado about nothing.

  2. An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth
    by Matti Friedman, 2014/8/26

    SUMMARY: This article exposes intentional anti-Israel bias in the news media.

  3. British judges are incapable of distinguishing between free expression and racist fired boycotts.


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