European Court rules boycott of Israel illegal

This smacks of outright, racist, hypocrisy! Wasn’t Iraq boycotted all so recently? Isn’t Cuba boycotted (sure they are by the States anyway)? Why is Israel above such boycotts? It’s disgusting!

European Court rules boycott of Israel illegal

Boycott is ‘discriminatory and punishable’ – EU Court judges

‘interference with…freedom of expression needed to protect the rights of Israeli producers.’ – Jerusalem Post

‘First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win’ – Gandhi

The European Court of Human Rights has moved to criminalise support for Palestinian human rights. The EU has consistently rewarded an Israel sinking ever deeper into crime, with open ethnic cleansers as Foreign Minister and Prime Minister. Now the judiciary joins the executive in aligning with Israel and criminalising those who support the call from Palestine for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against the bloody violence of the Israeli state. Hardly suprising when the British Government is involved in an equally bloody military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Birds of a blood-stained feather flock together.

This ruling is a response to the growing support for BDS following Israel’s most recent massacres in Gaza in January. It criminalises the entire Scottish, Irish and South African trade union movements.

It might soon become illegal to stand up to the violence of Israel with the non-violent weapon of boycott. The courts, then, will leave supporters of Palestine with no choice but to challenge these laws in every way possible, including civil disobedience and non-violent direct action. This ruling is designed to protect those carrying out the ethnic cleansing of Palestine: according to the Jerusalem Post (see below), the European court of Human Rights ‘ruled that interference with…freedom of expression was needed to protect the rights of Israeli producers.’ Producing goods on ethnically cleansed land while working to destroy Palestinian producers.

The growing BDS movement will not be deterred by this latest ruling. After all, the British Government defied the ICJ (International Court of Justice) 2004 ruling that Israel’s apartheid Wall is illegal and must come down. The people of Gaza are being crushed by an open alliance of Israel, the US, the EU and the Arab regimes. They have no allies but a slowly awakening world civil society. They have paid many times over in mountains of corpses for their refusal to accept Israeli/Western plans for them to disappear. Compared to their heroism and suffering, the cost of standing up for human rights against the European Court of Human Rights remains very modest. Here in Scotland, we do not face Israeli death squads, the murder of our children, bulldozed homes, burning farms, prison walls, the kidnapping of our finest sons and daughters into dungeons, routine torture, expulsion or daily humiliation by a murderous soldiery.

Five Scottish PSC members will appear in court on Friday August 7 charged with ‘racially aggravated’ crime for disrupting a musical performance by official ‘Cultural Ambassadors’ of Israel when they came to Scotland last year. The charges are no more absurd than the defence of ‘Israeli producers’ by the European Court of Human Rights while Gaza lives with Israeli-induced hunger and misery. The five are privileged to stand alongside so many others fighting for justice, and with the people of Palestine whose resistance to Zionist crime has inspired the world, but has long been criminalised by Israel’s Western allies.

We invite you to come to the Court on Chambers St, Edinburgh at 9.15am on Friday 7 August to show your:

– solidarity with Palestine

– support for the boycott of Israel

– opposition to ‘interference with freedom of expression to protect Israeli producers’

European court: Israel boycotts are unlawful discrimination

Israel finally won one last week in an international human rights court.

On Thursday, the Council of Europe’s European Court of Human Rights upheld a French ruling that it was illegal and discriminatory to boycott Israeli goods, and that making it illegal to call for a boycott of Israeli goods did not constitute a violation of one’s freedom of expression.

The Council of Europe is based in Strasbourg, has some 47 member states and is independent of the European Union. The court is made up of one judge from each member state, and the rulings of the court carry moral weight throughout Europe.

On Thursday the court ruled by a vote of 6-1 that the French court did not violate the freedom of expression of the Communist mayor of the small French town of Seclin, Jean-Claude Fernand Willem, who in October 2002 announced at a town hall meeting that he intended to call on the municipality to boycott Israeli products.

Jews in the region filed a complaint with the public prosecutor, who decided to prosecute Willem for “provoking discrimination on national, racial and religious grounds.” Willem was first acquitted by the Lille Criminal Court, but that decision was overturned on appeal in September 2003 and he was fined €1,000.

His appeal to a higher French court was unsuccessful, and as a result he petitioned the European Court of Human rights in March 2005, saying his call for a boycott of Israeli products was part of a legitimate political debate, and that his freedom of expression had been violated.

The court, made up of judges from Denmark, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Macedonia and the Czech Republic .

According to a statement issued by the court on Thursday, the court held the view that Willem was not convicted for his political opinions, “but for inciting the commission of a discriminatory, and therefore punishable, act. The Court further noted that, under French law, the applicant was not entitled to take the place of the governmental authorities by declaring an embargo on products from a foreign country, and moreover that the penalty imposed on him had been relatively moderate.”

The one dissenting opinion was written by the Czech judge.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor hailed the ruling Sunday, saying it provided important ammunition for those challenging on legal grounds calls frequently heard in Europe for a boycott of Israeli products, as well as calls for a boycott of Israeli academia.

“It is now clear that in every country in Europe there is a precedent for calling boycotts of Israeli goods a violation of the law,” Palmor said. “This is an important precedent, one that says very clearly that boycott calls are discriminatory. We hope this will help us push back against all the calls for boycotts of Israeli goods.”

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I have an `islamic’ swimsuit!

I placed islamic in inverted commas simply because I am not a big fan of labelling things as Islamic when they are not exclusively for Islam or explicitly Islamic… but what else can I call it? Any NICE suggestions are welcome.

That point aside I finally bit the bullet (partially inspired by a fellow blogger)and bought myself a splashgear swimsuit. This company is based in California, USA and was set up by a marine biologist, who came up with the idea when she wore hijab and missed swimming 🙂

In total, with shipping from the USA to the UK it costs about £50, a bit steep but I felt worth it if it was any good. However, British Customs and Excise then held my package hostage demanding payment of about £50 (tax + custom and excise)!!!! I was most put out and disappointed, but I coughed up the money anyway… I really really missed swimming 🙂

Having arrived I decided to ‘test’ it before taking the plunge, and took a shower in it. It was very light, did not absorb much water and the top actually got looser. I concluded that I felt comfortable with the level of modesty it offered, and vowed to try in out `for real’. Plucking up the courage to do that took me a few months. It also looked pretty ok, expect for the head piece… that just makes me look like a ninja turtle or some sort of prehistoric water creature! (swamp thing maybe?)

I recently joined a gym which has a pool, and I asked the lady who sold me the membership about restrictions they had on swimwear, and explained the basic idea of the suit I had, she said it was fine, people swim in leggings and T-shirts. That was a real relief, in the UK people can be quite anal about what you can and cannot wear in a pool. My suit was specifically designed to comply with health and safety regulations, but I really did not want a confrontation.

This particular gym has a pseudo-women’s only evening once a week, I say pseudo because you occasionally see a male employee knocking about, so I chose that evening for my suit’s debut and signed up for an aqua aerobics class. I put on a brave face, tried very hard not to think of Manal Omar’s horrid experience at the David Lloyd (a fancy sports club) Centre in Oxford, and put on my 4 piece suit. I have to wear a run of the mill one-piece under a pair of swim pants (which are a longer version of swim shorts that men wear), and a rash guard top that is designed to be looser across the chest than your average rash guard top, and my fish-type head cover.

Nobody seemed to give me a second glass, I say seemed because I dont wear my glasses when swimming, and basically I am as blind as a bat without them, so in principle I may have received funny looks, but can be pretty sure that nobody pointed and laughed loudly at me. Most importantly I was left alone, nobody challenged me or questioned the suitability of the outfit.

From a practical perspective, the suit was good. Swimming was easy, and I just need to get used to having something next to my skin while swimming. It did introduce extra resistance while doing the aqua exercises, and the trousers did balloon while I was standing. I think next time I will get the narrower leg trousers (I got the wide leg ones). When you exit the water the top does stick but a quick tug at the bottom loosens it immediately, this is something that was made clear by the manufacturers though.

In all, if asked, I would give the suit 9/10. Marks deducted for the head piece, and 1/2 for increased resistance (if only very slight).

splashgear 1

funny thing

doing a quick search on what muslim women wear to swim, I uncovered a plethora of hate sites and blogs. The Islamic dress code (for women, they neglected the male counterpart) is almost always seen as women being forced by men, that given half a chance we would all prance about in bikinis. They claim that because muslim women are expected to dress decently, this somehow means that muslim men are ‘uncontrollable savages, who believe that non-hija wearing women should be raped’, yes really, their moronic analyses extends that far!!!!

Reading through some of these, I got the impression that they (idiots of the web) felt that muslim women are viewed as ‘superior’. Since this is not a claim nor a characteristic of any muslim I have come across, does this mean that those who constantly feel the need to put down muslim women for what they wear, somehow feel inferior? It certainly smacks of it!

Not only that but when someone automatically assumes that a womens life choice is dictated to her by a man, does that not mean that that person is themsleves from a highly patriarchal society, in which men pull all the strings? How sad.

How un-racist is britain?

This year’s Celebrity Big Brother program, where a bunch of celebreties are chucked into a house and warched by the public whoo votes one of them out every week, has caused quite the international stir this year.

The main character’s at the centre of this crisis are britain’s Jade Goody, contestant in a previous non-celebrity version of big brother, and india’s Shilpa Shetty, Bollywood actress. Ms. Shetty has been the victim of serious racial bullying within the house, having touched the food some housemates were disgusted, with one of them declaring ‘you have no idea where those hands have been’, when she disposed of the chicken soup down the toilet, a housemate suggested that ‘pick the bones out with her teeth’, when she applied hair bleach to her face, they declared that is was because white women are considered more attractive in india, and that she was a ‘dog’, her perfect english was ridiculed, and they just wanted her to go ‘home’.

Shilpa Shetty

Throughout this all, Shilpa remained very dignified, classy and respectable, calmly telling the pig ignorant housemates to ‘take some eloqution and manners classes’.

In protest, 40, 000 complaints were recieved regarding the show, one of the shows sponsers withdrew their sponsorship, and The Perfume Shop removed Jade Goody’s perfume from their shelves, and Gordon Brown apologies profusely to the Indian public… India is the 2nd largest investor in London, which may explain the politicians’ decency.

Jade was eventually voted out with an amazing 80% of the public voting to get her out.

So, why should I care? Well, the media declares that this is a window unto the british people, and that is worrying. Even though I dont believe it, I have not really experienced such vile animosity, except once from a pig ignorant BNP person, British society is far more varied than the media is giving it credit for. However, the rise of the fascists is gaining momentum, with even the prime minister paying his respect to them with such statements as ‘…and if they dont like it, they should go home’. So I would say the events at the Big Brother house, even though not representative of the real Britain, is certainly a mirror unto the future IF nothing is done about it.