News Swiss parliament blocks attempt to criminalize Israel boycott
Electronic Intifada reports that “the Swiss upper house aborted an attempt to criminalize the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign for Palestinian rights”. Swiss foreign minister criticized the original anti-BDS motion, saying it threatened the essential right of civil society to criticize governments. Swiss foreign minister told the upper house on Tuesday that sufficient controls on financing of foreign organizations were in place and he backed the amended motion removing all references to BDS. “Swiss values must not be abandoned, especially when democracy and civil society are supported, in accordance with the constitution, which provides general support for peace, democracy and civil society.” The problem with the original motion was that it threatened the right to challenge governments.
Rejecting right wing claims, the government said: “The right of citizens to advocate for BDS is part and parcel of the fundamental freedoms protected by the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights,” Robert Kolb, a professor of international law at the University of Geneva, said in a press release from BDS Switzerland that welcomed parliament’s rejection of the anti-BDS language. In rejecting the People’s Party motion, Switzerland joins the European Union, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden in resisting pressure to curtail BDS as a tool to defend the rights of the Palestinian people.
Read full report in Electronic Intifada