The Troll of the Month is an episode we choose every month to expose anti-Semites and to show the positive outcomes in the fight against antisemitism in Europe.
In April, the Court of first instance of Montpellier (France) condemned two BDS activists (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement) for “incitement and Holocaust denial”. The case dates back to August 2014: Saadia Ben Fakha, 26, and Husein Abu-Zaid, 58, members of “BDS France 34”, the local branch located in Hérault, South of France, have shared on their public Facebook accounts a photomontage comparing Israeli army to the Nazis. They also published these comments: “Nazis and Zionists are the two faces of the same coin” and “What Hitler has made to the Jews: it was done intentionally for giving them rights and making them look appealing to the world”. On their Facebook pages, there were also public photos of dead Israeli soldiers with antisemitic comments, and photos of “quenelle” behind Jewish name of streets or cities.
The Montpellier local committee of the LDH (Ligue des droits de l’Homme – Human rights League), which often participate in BDS activities, discovered the Holocaust-denial posting and requested its removal. However, the BDS movement did not explicitly condemn it until LDH turned to justice, and even then absolved their activities of all responsibility. During their trial, both of them reiterated to be subject of a bad judgement and judicial harassment.
The Court’s sentence of the 6th of April is clear: a 30,000 fine and the two activists will have to pay one symbolic euro in damages to each civil parties that joined the case: the LDH, the Licra, France-Israël association, MRAP (Movement against Racism and for the Friendship between People), Lawyers without Borders and the antisemitism watchdog, the BNVCA.
Launched in 2005, the BDS is a global movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee, active in some European countries as United-Kingdom, Spain and France. The BDS main objectives are: “ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall; recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.”
This movement has been defined as anti-Zionist for many years. However, the line between anti-Zionism, anti-Israel feelings and antisemitism is not very clear. In France, some judicial cases have underlined the presence of antisemitic activists. In October 2015, the French Court of Cassation confirmed the decision to condemn 14 BDS activists for the offense of “incitement to discrimination, to hatred or to violence against a person or a group of person on grounds of origins or belonging to any ethnic group, nation, race or on account of religion or lifestyle.”