Paris Suburb Votes to Boycott All Goods From Israeli Settlements

Though recent rulings blocked pro-Palestine motions by French municipalities, Bondy district claims 'it is a legitimate civil right to be able to accept or refuse to buy merchandise according to its origin'

A tourist photographs a sign calling to boycott Israeli products from settlements. June 5, 2015
A tourist photographs a sign in Bethlehem calling to boycott Israeli products coming from settlements. June 5, 2015 AFP

A municipality near the French capital passed a motion declaring a boycott of Israeli settlement goods and vowing further research and labeling on other products from the Jewish state.

The council of Bondy, located north of Paris, whose mayor, Sylvine Thomassin, belongs to French President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party, passed the resolution with only five objections last week on June 23, the news website Rezo Citoyen reported on Saturday.

“The Municipal Council of Bondy decided to no longer buy products from Israeli settlements,” read the motion, which had only five objections. It also called for the application of European Commission regulations introduced in November, that require separate labeling for all settlement goods entering the European Union. The regulations so far are only enforced in Belgium, Britain and Denmark.

As long as the regulations are not applied in France, Bondy’s municipal council will “research prior to purchase the origin of products not clearly indicated.”

The motion follows a string of convictions against promoters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement against Israel in France, where their actions violate anti-discrimination laws prohibiting the singling out of nations, national groups or their products. Other recent court rulings in France have nullified pro-Palestinian motions and gestures by French municipalities, declaring their involvement in international issues beyond their legal purview.

The motion expresses opposition to these rulings. “It is a legitimate civil right to be able to accept or refuse to buy merchandise according to its origin,” the motion states. “And it is a local collective entity’s duty to verify the traceability of services and products it offers its population.”

Bondy is unusual among French municipalities engaged in pro-Palestinian lobbying because it has a Socialist mayor. Elsewhere, such actions are led by Communist-controlled municipalities.