French High Court Upholds Convictions Of 12 Protesters Who Called For Boycott Of Israel

libertyI have been writing for years about the alarming decline of free speech in France where citizens are routinely investigated and prosecuted for criticism groups or religions. We discussed this trend most recently with the prosecution of far right politician Marine Le Pen for her exercise of free speech against immigration. Now, France’s Supreme Court (the Court of Cassation) has upheld the shocking prosecution of twelve anti-Israel activists for protesting Israel and supporting the global boycott movement of Israeli goods. It is an appalling moment for a nation that once embodied the very essence of Western Civilization and freedoms.

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of France and love visiting the country. However, the rapidly declined free speech rights in France (as with crackdowns in England, Canada, and other nations) is incredibly depressing.

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have seen comedians targets with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here).

In the case of Le Pen, she complained that there were “10 to 15” places in France where Muslims worshipped in the streets outside mosques when they were full: “I’m sorry, but for those who like talking a lot about World War II, if it comes to talking about the occupation, we can talk about it, because that (Muslims praying on the street) is the occupation of territory. . . It is an occupation of part of the territory, suburbs where religious law is applied. Sure, there are no armoured vehicles, no soldiers, but it is an occupation nonetheless and it weighs on residents.” That is all that it takes now for a political leader to be prosecuted in France.

The most recent case is the outgrowth of the global campaign in favor of “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” (BDS) of Israel. These campaigners were targeting France’s Carrefour supermarkets and protested while wearing shirts emblazoned with “Long Live Palestine, Boycott Israel.” They handed out pamphlets in the eastern city of Mulhouse alleging that the sale of Israeli goods supports “war crimes” in Gaza. They also chanted slogans like “Israel assassinates, Carrefour is complicit.” That would seem to be core political advocacy protected under even the most narrow definitions of free speech. Yet, a dozen activists – Laila Assakali, Yahya Assakali, Assya Ben Lakbir, Habiba Assakali, Sylviane Mure, Farida Sarr, Aline Parmentier, Mohammad Akbar, Jean-Michel Baldassi, Maxime Roll, Jacques Ballouey and Henry Eichholtzer – were found guilty of inciting hate or discrimination. They were convicted under the bizarrely misnamed French Freedom of the Press law which forbids “discrimination, hatred or violence toward a person or group of people on grounds of their origin, their belonging or their not belonging to an ethnic group, a nation, a race or a certain religion.”

Pascal Markowicz, head of the legal department at the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France (the umbrella group for French Jewish organisations), celebrated the obvious denial of free speech, stating “If they say their freedom of expression has been violated, then now France’s highest legal instance ruled otherwise.” Well that is certainly true, but it also true that this was a denial of free speech. It is merely a denial with the authority of a court, not an unusual situation but a disappointing one in France where freedom of speech once united that nation. Others celebrated a high court saying that BDS is essentially hate speech. Markowitz reportedly amplified this position by saying “BDS is illegal in France.”

I previously wrote about the hypocrisy of French and other leaders marching as “Friends of Charlie” after the Hebdo massacre. This celebration of free speech was followed by mass arrests of people for expressing their views in France.

We have many readers in France and that country still has many who believe strongly in the inviolate position of freedom of speech as a human right. They are clearly however in the minority as France plunges into speech controls and censorship.

Jonathan Turley

126 thoughts on “French High Court Upholds Convictions Of 12 Protesters Who Called For Boycott Of Israel”

    1. I see that someone placed Peter Schiff in this photograph. I did not know he was a part of the main stream media. His father just passed away. He died while he was in prison for fighting against the income tax. Peter had tried to get him out because he was quite ill but had no luck. He continuously criticizes the central Banksters and politicians. I don’t; think he belongs in this group but I could be wrong. He surely not a lover of fiat currencies.

      I agree with the other people. All paid talking heads that will say anything to continue to get paid.


    The Local and National Media Sell Out
    Zionist Jews Own the Media
    “The power of lies, deceptions and disinformation as Americans pay the price of collective stupidity.”
    To America’s so-called journalists omission is the name of the game
    The most powerful form of lie is the omission – George Orwell
    They are quite accomplished in telling a blatant lie also
    The Local, National and World Media talking heads are Zionist Liars. These criminals have an agenda against America
    They are complicit in 9/11, War Crimes, Mass Murder, Maiming, Treason, Torture, Forgery, Fraud and Thievery – Innumerable Crimes
    We are calling for the arrests of all the Zionist Liars
    Zionist Criminals should be peacefully apprehended and incarcerated but not executed

    They have not reported;
    1.) All the U.S. invasions are Wars of Aggression – War Crimes
    2.) Obama’s birth certificates and draft card are forgeries
    3.) Obama claims to have been born in Hawaii. Hawaii governor could not find Obama’s birth certificate. Hospitals have no record
    4.) Israel and American traitors did 9/11
    5.) Vaccines are full of toxic chemicals. Vaccines cause autism and many other diseases
    6.) Obama is one of the biggest criminals in world history
    7.) Zionist Jews control America
    8.) According to the Federal Government, Obama’s Social Security number is a fake
    9.) Obama is a homosexual. His real name is Barry Soetoro
    10.) Obama was a War Criminal in 2005-2007 for voting to fund U.S. and Israeli War Crimes
    11.) Obama held offices of Illinois senator, U.S. senator and U.S. president illegally as he is not a U.S. citizen
    12.) Obama was born in Kenya and is a citizen of Indonesia
    13.) By law Obama is not the president. He can be arrested like anyone else
    14.) For swearing in an illegal president Chief Justice John Roberts is the biggest traitor in American history
    15.) Your boards of elections are corrupt in placing non-citizen, criminal Obama on the ballot
    16.) Obama surrendered his law license in 2008 due to Illinois bar application fraud
    17.) According to our Constitution Obama never qualified as a ‘Natural Born Citizen’ for the office of Presidency
    18.) Many Members of Congress have been voting to fund U.S. and Israeli War Crimes. They can be indicted as war criminals
    19.) Washington DC = Nazi Berlin in Nuremberg war crimes law
    20.) Obama, Bush and many in the U.S. government are mass murderers / war criminals
    21.) Only the ignorant, liars or cowards, will refer to Obama as president
    22.) Obama, Bush and their followers have blood on their hands before God which is the worst situation imaginable in this evil world
    23.) Obama, Bush, their followers, U.S. government and media are doing the deeds of Satan, their master
    24.) Judaism Rejects Zionism and the state of Israel
    25.) The Federal Reserve, which is not part of the Federal Government, is a Zionist Banker Mafia
    26.) Anti-Zionism is not Anti-Semitism. Zionism is not Judaism
    27.) 3 towers came down on 9/11. It was an inside job, controlled demolition with nukes and nanothermite
    28.) The 9/11 dust was full of asbestos which causes mesothelioma, lung cancer and other serious potentially fatal diseases
    29.) For sixteen years Obama claimed he was born In Kenya
    30.) By many credible reports Osama Bin Laden died of kidney failure in 2001

  2. Sylvestre writes, “steve . . . Forgive the off-the-wall question. Yesterday, there was a great NYT front page article on arbitration and a ‘steve’ wrote a couple of comments that sounded a lot like you. Crazy, I know. But, was it you?”

    It definitely wasn’t me, and I just read the class-action arbitration article. It was a very good glimpse at the problem with consumer contracts that can be unconconscionable (so one-sided that it would be unfair to enforce them).

    Despite this, although I’ve never been to arbitration or sued personally or professionally as a litigant, I hereby disclose that I use binding arbitration language in my attorney-client contracts. 🙂 Why? Two big reasons:

    1) To protect myself. Juries don’t like attorneys as plaintiffs or defendants, even if the attorney’s legal position in a client dispute is reasonable. It mostly saves me, a sole proprietor from being dragged into small claims, and the time and effort needed to defend unmeritorious claims.

    2) I also require that the arbitration be carried out by the American Arbitration Association which has a filing fee of about $800.00, a large enough hurdle that it roots out most of the clients who somehow freely project blame like it was me who got into the situation for which they needed representation in the first place.

    I do verbally and in writing encourage the potential client to seek independent counsel to review my fee agreement with him or her. That’s about all I can do. As a sole proprietor, I need a retainer agreement to protect me, and the potential client has the right to move on to another lawyer if he or she doesn’t like it. I can’t be spending all of my time in court defending a disgruntled client’s right to vent.

    Moving onto the unconscionability of clauses banning class actions, the position of each party (e.g., the banks and the consumer) is certainly understandable, especially with the bargaining power disparity in a contract that most consumers do not understand and don’t read because clicking on “I agree” is a means to the loan or credit.

    While reading the NYT article, it seemed to me that there are two available solutions, both of which would require new law:

    1) As with attorneys, all of whom have a fiduciary relationship (a duty of highest good faith and fair dealing) with the client, the law should require each party to any contract for goods under the Uniform Commercial Code or services have a fiduciary relationship to the other(s). Frankly, one of the most difficult aspects of practicing law is that it must be planned as a business in light of fiduciary duties. There’s no sleazeball stuff on threat of ethical violations and probation, suspension or disbarment (even if no crime occurs). If lawyers can do it, I see no reason why the average Joe in business shouldn’t be required to do it, too. It would be like a Taser to the arse and go a long way to develop contractual relations.


    2) View consumer contracts for unconscionability not only at the time of execution (signing) but at the time one of the parties seeks to enforce it and another party wants to defend against it. Traditionally, contract law allowed the defense of unconscionability of the contract only looking backward, i.e., at the time of the contract’s formation. A radical but perhaps reasonable change would allow the contract to be reviewed for unconscionability in the future relationship of the parties under the contract when a dispute arises.

    Thanks for the article. It was an eye-opener on class-action bans, which I hadn’t seen before.

    Best regards.

  3. The Israeli / Zionist controlled United States is the core problem

    The Jewish / Israeli lobby is the main cause of America’s tyranny
    (“AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) exercises near total control over the electoral process in America through the ability to outspend any other group and destroy anyone who stands against them.”)

  4. Veterans Today: Until such time as American voters wake up from their deep sleep and coma, rise and stand up for America, all presidential candidates and all candidates for Senate and House will always be Israeli candidates and never American candidates.


    ​2200 Architects and Engineers are telling us the U.S. Government is Lying about 9/11
    The U.S. Government is complicit in the murders of 9/11
    Our enemy does not want you to know about the 3rd building, WTC 7. It was not hit by a plane
    This issue exposes the wide and deep corruption of the governments, courts and media

  6. Barcaloungers!

    Wonderful touch.

    Truly the perfect opportunity to Make Republicans Look Great Again.

  7. GREAT NEWS! The GOP has hired a new moderator….

    Dear Ben:

    I write to you in your capacity as debate negotiator for Republican presidential candidates. I understand you may have an opening for a moderator for your Feb. 26 debate. Please consider this letter my application for the job.

    I applaud Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus’s decision to suspend NBC as a debate host because of the “mean” and “gotcha” questions CNBC asked at last week’s debate. I feel passionately that a debate is neither the time nor the place for hard questions, and as debate moderator I will rigorously adhere to gentle and affectionate questioning.

    I also share Donald Trump’s outrage that Telemundo, a Spanish-language outlet, would be allowed to co-host the February debate even though a Telemundo journalist had the gall to challenge Trump about the rapists and criminals he says Mexico sends to America. Let me assure you that, as debate moderator, I would not challenge Trump or any other candidate on this or any factual matter. I do not even speak Spanish, a claim that had the enthusiastic concurrence of my high school Spanish teacher, Señora Sopanoff.

    Furthermore, I have read your draft letter proposing requirements for future debate moderators, and I wholeheartedly and unreservedly commit to abide by every one of them. Specifically, I pledge to meet the following demands you listed:

    ● Not to allow the temperature in the room to exceed 67 degrees at any time.

    ● Not to ask any candidate to raise his/her hand at any time.

    ● Not to ask yes/no questions.

    ● Not to engage in any “lightning round” questioning.

    ● Not to allow any camera angles that show the candidates using notes.

    ● Not to show an empty lectern if a candidate is late in returning from a bathroom break.

    ● Not to show any “reaction shots” of audience members or of me, the moderator.

    ● Not to broadcast any graphics or biographical information without the express pre-approval of the candidates.

    Additionally, per your list of requirements, I promise:

    ● To allow all candidates to make opening and closing statements of at least 30 seconds each.

    ● To allow the candidates unlimited time to rebut one another whenever their names are mentioned.

    ● To ask an equal number of questions of each candidate, and to guarantee that each candidate receives an equal amount of response time.

    As a further inducement to hire me as your moderator, I will go beyond the above-mentioned requirements cited in your letter. You also posed questions about standards for inclusion in the debate, debate length, use of “gong/buzzer/bell,” debate format, stage design, and the type and size of the audience and clothing worn by audience members.

    In order to guarantee that this debate will be the thoroughly enjoyable experience for the candidates that we all want it to be, I plan to allow all 15 candidates to debate on the stage at the same time and not to cut off candidates if they exceed their time limits. At the same time, I pledge to hold the overall debate length to 30 minutes, including opening and closing statements, in order to minimize time for gaffes and unscripted remarks. To avoid unhelpful reactions from the audience, I promise to have no audience. I will pipe in artificial applause of precisely the same pre-agreed length and decibel level for all candidates after all answers.

    I will submit my questions in advance for pre-approval by the campaigns. No questions will be asked about women, racial minorities or any other issue that might cast the Republican Party in an unfavorable light. There will be no questions about any candidate’s past statements or actions, including but not limited to: bankruptcies, financial difficulties, missed votes and inconsistencies. Candidates will not be required to perform math or to provide supporting evidence for claims. Candidates will be seated in Barcaloungers. If candidates feel overheated, the moderator will fan them while they answer and provide them with their choice of lemon or cucumber ice water. I will begin each question with the phrase “Mother, may I,” and I will address candidates as “Your Excellency,” “Your Eminence” or another honorific approved by the campaigns.

    I hope this application meets with your approval. I believe the format outlined above will, after the CNBC debate debacle, truly Make Republicans Look Great Again and return journalists to their proper role as palace courtiers. I am hopeful that I can convince my colleagues at to live-stream the debate. Though I cannot promise you that any network will broadcast the debate, I believe this should not be a major impediment. Under the requirements you proposed, very few people will be watching anyway.


    Dana Milbank

  8. ‘Freakonomics’ is a very popular book. So was the DaVinci Code. ‘Freakonomics’ is not without its criticism…

    “Freakonomics has been criticized for, in fact, being a work of sociology and/or criminology, rather than economics. Israeli economist Ariel Rubinstein criticized the book for making use of dubious statistics and complained that “economists like Levitt … have swaggered off into other fields”, saying that the “connection to economics … [is] none” and that the book is an example of “academic imperialism”.[6] Arnold Kling has suggested the book is an example of “amateur sociology”.[7]

    Thomas Ferguson, author of Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition was asked in 2009 to respond to the following statement in Freakonomics:

    A winning candidate can cut his spending in half and lose only 1 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, a losing candidate who doubles his spending can expect to shift the vote in his favor by only that same 1 percent.

    His response was:
    Where on earth do such figures come from? You would need a fully specified regression equation to do this, that incorporated a lot of variables. Unless you hold constant everything else, including issues — not easy even to imagine — such claims are nonsense. Think of a couple of cases. Obviously, an incumbent Congressman or woman with a big margin could spend a bit less and probably do almost as well. By contrast, candidates in close elections surely cannot do this. The real issue is the dependence of money on taking conservative issue positions. Claims about existing candidates typically reflect censored data. That is, there’s no one able to run that can run very far to the left.”

    And then there is this:

    And this:

  9. This time of year flies seem to go really nuts. I had a crazed, manic, fly bugging me last night in bed. I hate that.

  10. Oh please.

    Who cares if the Kennedy’s were generous or cheap? Is that your view as an historian? Will you alter your ‘argument’ if I dig up 6 notoriously cheap conservative? What a waste of time.

    I believe you wanted to rely on a book that was written by a ‘liberal’, a liberal who heads the American Enterprise Institute. Try another gambit.

    Best regards.

  11. Those Limo Liberals in the northeast, who I grew up watching, like for the govt. to tax middle class people for the needy. I know many people in the Boston area, the Kennedy’s are HORRIBLE tightwads. They stiff waitresses, don’t pay bills, just horrible human beings. But, they are the liberal Royal family.

    Now, I’m not saying there aren’t tightwad horrible conservatives, there are indeed. But, I know it eviscerates the conventional wisdom that conservatives are much more generous than liberals. One of the reasons I loved Freakonomics was it killed some long believed conventional wisdom.

  12. ‘Generous’ states are all bible belt. Tithers to the church. THEIR church.

    Also, those states are all takers. Blue states send their tax dollars there to take care of the folks on Medicaid, food stamps, school lunches.

    How many of those ‘generous’ states pay state income tax?

  13. And Kristof is a great liberal (I guess you would preface that with bleeding heart) but he is no fact checker. He is a boots on the ground, comfort the little children, travel to and report on refugee camps, seeker of peace and protector of all mankind.

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