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French-Palestinian activist to stand trial over Israeli boycott call

FRENCH-Palestinian solidarity activist Olivia Zemor goes on trial on Tuesday in Lyon, where she is being sued by Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva after making an online appeal for a boycott of the company.

She will appear in court after publishing a call by Collectif Palestine 69 to boycott Teva, the largest Israeli corporation by market value, on the EuroPalestine website in 2016.

It accused the company of complicity in Israeli apartheid, colonisation and occupation.

Protesters are set to gather outside the court and condemn the French government for conspiring to silence those speaking out against the oppression of the Palestinians.

They argue that the right to boycott Israel was affirmed by the European Court of Human Rights last year and that this ruling invalidates the French prosecution of Ms Zemor, who is the president of the EuroPalestine solidarity group.

French Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti is accused of “a blatant violation of the decision” by distributing a circular to prosecutors urging them to take action against activists supporting the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

The Samidoun Prisoner Solidarity Network said that France had allied itself with Israeli capitalism to suppress and silence support for Palestinian rights and liberation.

“This, of course, comes hand in hand with the extensive legacy of French colonialism and ongoing French imperialism throughout the Arab region and Africa, the French state’s suppression of broad popular movements fighting racism, colonialism and exploitation and France’s imprisonment of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, Lebanese Arab communist struggler for Palestine jailed in France for over 36 years,” the network said in a statement.

Teva, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of generic drugs, provides millions of pounds in tax revenue to the Israeli regime and its military.

The company is accused of “joining hands with the French state to aggressively seek to shut down and silence international voices of conscience for exposing corporate complicity and profiteering from the Israeli occupation regime.”

People have been asked to show solidarity with Ms Zemor by writing to French embassies and consulates and holding protests outside them.

Samidoun, which has been branded a terrorist organisation by Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz, has vowed to “do all we can to intensify the movement to boycott Israel and for victory and liberation in Palestine, from the river to the sea.”

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