Germany - Case Update

German Court dismisses the complaint against the Bundestag’s anti-BDS resolution. The plaintiffs announce: “We will appeal!”

Published on Thu Oct 14 2021 - modified on Mon Oct 18 2021

On October 7, 2021, the Administrative Court of Berlin held the first hearing on the complaint filed in 2020 by the Palestinian-Jewish-German initiative Bundestag 3 for Palestine (BT3P) that aimed at challenging the anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions resolution adopted by the Bundestag in 2019.

Since 2020, the ELSC has been supporting the BT3P team and lawyer Ahmed Abed to challenge the resolution that falsely condemns the movement as antisemitic and severely impacted Palestinian rights advocacy resulting in smears and denial of public space whilst infringing on the fundamental right to freedom of expression. Read more in our case summary here.

Also see the summary of the statement of claim in the proceedings before the Administrative Court of Berlin.

During the hearing, BT3P clarified that their efforts to guarantee equal rights for all people in Palestine and Israel cannot be regarded as antisemitic. Conversely, the Bundestag’s legal representatives questioned the BT3P’s legal standing to challenge the resolution, as the latter does not directly mention the plaintiffs. Moreover, the Bundestag’s legal team challenged the jurisdiction of the Court on the complaint and pointed out that the legal issues at stake should be addressed to the Federal Constitutional Court.

The Court did not agree with these preliminary remarks made by the Bundestag and recognised both its jurisdiction on the case and BT3P’s legal standing to challenge the resolution. On the merits, the three judges ruled that the fundamental rights of the complainants have not been violated and the Bundestag is allowed to use the controversial IHRA-WDA as a parameter to assess antisemitism.

The hearing was followed by a press conference in which Associate Professor of International Law John Reynolds, who was instructed by the ELSC to write a legal opinion on the motion along with three other renowned scholars of international law[1], underlined that the Bundestag anti-BDS resolution is incompatible with international and European human rights standards, including the right to freedom of expression. Palestine Solidarity Campaign UK’s director Ben Jamal, and Bertrand Heilbronn, president of the AFPS (Association France Palestine Solidarité) also contributed, expressing solidarity and sharing their experience of anti-BDS policies and legislation in France and the UK.

Amir Ali, one of the plaintiffs, stated the following: “We will appeal. With this complaint we are opposing the systematic suppression of human rights work for Palestinians in Germany ”. The legal representative of the BT3P initiative, lawyer Ahmed Abed, pointed out that it is already a success that the Court has rejected the Bundestag’s attempt to exclude the plaintiffs’ right to challenge the Bundestag’s resolution and added: “We see good chances for the next instance”.

See the BT3P website and support them here.

Watch the press conference (in German) – See in English John Reynolds’ and Ben Jamal’s interventions from min 14:40 to 22:30 and Bertrand Heilbronn’s intervention from 48:00 to 52:00.

© picture: Mathilde Babo


1 Eric David, Emeritus Professor of International Law at Université Libre de Bruxelles, Xavier Dupre De Boulois, Professor of Law of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and Richard Falk, Emeritus Professor of International Law, Princeton University and Chair of Global Law, Faculty of Law, Queen Mary University London
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