Our Victories in The Netherlands

Dutch Human Rights Board rules that firing of IT specialist from Gaza who condemned Israel’s crimes was discrimination. Click to read more

N. A., an IT specialist from Gaza, got hired by Dutch software company Speakap and applied for asylum in the Netherlands. After N. A. published a post on LinkedIn condemning Israel’s crimes, Speakap fired him, without even engaging in conversations about the posts with N. A. This has severely impacted his ability to obtain a residence permit in the Netherlands and find a new job. But N. A. took action and reached out to the ELSC. After we connected him with lawyer Şeyma Arikan, they filed a submission to the Human Rights Board, a state-sanctioned institution in the Netherlands that rules on discrimination cases. The latter found that Speakap directly discriminated against N. A., based on political affiliation. Read more 

Dutch Universities Obliged to Disclose Information About Human Rights Policies Regarding Palestine. Click to read more

Nine universities were ordered by a court to disclose information about their partnerships with Israeli institutions. This ruling came after students, staff, and The Rights Forum filed Freedom of Information Act requests seeking transparency regarding the universities’ relationships with entities involved in violations of Palestinian rights. While some documents were provided, the universities refused to disclose information about partnership policies and ties to pro-Israel organisations. Represented by legal experts, The Rights Forum appealed the refusals, leading to a court ruling in December 2023 that deemed the universities’ decisions unlawful. the universities have disclosed documents that are currently being researched by activists. Read more

Activist saying ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ won in court after facing unfounded complaint for incitement . Click to read more

After he gave a speech at a Palestine solidarity rally in May 2021 in Amsterdam, Thomas, an activist for Palestinian rights, faced unfounded allegations of antisemitism by a Zionist activist who complained to the police. He claimed that the statement — ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!’ said by Thomas was an “inciting hatred and violence against Jews”. The Dutch public prosecutor refused to prosecute saying that the pro-Palestinian slogans the used are not calls for illegal conduct, and that the expressions ‘relate to the state of Israel […] but do not relate to Jews because of their race or religion’. Following that, the pro-Israel activist appealed to the Court of Amsterdam. We helped Thomas find a lawyer from our network and helped provide an academic expert to assist the lawyer in writing a defense statement. On 15 August 2023, the court confirmed in a final decision that Thomas had not committed a criminal offence when chanting the slogan ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’. Read more

Civil society organisations prevent the cancellation of an event on the ICC investigation in the situation of Palestine. Click to read more

In May 2022, Dutch lobby organisation CIDI and pro-Israel publication NIW smeared a Palestinian-led public panel about the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into the situation in Palestine and attempted to cancel the event. The panel included renowned human rights organisation Al-Haq, which is one of the six organisations unlawfully criminalised by Israel in 2021, alongside other organizations. Al-Haq, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and other civil society organisations stepped in to prevent the cancellation of the event. 

CIDI and NIW used the baseless allegation against Al-Haq to pressure the venue into withdrawing access to its space. Acting quickly and decisively, the organisers and the ELSC rebutted the allegations in a letter sent to the venue. Now properly informed, the venue stood by the organisers and hosted the event as planned.

Students for Palestine regained access to Leiden University following incident of anti-Palestinian racism. Click to read more

In March 2022, Students for Palestine (the Leiden University student group) and scholars at Leiden University organised a panel on Israeli apartheid chaired by Palestinian-Dutch scholar Dr Dina Zbeidy. The panel was cancelled at the last minute, twice. The Rector of the university claimed that Dr Zbeidy was not neutral enough to ensure the smooth-running of the event, without the ability to provide any reasoning or evidence for this claim. A petition and public campaign supported by the ELSC pushed the university to concede to the students’ demands to have access to the premises without political interference. On top of that, oversight on matters of academic freedom was put in place to prevent unilateral decisions by the security office. Two months later, Students for Palestine were able to organise an event on “Silencing Palestine” in Leiden University’s campus.

After one year and a half of administrative obstruction, Students for Justice in Palestine obtained permission to organise a hummus workshop on campus. Click to read more

The proposal for a traditional Palestinian hummus workshop organised by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) in December 2021 was found to be “too political” to be hosted a space managed by the university’s diversity office. Students were unable to access university spaces without help from professors. The ELSC advised the students on their rights and helped them to obtain a lawyer from PILP (Public Interest Litigation Project). After one meeting between SJP, their lawyer and the university administration, students were allowed to organise the workshop and given access to a room-booking system that was formerly unavailable to them.

BDS group pushed back against threats of legal action from Israel Products Centre and succeeded in getting it fined for violating EU rules on labelling products from illegal settlements. Click to read more

In February 2020, docP, a Dutch organisation part of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement campaigned to get the Israel Products Centre (IPC), a retailer affiliated with pro-Israel advocacy group Christians for Israel, to correctly label products that were made in illegal Israeli settlements. In response to the campaign, the IPC threatened docP with a defamation lawsuit in order to silence them. With the help of the ELSC and a lawyer, docP sent letters to the Dutch Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service (FIOD) and the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) to explain the IPC’s breach of European guidelines on the labelling of products from the Israeli illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Not only did the IPC never take any legal action against docP, but, in April 2021, the NVWA fined the IPC for the intentional mislabelling of settlement products. Read more.

Thanks to the ELSC, not only we could defend ourselves against a threat of lawsuit , but our activities were even more empowered. With the support of the ELSC and a lawyer, we challenged the Israel Products Centre that was violating EU law in mislabelling products from illegal Israeli settlements and the resulting sanction set a clear precedent.

Nicole Hollenberg, Chair of docP


For confidentiality reasons, some names of the individuals and entities involved in the above cases are not disclosed.

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