German Case Law: A Coherent Set of Principles for Challenging Anti-BDS Resolutions
In recent years, activists for Palestinian human rights in Germany have had to turn to the courts to defend their constitutional rights to freedom of expression and assembly against their cities, which seek to impose the anti-BDS resolutions adopted by local and regional parliaments, as well as the German Bundestag.
To date, at least seven German courts have consistently upheld the right of activists to use public facilities for BDS-related events. In eight decisions, the Munich Regional Court, the administrative courts of Lower Saxony, Cologne, Hesse, Bavaria and, most recently Leipzig, have convicted the cities of Oldenburg, Bonn, Frankfurt and Munich for violating the constitutional rights to equality, freedom of expression and assembly, and instructed the cities to provide the requested public facilities. In addition, the Constitutional Court of North-Rhine Westphalia has confirmed that the legality of the anti-BDS resolutions that underpin the unlawful denial of premises by German cities may be challenged in German constitutional courts.
This paper provides an overview of this growing body of jurisprudence.
We will demonstrate that German courts have confirmed that: I) anti-BDS resolutions are not legally binding for anyone; II) anti-BDS resolutions directly violate fundamental rights and can be legally challenged; III) the decisions of public bodies implementing anti-BDS resolutions violate fundamental rights; IV) BDS is a legitimate human rights movement.