Monday, 23 September 2013

Israeli colonel sues UK National Health Service and union for “indirect discrimination”


It’s the latest high profile “lawfare” attack against the boycott of Israel to be fought in British courts.

An Israeli army negotiator last week went to Central London County Court seeking tens of thousands of pounds in damages from the National Health Service and from Unison, the public sector union.

Lawyers acting for Lt. Colonel (res.) Moty Cristal sought at the pre-trial hearing to persuade the judge that he was the victim of “indirect discrimination.” Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust had canceled a workshop he had been due to speak at in April last year.

Unison and the trust say the event was really cancelled because Cristal was once an official for the Israeli government. Unison has fairly strong policies in favour of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, and union members had threatened to boycott the session.

A Jewish News report quoted Unison’s lawyer saying that if Cristal was allowed to sue on this basis, the case would become “completely different and much wider.”

“No one thinks it will be an edifying experience to argue about Palestine, boycotting policies and the like. We say this a huge issue which is unsuitable to be debated in the courts … the court should be wary of releasing this tiger as an afterthought,” said Christopher Jeans QC.

Cristal is seeking damages totalling £26,500 and an apology. more

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