WA court dismisses seven-year lawsuit over boycott of Israeli goods
On Friday, a Washington State court ended a seven-year litigation battle against former volunteer board members of the Olympia Food Co-op over their decision to boycott Israeli goods. The lawsuit was first filed in 2011 by five co-op members seeking to block the co-op's boycott and to collect monetary damages against the board members. Two of the five members pulled out of the case, and none of the defendants originally named in the case remains a board member of the co-op. The court granted the motion for summary judgment from the former board members, finding the plaintiffs had no standing to bring a case because they failed to show the co-op was injured. Earlier last week, CCR filed with the court a recently produced document (Exhibit B) in which plaintiffs celebrated the lawsuit's success in discouraging other co-ops from boycotting Israeli goods. In 2017, the co-op board of directors passed a resolution affirming that the litigation—which was purportedly brought on behalf of the co-op—was not approved by the co-op, is not in the co-op's interest, and should be dismissed. The lawsuit was part of a broad and growing pattern of suppressing activism in support of Palestinian rights, a phenomenon that CCR and Palestine Legal have documented and called the “Palestine Exception” to free speech. CCR and Palestine Legal have reported the widespread use of administrative disciplinary actions, harassment, firings, legislative attacks, false accusations of terrorism and antisemitism, and baseless legal complaints. Between 2014 and 2016, Palestine Legal responded to 650 such incidents of suppression targeting speech supportive of Palestinian rights. As defendant Grace Cox said, "We are proud of our attorney team, and proud of our community for supporting us, and we are grateful for the outpouring of solidarity we've received from around the world. Taking a stand for economic and social justice is at the heart of the co-op's mission. Given Israel's ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights, we would have failed in this mission had we not approved a boycott."
Historic trial over Bolivian killings
CCR is in court for a historic trial this week, in our case Mamami, et al. v.Lozada & Berlin, brought against the former president of Bolivia, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, and the former Minister of Defense, Carlos Sánchez Berzaín, for their responsibility in the use of deadly force by security forces in Bolivia against unarmed civilians to suppress popular protests against government policies 15 years ago. Fifty-eight citizens were killed, more than 400 were injured. Each of the nine plaintiffs is the survivor of one of the individuals killed, including the parents of an eight-year-old girl. It is extremely rare for a foreign former head of state to actually be brought to trial in the U.S. Unfortunately, we are unable to share much more about the trial, as the judge, overly concerned about the political nature of the case, has imposed strict restrictions on attorney commentary. But press is covering the trial. Check out this article in the Miami News Times.