SUMMARY: The European Coordinating Committee of NGOs on the Question of Palestine (ECCP), headed by Belgian Senator Pierre Galand, is holding a meeting on October 8 to promote their radical anti-Israel agenda. The stated objective is to coordinate between NGOs, trade unions, academics, and churches in promoting sanctions and isolation of Israel. The participants include other politicized NGOs, including PNGO and PCHR.

The European Coordinating Committee of NGOs on the Question of Palestine (ECCP), which claims over 300 member NGOs throughout Europe, is holding a meeting "on solidarity with Palestine in Brussels on the 8th of October, three months after the launching of the 'European campaign for sanctions against the Israeli occupation'." According to ECCP, "The objective of the meeting is to enlarge the European solidarity movement with the Palestinian people and to create the largest possible support to the campaign, by coordinating the efforts between trade unions, academics, churches and any NGO concerned by the respect of international law and human rights, and the situation in Palestine.” (As ECCP fails to practice transparency, information on funding for its activities is not available.)

The agenda includes sessions entitled “The situation in Palestine and the call for sanctions” and “Campaign for Sanctions against the Israeli occupation”. The speakers are drawn from other radical anti-Israel NGOs such as the EU-funded Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), which was among the major supporters of the recent effort in the UK to arrest Israeli officials for alleged "war crimes", and the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO). PNGO is an umbrella body of highly politicized Palestinian NGOs that was instrumental in producing many of the preparatory documents for the 2001 Durban conference and the 2005 AUT academic boycott.

The impact of ECCP is amplified through its chairman, Pierre Galand, a Belgian Senator (by appointment) and serves as vice-chairman of the body's foreign affairs committee. Galand served for many years as head of Oxfam Belgium, which was a major source of anti-Israel incitement. Through ECCP, Galand continues to participate in conferences promoting Palestinian goals, such as the imposition of EU and UN sanctions on Israel. As NGO Monitor analyses have demonstrated, these activities consistently erase the context of Palestinian terrorism.

In the material distributed to participants in the October 8 meeting, the ECCP includes a packet of Annexes, including its own “European campaign for sanctions against the Israeli occupation”. This document again removes Palestinian terror from the background, as well as Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, and restates ECCP's objective of imposing EU sanctions designed "to stop the wall, end occupation, and to return to political negotiations.” The ECCP also calls for “a total cessation of military agreements and exchanges between Israel and any government in the world” and “total disinvestment of all European and international firms working in Israel.”

The second annex, “Calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel”, is based on the Durban model of demonizing Israel. This document is endorsed by many of the Palestinian NGOs involved in Durban, including Ittijah, the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees, ADRID, BADIL, Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Defense for Children International – Palestine Section, and MIFTAH. Claiming to represent "Palestinian civil society", they repeat their demand that "international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel.”

Other annexes include similar statements from radical NGOs. For example, PNGO condemns the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, and calls for “local and international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaigns”. The radical Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), led by Jeff Halper, and also funded by the EU, endorses the call for sanctions, divestment, boycotts, and "trial before international courts and bans on travel to other countries.” Annex 7 highlights the contribution of anti-Israel church groups in promoting divestment. The statement also supports “initiatives like the WCC-led Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI)”, which, while claiming to act in the name of peace, carries out policies reflecting a radical pro-Palestinian agenda.

In summary, the agenda for this meeting demonstrates that Galand and the ECCP are continuing efforts to demonize Israel via boycotts and divestment campaigns, while providing a platform to other extremist NGOs.

Simon Plosker

 

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