Ligue des droits de l'Hommes (LdH)
|In their own words
|Created in 1898 to defend an innocent, the captain Dreyfus, the league of human rights and of the citizen is part of all struggles for justice, liberty, civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, and against racism and antisemitism for more than 110 years.
- According to French law, it is illegal to support boycotts against Israel. In contrast, LDH supports BDS campaigns against Israel. LDH claims that “it supports the boycott of products from the occupied territories…it supports divestment and sanctions against Israel…it has campaigned against the economic agreement between the EU and Israel, [but it] does not support the boycott of the Israelis (university boycott, cultural, artistic, scientific) except if it is specifically argued (field of weapons for example).”
- LDH claims “that the call for a boycott, and more generally any measure of pressure on the State of Israel… cannot be considered as an offense as long as it is not accompanied by incitement to racism. In this regard, the LDH reaffirms the need to repeal the … ‘Alliot-Marie’ circular of February 2010, which encourages the prosecution of individuals calling for the boycott of Israeli products.”
- In May 2021, in the context of the 2021 Gaza conflict, LDH signed a statement calling for States to “declare an embargo on the direct and indirect supply, sale or transfer of all arms and munitions,” “take targeted sanctions against those responsible for human rights violations and serious breaches of international humanitarian law, encouraging the international community to take a firm stand in this regard,” as well as to “publicly and actively support accountability efforts, including the ongoing investigation by the ICC into international crimes committed in Palestine.”
- In November 2020, LDH signed a petition to boycott French insurance company AXA due to its supposed “investment in Israeli apartheid.”
- In August 2018, LDH was an organizer of “The solidary and rebellious summer university of citizens and social movements” that focused on “the creation of activists and new audiences” and the “convergence of organizations.” Participants took part in several anti-Israel workshops promoting BDS, including, “French companies complicit in Israeli colonization!,” “France / Israel, the security argument in question,” and “The game ‘Living Palestine’: an interactive educational tool to understand the daily lives of Palestinians.”
- In June 2018, LDH, alongside Al-Haq, International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), and the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine (PFP), published a report, “The Jerusalem light-rail and how French companies contribute to the settlement of Occupied Palestinian Territory,” despite French court rulings that building the Jerusalem Light Rail is not illegal. The report calls for French companies Systra, Egis, and Alstom to “terminate their contracts with the Israeli authorities” and urged the French State “to take all the measures needed to ensure that the three public operators, SNCF, RATP and CDC, terminate the contracts signed in the context of the implementation of the Jerusalem tramway, by the companies they control, SYSTRA and Egis; and to take all the measure needed to prevent any participation or investment by French companies that would contribute to Israeli settlement.”
- Following the report, LDH was signatory of a joint press release “salut[ing]” the announcement by the CEO of SNCF that “Systra is withdrawing from the red and purple line of the Jerusalem light-rail” and referring to it as “a first victory on a just path.”
- On May 16, 2019, LdH published a joint press release declaring that “At the end of an intense mobilization campaign, our organizations today welcome the withdrawal of ALSTOM from the tender for the extension of the tramway network in East Jerusalem.” The signatories further “ask[ed] the last French company historically involved in the project: the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations through its subsidiary EGIS, to withdraw from it in order not to be complicit in violations of international law.”
- In March 2017, LDH, along with International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS), CCFD- Terre Solidaire, and Al-Haq, published a document “The dangerous ties between French banks and insurances companies with the Israeli occupation,” which recommended that the French government pressure French financial institutions to “disengage without delay from any financial link with the Israeli banking system” and create “a legislative proposal prohibiting enterprises from all sectors to invest in the settlements.”
- In November 2016, LDH participated in the launch of a campaign at the French Parliament that called for the suspension of the European-Israeli association agreement.
- In 2015, LDH and politicized NGOs including Al-Haq, Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS), CCFD-Terre Solidaire, and International Federation of Human Right (FIDH) published “Orange’s Dangerous Liaisons in the Occupies Palestinian Territory,” calling for a boycott of the Israeli mobile phone network Partner Communications (which then operated under the Orange brand). The NGOs targeted the French corporation Orange Group and “the French State as Orange’s principal majority shareholder.”
- Efforts to pressure Orange included attending the Orange annual shareholders meeting and lobbying of the French government.
- LDH features a number of articles about boycotts of Israel published by the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine and Collectif National pour une Paix Juste et Durable entre Palestiniens et Israéliens (CNPJDPI) on its website.
Condemnations of Israel during the 2014 Gaza War
- During the 2014 Gaza war, as part of the and Collectif National pour une Paix Juste et Durable entre Palestiniens et Israéliens (CNPJDPI), LDH accused the Israeli government of “provoking a deluge of fire on Gaza, on the pretext of rockets launching.”
- In this context, referring to the Holocaust, LDH Vice-President Michel Tubiana stated that “for certain Europeans, in the name of a history in which they feel more or less guilty, the life of an Arab will never be as valuable as the life of a Jew.”
- During the war, LDH called for “Immediate sanctions against the state of Israel” and gave its “support to the resistance of the Palestinian people.”
- Following the war, LDH published an article titled “Enough is Enough! Pressure on Israel is Required,” that explains that the “inhabitants of Gaza are locked in a ghetto that is not better than occupation.”
- In June 2021, LDH signed a letter to the European Commission regarding the “political instrumentalization of the fight against antisemitism.” The letter called to “Acknowledge, reject and counter the political instrumentalization of the fight against antisemitism and of the IHRA definition in particular for the purpose of shielding the Israeli government from criticism. Instruct all involved EU officials to refrain from facilitating and legitimizing such instrumentalization.”
- The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, adopted by nearly 30 countries and counting, represents the international consensus definition of antisemitism, as well as how to distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israel and antisemitism. An example of the latter includes denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
- In December 2020, LDH, alongside a number of Israeli, Palestinian, and international organizations, issued a declaration headlined “Israel must provide necessary vaccines to Palestinian health care systems.” The NGOs falsely claim that Israel has “legal obligations” to “ensure that quality vaccines be provided to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and control,” while altogether ignoring that Palestinians residing in Jerusalem are part of the Israeli health care system; that under the Oslo Accords the PA is responsible for health care of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza; and that the PA has adopted its own vaccine policy for its population.
- In June 2019, LdH co-organized a symposium, “Israel: For the equality and democratic freedoms of all citizens,” discussing “the restriction of democratic freedoms, discriminatory laws, [and] the nation-state.” The event, at the invitation of the French Senator Esther Benbassa, featured leaders of Israeli politicized NGOs, including Hagai El-Ad (B’Tselem), Yehuda Shaul (Breaking the Silence), and Sawsan Zaher (Adalah).
- At the event, the senator declared that “in Israel, galloping nationalism is becoming a dominant trend. The country is culturally and politically withdrawing into itself. Who better than the Jews knows the excesses of this desire for purity?” Shaul also affirmed that “The Israeli army wants to be omnipresent in the occupied territories, to terrorize the Palestinians and break the will to revolt.”
- In May 2018, during the violence on the Gaza border, LDH published a press release alleging that the “Israeli civil authorities and Israeli army officials, who define the conditions of use of weapons, and soldiers who agree to execute orders given the entire responsibility” could be considered a “war crime. This surge of violence against unarmed protesters is only possible because of the impunity of their perpetrators, enshrined in Israeli legislation and supported by the unrestricted support of the United States, and by inaction. of the European Union.” LDH ignored the violent nature of the protests, which included Molotov cocktails, arson, and attempts to breach the border fence with Israel.
- LDH has called for the release of Salah Hamouri and claims that “for no reason other than its discretionary authority, the Israeli government is pursuing the path of the most absolute injustice, ignoring even the demands made by the French government.”
- In June 2017, LDH was a signatory on a statement published by International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) that supported a Palestinian “right of return,” which, if implemented, would effectually mean the elimination of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. The statement accused Israel of “war crimes and crimes against humanity” and argued that “settlement and its associated regime” are “features of colonization and apartheid in violation of the principles of international law.”
- In May 2017, to mark the “50th Anniversary of Israel’s Military Occupation of the West Bank,” LDH was a signatory on a call that accused Israel of “colonization and apartheid” and “systematic violations of human rights, many of which amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
- Supported the campaign to free the Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouthi “and all Palestinian prisoners,” omitting the violence that leads to the arrests and convictions. Barghouti has been referred to as the “chief of staff of the Intifada” for his role in attacks during the violence in the early 2000s. The petition claims that “the detention of prisoners aims to destroy the social and national structure of the Palestinian people.”
- Endorses the accusations of the group “LGBT for Palestine” that Israel is “instrumenting their difficulties [LGBT community] in the Arab-Islamic world” and practicing “pinkwashing.” LDH further accuses Israel of “cultural and touristic diplomacy, its military communication presents it [Israel] as an ‘LGTB-friendly oasis among LGTB-phobia desert’.”
- In an online publication titled “Jerusalem: Breeding-ground of violence” (2014), LDH includes “the denial of life experienced by the Palestinian people for decades” in a list of the roots of despair and hatred.
- In a statement titled “East Jerusalem is in danger,” former President of LDH Pierre Tartakowskyis, together with the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine and French Senators, former ambassadors, professors, and others, described Israeli policy as a “policy of colonization, dispossessions, demolitions and expulsions” and accused Israel of “eviction attempts through impoverishment, discrimination and obstacles” and of “Judaizing” Jerusalem.
- In 2006, two former members of the LDH executive committee (Antoine Spire and Cedric Porin) explained that they resigned from the organization after “it gave away its heritage [the Dreyfus Affair].” Spire and Porin note that LDH “censored Israeli filmmakers…on the ground of their nationality…this is called racism.” Additional accusations included an adoption of “a non-critical commitment alongside the Palestinian people” and issuance of one-sided condemnations of Israel during the Second Lebanon war, requesting sanctions for “…war crimes against Lebanese civilian populations, but forgot Israeli civil populations that are victims of bombing.” Spire and Porin also criticized LDH for “saying almost nothing concerning Darfur or Chechnya, and keeps silent in face of the antisemitic speeches and Holocaust denial of the Iranian president!”
- LDH is a member of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH). The FIDH, which is funded by multiple European governments, is a major leader of BDS campaigns worldwide. The group, composed of 178 member organizations, supported campaigns including the BDS campaign against Orange (2015), promoted the EU product labeling guidelines, and participated in the NGO campaign at the UN Human Rights Council to establish a Commission of Inquiry targeting Israel following the 2014 Gaza War.
- LDH is a member of the France National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (NHRI), a “State structure [that] has the role of providing the government and Parliament with independent advice and proposals concerning human rights, humanitarian law and activities, and respect for the fundamental guarantees accorded to citizens for the exercise of civil liberties.”
- LdH is a member of the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine and Collectif National pour une Paix Juste et Durable entre Palestiniens et Israéliens (CNPJDPI), both of which support BDS campaigns against Israel.
- LDH is also a member of EuroMed Rights.
- Regularly lobbies the EU and UN, “as well as in other fora and urges the international community to adhere to its own obligations and commitments under international law.”
- Maintains four “Working Groups,” one of which is titled “Palestine, Israel and the Palestinian Working Group.” The Working Group focuses on “Accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity” and “The separation and fragmentation of the Occupied Palestinian territory, including through Israel’s settlement policy and the Gaza closure.”
- In June 2017, EuroMed Rights, to mark “50 years of occupation, 50 years of impunity,” called on the EU and its Member States to “clearly call for the full dismantling of all settlements and outposts in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and reject any efforts to recognise these areas as legal” as well as “preventing the entry of illegal settlement goods into the EU market” (emphasis added).
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