Click to read this report in French, La France finance des ONG actives dans des campagnes de boycott et ayant des liens présumés avec des groupes terroristes

An international peace summit, spearheaded by the French government, will be held on January 15, 2017, in Paris. In this report, NGO Monitor documents French government support of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that support discriminatory BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel and with alleged ties to terror groups. This type of financial support casts doubts on the ability of France to serve as an impartial host of a summit dedicated to peace.

Executive Summary

  • The French government funds numerous French, Israeli, and Palestinian organizations that support and promote BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel, despite the fact that such boycotts are illegal under French law.
  • The Platform of French NGOs for Palestine (The Platform) is one such grantee. One of the Platform’s government-funded projects is explicitly geared towards influencing elected officials, media, and public opinion regarding the conflict – an obvious abuse of taxpayer money. The Platform supports boycott campaigns targeting Israel and partners with organizations instrumental in BDS efforts.
  • France directly and indirectly funds several other NGOs with alleged ties to the PFLP terror group.

Detailed Analysis:

  • French funding to organizations that support boycotts against Israel is in direct violation of French law:
  • The French Government funds a project with The Platform that aims to provide elected officials, the media, and the public with “adapted information” on the conflict: 
    • 40% (€225,000) of The Platform’s 2014 project “Mieux agir pour le respect du droit en Palestine” (Improved Action for the Respect of Rights in Palestine) was funded by the French government (AFD). The project describes its “target groups” as elected officials, the media, and the “French general public,” emphasizing youth as being particularly important targets. The project provides these targeted and impressionable individuals with “adapted information for their needs.”
    • Partner NGOs for the project included:
    • The Platform additionally publishes “information files” on its website based on information provided by other politicized Israeli and Palestinian NGOs. These NGOs include: B’Tselem, EWASH, Addameer, Defense for the Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), FIDH, BADIL, Who Profits, Al-Haq, and Yesh Din. Of these, NGO Monitor research shows that Addameer, Al-Haq, and DCI-P have alleged ties to the PFLP terrorist group (see below).
    • Claude Léostic, President of the The Platform, was denied entry to Israel, has been involved with radical campaigns, and has made inflammatory statements – including the following mentioned in a 2009 letter:
      • “I came to Palestine [in 2002] after one year of your Intifada to show direct support and solidarity to you all in your fight for your legitimate rights and your freedom.”
      • Compared Israel to Nazi Germany: “…The people of France resisted against the Nazi barbarians…But you have been suffering for more than 40 years, as incredible as it seems in this modern world, and that came after the Nakba…”
      • Barricaded herself with Yasser Arafat in Ramallah in 2002: “It didn’t seem acceptable to let the Israeli government go on with their crimes and their plan to eliminate the Palestinian leadership.”
      • Participated in 2011 French Flotilla to Gaza and was arrested.
  • France funds NGOs with alleged ties to the PFLP terror organization: 
    • France has provided both direct government support (through AFD and the French Consulate in Jerusalem) and indirect support via third party NGOs to organizations with alleged ties to the PFLP terror organization. The PFLP is a terrorist organization designated as such by the U.S., EU, Canada, and Israel. The PFLP is involved in suicide bombings, hijackings, and assassinations, among other terrorist activities targeting civilians.
    • Organizations receiving French funding with alleged PFLP ties include:
      • Alternative Information Center (AIC): AIC is an Israeli NGO that supports BDS campaigns against Israel and accuses the State of “ethnic cleansing” and “apartheid-like discrimination.” AIC has received €39,481 in direct and indirect French governmental support since 2013. Despite its anti-peace advocacy and ties to the PFLP terror group (outlined below), in 2012, the NGO received the human rights award (Prix des Droits de l’Homme de la République française – Liberté – Egalité – Fraternité) from the French government for its “contribution to the defense of human rights.”
        • AIC’s co-director Michel Warchawski, who was a leader of the anti-Zionist Trotskyite organization “Matzpen,” was jailed in the 1990s for publishing an informational pamphlet for the PFLP terror group.
        • AIC’s other co-director, Nassar Ibrahim, is also the former editor of El Hadaf – the PFLP’s weekly publication.
        • AIC Board of Directors member (2008) Rifat Odeh Kassis has links to multiple NGOs with PFLP ties and was arrested and imprisoned several times by Israel.
      • Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC): The NGO utilizes highly biased and demonizing rhetoric, accusing the “Israel occupation forces” of “continuing its brutal and immoral offensive [2014] war on Gaza” and of an ongoing “policy of collective punishment in disregard for the international law and humanitarian law.” From 2012-2014, UAWC conducted a €354,489 project in the “Hebron governorate.” The main funders of the project were: €177,000 from the French Ministry of Environment, Energy, and Sea via the Water Agency Rhône Mediterranean Corsica; €31,000 from the Consulate General of France in Jerusalem; and €93,176 from the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes- Côte d’Azur.
      • Al-Haq: Al-Haq is a leader in anti-Israel “lawfare” and BDS campaigns. In 2015, The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development provided Al-Haq with €27,842 (line 1199) to support its activities in the “private sector and human rights.”
        • Al-Haq’s General Director, Shawan Jabarin, has alleged ties to the PFLP terrorist organization and as such has been denied exit visas by Israel and Jordan.
        • In 2007, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected Jabarin’s appeal to go abroad stating that “The objections by security forces are all rooted in security concerns based on classified information, showing that the petitioner is a senior activist in the PFLP terror group….the current petitioner is apparently acting as a manner of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde, acting some of the time as the CEO of a human rights organization, and at other times as an activist in a terror organization which has not shied away from murder and attempted murder, which have nothing to do with rights…”