French Government Support for BDS Summer Workshops
On August 22-26, 2018, “The solidary and rebellious summer university of citizens and social movements” will take place in Grenoble, France. The summer institute is organized by 70 organizations, including many that support politicized anti-Israeli campaigns against Israel such as BDS France, Platform of French NGOs for Palestine (PFP), Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS), CCFD-Terre Solidaire, la Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH), and Oxfam France.
This event, which is funded by France’s Agency for Development (AFD) and the Grenoble municipality, will focus on “the creation of activists and new audiences” and the “convergence of organizations.”
Participants will take part in dozens of workshops such as “Done with the European Union! But how and what else?,” “How to investigate multinationals?,” “What are the responses of social movements to the authoritarian and neoliberal powers in place?,” “Free trade in Africa, an economic neo-colonialist construct,” “How to resist creatively? Action and civil disobedience training,” and “Rethinking governmental assistance to development – In order to achieve the decolonization of North-South solidarity, rethink development aid by focusing on the achievements / successes of South-South cooperation.”
In addition, during the five-day institute, the program will feature several anti-Israel workshops promoting BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel, despite the fact boycotts are illegal in France. BDS workshops include:
- “France / Israel, the security argument in question”: Hosted by three radical organizations – Campaign BDS France, AFPS, and Association of Academics for the Respect of International Law in Palestine (AURDIP)1 – “the workshop will deal with the repressive and illiberal policies in France and Israel.” According to the event organizers, “Israel claims that there are threats to its security in order to justify its policy of apartheid, from the colonization of Palestine to the absolute refusal of the return of refugees. In France, it is the terrorist threat that serves to justify the restriction of public freedoms and leads to the Israelization of society. Exploiting the ‘experimental fields’ that represent Gaza and the West Bank, Israel develops a military and security industry, and sells the world its model of state security… We will seek to amplify the military embargo against Israel campaign led by the BDS movement.”
- “French companies complicit in Israeli colonization!”: Hosted by AFPS and BDS France, this workshop will present the ongoing campaigns against “French banks with links to Israeli banks and companies involved in colonization, public transport companies engaged in projects strengthening settlements in East-Jerusalem, distributors of settlement products.” In addition, “an activity in the city of Grenoble will be proposed to illustrate this workshop: An Active Walk Organized by the Grenoble Coordination of the BDS Campaign. A Walk in the city center of Grenoble to discover the emblematic places of collaboration of French companies with the Israeli apartheid regime. Speaking, meetings with leaders of institutions visited, distribution of leaflets… ”
- “The game ‘Living Palestine’: an interactive educational tool to understand the daily lives of Palestinians”: Organized by AFPS and PFP, this workshop is regularly organized by PFP. The one-sided “interactive teaching tool” “gives the opportunity to the participants [of this game] … to be confronted with the situations of waiting, the administrative dependency and the arbitrary, which ‘punctuate’ the lives of the Palestinians.” For more information, see “A pro-Palestinian association organizes a partial role play at the expense of the taxpayer” (French).
- AUDRIP supports a cultural and academic boycott of Israel.