Association Belgo-Palestinienne (ABP)
|In their own words||ABP is a non-governmental organization founded in 1975 in order to defend and promote the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to their land and their state, rights expressly recognized by the United Nations.|
- ABP’s stated mission includes:
- “Informing and mobilizing public opinion, civil society organizations, and media”
- “(Lobbying) elected representative in local, regional, national and European institutions”
- ABP rhetoric includes accusations of “apartheid,” “collective punishment,” and “crimes against humanity,” as well as supporting a Palestinian “right of return.”
- In January 2022, ABP published an article accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and calling on the Belgian government “to finally walk the talk on ethnic cleansing and the crime of apartheid, as required by international law. This implies putting in place sanctions against Israel and working for a joint international response including, in particular, the banning of settlement products, at European level or with a group of States likely to make progress on this dossier.”
- In January 2022, ABP published an article criticizing the European Union’s support of the IHRA definition of antisemitism, stating that “If the European Union wants to contribute to an effective fight against the racism of which the Jews are victims in Europe, it should renounce associating itself with Israel, guilty of state racism of the worst kind. And it should reject any confusion between anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians.”
- 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 November 2021, ABP held an event titled “Apartheid, repressions, colonization: where is Palestine going?” to discuss “the apartheid supremacist regime” and to “take stock of the different forms of oppression faced by the Palestinian people, the state of play of their resistance and their demands and the role and place of international solidarity.”
- In October 2021, ABP published a statement condemning the decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations. According to the statement, “By its unprecedented scale, this group fire against organizations whose quality of work is recognized and which play an essential social and societal role aims to intimidate and silence the entire Palestinian people in the face of the process of dispossession of which it is making the object.”
- In April 2021, ABP welcomed the decision of the ICC to launch a formal investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Israel in the “State of Palestine.” According to ABP, “This is a long-awaited and a critically important step towards ensuring the rule of law and ending impunity, while ensuring accountability for Israel’s crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.”
- In 2019, ABP launched a campaign titled “This is Apartheid,” stating that “apartheid fell in South Africa, Let’s do it for Palestine” as “policies implemented by the State of Israel constitute a crime against humanity.”
- In September 2019, ABP published a statement against Israeli textbooks as their role is to “legitimize the Zionist project and its colonial conquest for an ethnically pure nation.”
- In November 2018, ABP organized a “day of solidarity with the Palestinian people on the theme of apartheid.” The event featured Salah Hamouri, who in 2005 was arrested and convicted for “attempting to assassinate Ovadia Yosef…and for his involvement with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” The PFLP has referred to Hamouri as a “comrade.” Hamouri works as a field researcher and lawyer for the Palestinian NGO Addameer, an “affiliate” of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group.
- In 2015, ABP condemned Israeli actions taken in response to security threats, calling for the “liberation of all political prisoners” and the “dismantlement of all colonies and the separation wall,” omitting the context of violence or terrorism under which arrests are made and the security wall was built.
- ABP places sole blame on Israel for the continuation of the conflict, and considers “the political objective of the Zionist movement, from the outset and in practice, to be the bearer of injustice against the Palestinian people.”
- ABP is active in discriminatory BDS campaigns against Israel.
- ABP states that “in regards with the repeated diplomatic failures…the boycott of Israeli products, from the colonies or not, is the only alternative…to force Israel to respect the international law.”
- In August 2021, ABP signed a letter to the States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty calling to “put an end to Israel’s notorious use of arms and military equipment…by immediately imposing a comprehensive two-way arms embargo on Israel.” According to the letter, “This systematic brutality, perpetrated throughout the past seven decades of Israel’s colonialism, apartheid, pro-longed illegal belligerent occupation, persecution, and closure, is only possible because of the complicity of some governments and corporations around the world.”
- In March 2021, ABP was a signatory on a joint statement calling on the UN Human Rights Council to “further develop in a transparent manner the UN database on business enterprises involved in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.”
- The UN discriminatory blacklist of entities allegedly conducting activities in areas over the 1949 Armistice line is aimed at economically damaging companies that are owned by Jews or do business with Israel, and is ultimately meant to harm the Jewish state.
- In January 2020, following the announcement of President Trump’s “Peace Plan,” Pierre Galand, president of ABP, stated “Only vigorous external pressure can make Israel pay the true cost of its repeated disregard for international law, and force it to change its attitude.” Galand furthered that the BDS campaign “remains an essential instrument to contribute to the establishment of a just peace in the Middle East.”
- In November 2019, during the violence on the Gaza border, ABP participated in a “gathering of solidarity with Gaza” demanding that Belgium issue “a full weapons embargo of Israel.”
- In November 2019, ABP celebrated the boycott by Belgian official of a trade delegation to Israel. In response to the cancellation, Galand stated that “This cancellation is a defeat for those who try to normalize the repeated disregard for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people by Israel.”
- In September 2018, ABP launched a petition calling for Belgium to “not play for apartheid” and not participate in the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel. According to ABP, having Eurovision in Israel is the “consecration of the blank check given to Israel to continue its policy of domination of the Palestinians” (emphasis in original).
- In 2015, after SodaStream moved its factory from the West Bank to the Southern Israel Bedouin city of Rahat, ABP launched its “Stop Sodastream” campaign against “the invasion of the soda machine ‘Made in Israel,’.” The campaign utilizes Holocaust rhetoric, describing Rahat as a “ghetto.”
- ABP, together with FIDH and the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine among others, partnered in creating the “Made in Illegality” campaign in Belgium. The campaign calls upon the Belgian government to end its economic relations with Israeli settlements. The campaign’s demands include banning Belgian import of all “settlement products,” discouraging Belgian companies “from investing in settlements,” and preparing information for travelers “to ensure that they avoid supporting companies and tourist sites that are located in the settlements.”
- Called for the suspension of the European Union-Israel Association Agreement, together with 300 other civil society organizations.
- In 2012, ABP called for the boycott of the Israeli pharmaceutical company TEVA, stating that the Israeli government uses the company to “‘white’ its reputation, faded by its policy of occupation and of colonization.” ABP rationalizes its call to boycott the pharmaceutical company by claiming that the “occupation policy has consequences on the health of the Palestinians.”
Other Advocacy Activities
- ABPs “AquiLe Tour” campaign focuses on advocating for the release of individuals arrested under what it claims are “administrative detentions,” ignoring any context of violence and terrorism. ABP worked with the Belgian government body Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles on this campaign, and states that “this Israeli policy aims at breaking all resistance of the Palestinian people…and unravels the Palestinian familial and social structure.” ABP cites reports from international organizations (without naming the reports or organizations) claiming they confirm “that Israel uses the administrative detention as a mean of collective punition.”
- ABP publishes bulletins, composed of articles written by personalities such as Pierre Galand (ABP’s president), Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, and terrorist Marwan Barghouti.
- ABP asserts that the decisions of the Israeli High Court of Justice regarding the relocation of Umm Al-Hiran (Negev) and Susiya (Area C) aim to “clean ethnically the region and to judaize it.”
- Joelle Maison, Deputy of the Belgian Government body Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, has questioned the activities and government support of ABP. She has described ABP’s bulletins as including “choking expressions such as ‘pogrom’ and ‘ apartheid…’genocide’…not favoring intercultural dialogue and don’t contribute to pacify relations between Arab and Jewish people” and “Proselyte, Manichean, aiming at removing all legitimacy of the state of Israel.” She added that “its content seems… not compatible with imperatives of the living-together and the intercultural dialogue.”
- Pierre Galand has been president of ABP since 1986, and is also the President of ECCP (a Brussels-based association of NGOs cooperating with the UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People), the general coordinator of the Russel Tribunal, the former head of Oxfam-Belgium (one of the leaders in the demonization campaign against Israel), and is a former Belgian Senator.
- Galand is a prominent figure in BDS and lawfare campaigns against Israel.
- Galand has been involved in promoting BDS campaigns in Belgium since 2005 (see NGO Monitor’s report, “European Coordinating Committee of NGOs [ECCP] Meeting to Promote Boycotts and Divestment.”)
- In 2002, Galand was expelled from Israel, together with seven other Belgian activists, under suspicion that they would “likely  disturb the peace.”
- In a 2018 interview in the Belgian communist party journal, Galand declared that “making Gaza an Auschwitz without crematoriums but organizing the slow death of its citizens is not so far from what the colonizers of today have known in their very long journey enamelled with pogroms.” In addition, Galand affirmed that Zionism is a neo-colonialism stating: “I then understood for example that the famous Balfour declaration of 1922 by which Great Britain gave its agreement to the settlement of the Jewish populations in Palestine requested by the world Zionist organization led by the Rothschild family, was only the neocolonialist draft which we see today to which extremes it can lead.” (Emphasis added). Such declarations are a clear violation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism.
- In 2015, Galand accused the Israeli government of applying “to the West Bank the same deadly therapy already used in Gaza in 2009 and 2014.”
- In an April 2016 editorial on ABP’s website, “The dehumanization of the Palestinians,” Galand refers to Gaza as a “big concentration camp” and accuses the “Israeli occupation forces” of kidnapping “1000 children in the last two months of 2015,” without citing any sources for such a claim.
The organization is a member of ECCP and partners with Palestina Solidaritei, Centre national de coopération au développement (CNCD-11.11.11), and of Coordination nationale d’action pour la paix et la démocratie (CNAPD).