Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS)
|In their own words||“The members of France - Palestine Solidarity Association are attached to the right of peoples to self-determination and to the defense of the individual. Their purpose is to develop solidarity with the Palestinian people and to support them particularly in their fight for the fulfilment of their national rights.”|
- Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) does not publish financial information, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.
- AFPS receives government funding from the French government through different governmental bodies.
|L'Agence francaise pour le développement (French Development Agency –AFD)||€320,000||2017-2019
|France (Financial effort of the state in favor of the associations)||€34,000||2016
|Regional Councils (Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes)||€34,500||2016
|The Council of Île de France Region||€1,500||2016
- The AFPS states that its objective is to change French policy so that France will apply pressure and sanctions against the Israel.
- Uses Holocaust rhetoric, referring to the Gaza Strip as an “Extermination Camp” due to the “criminal Israeli government – and all those who support it…the small ‘angels of death’ who are sheltered there to continue their experiments and envision the ‘final solution.’”
- Accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing and apartheid. In a leaflet addressed to the former French Minister of Foreign Affairs “Stop hunting Palestinian children!,” AFPS accuses the Israeli army of “kidnapping” Palestinian children in order to use them “as human shield.”
- AFPS refers to the security barrier as the “apartheid” wall.
- According to AFPS, Israeli policies “institutionalize a military and colonial domination over the Palestinian people in order to exploit them and make them disappear as a people, by decomposing it, transferring its population and/or forcing it to exile. This matches the notion of ‘sociocide.’”
- AFPS legitimizes the use of armed struggle as a means for Palestinian liberation and states that Israel “deploys a state terrorism in the name of preventive war.” In 2017, AFPS further clarified that “support of popular resistance includes attacks against soldiers of the occupation…”
- AFPS also advocates for the removal of the terror groups Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) from the European list of terrorist organizations.
- On June 11, 2018, Taoufiq Tahani, president of AFPS, participated in the inauguration of “Nakba Alley,” a street in Bezons, France named “In memory of the expulsion of 800,000 Palestinians and the destruction of 532 villages in 1948 by the war criminal David Ben Gurion for the creation of the State of Israel.” Following criticism from Jewish groups in France, the State Representative of Val-d’Oise asked for “the immediate removal of the plaque” explaining that it “provokes controversies in local discourse that could evolve rapidly towards serious public disorder.”
- In 2016, Taoufiq Tahani participated in the 7th Fatah Congress aimed at “develop[ing] a political agenda and a ‘work plan for the resistance to the Israeli occupation’.”
- Active in BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel, despite the fact that anti-Israel boycotts are prohibited in France. AFPS’ organizational report calls for the boycott of all Israeli products and institutions (sports, academic, and cultural).
- AFPS further calls for the end of financial ties between French banks and insurance companies with Israeli banks and enterprises, accusing them of being “actors of colonization.”
- Advocates for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement.
- Promotes the academic boycott against Israel.
- On June 13, 2018, along with the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine (PFP), International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), Al-Haq, and Ligue des droits de l’Hommes (LdH), AFPS published a report, “The Jerusalem light-rail and how French companies contribute to the settlement of Occupied Palestinian Territory,” which targeted the French companies Systra, Egis, and Alstom that are involved in construction of the Jerusalem light-rail. The report calls for the companies 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.”
- In March 2017, along with groups including International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), Al-Haq, CCFD- Terre Solidaire, and the French League of Human Rights (LDH) published a document ‘The dangerous ties between French banks and insurances companies with the Israeli occupation‘, which recommends 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.” The report only points to very minor and indirect connections, if at all, to settlements, and French courts have repeatedly found that such business activity is not illegal.The report was funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
- In February 2017, along with members of the European Parliament (EP), lobbied the EP President to cancel a session of Delegation for Relations with Israel where Sydney Knafou, CEO of Casimex, was scheduled to testify on European labeling guidelines. AFPS accused the company of violating French and European law. Despite AFPS’ lobbying efforts, the event went as scheduled and Knafou testified (02:35) that as a result of BDS efforts at the EU, “For several years now, but, crucially, in the last few months, my business has been disrupted by unhelpful statements made at the EU level which are politically motivated and unrelated to any legitimate European business concern,” He further noted, “There is no justification for penalizing EU businesses on the basis of foreign policy objectives. None…this disrupts trade in a manner that is incompatible with international trade law, without a proper legal basis under EU law, and in a manner that is completely disproportionate in light of the objectives of the European Union.”
- In 2007, AFPS and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) filed a petition with the Tribunal of Nanterre against Veolia and Alstom for alleged violation of “public order.” In the petition, the two French companies were accused of violating international law for their involvement in the construction of the Light Rail train. The Tribunal of Nanterre dismissed the case in 2011, and the Versailles Court of Appeals upheld the decision in 2013.
- The court ruled that the AFPS did not have standing to bring suit because it was not “defending a collective interest specific to its membership as distinct from the public interest of Palestinians in general.”
- The court also noted that building the Jerusalem Light Rail was not illegal because occupation law allows for the governance of occupied territory and includes the building of transportation infrastructure. Finally, the court emphasized that the determination of the legality of a contract cannot be contingent on political considerations advanced by a third party.
Activities in the West Bank and Gaza
- In cooperation with French regional governments and Palestinian partners, AFPS funds many projects on issues including water, education, agriculture, health, culture, and social. According to the organization, the objective of its projects in the West Bank and Gaza “is always political.” (emphasis added) AFPS further states that “enabling Palestinians to stay on their occupied land, supporting families in the camps, is supporting their resistance.”
- In 2015-2016, AFPS funded an olive tree planting project (€20,000) for the benefit of inhabitants of the Wadi Fukin village. In reality, the project had political goals and was described as “struggling against the expansion of Tsur Hadassah settlement on the land of the village.” Tsur Hadassah is a city located within the international recognized borders of the State of Israel. AFPS partnered with Stop the Wall Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (PGAAWC), Sunflower for the Human and Environment Protection (member of Grassroots Jerusalem), Arab Center for Agricultural Development (ACAD), and Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC) on the project. Representatives of the Consulate General of France in Jerusalem attended the official commencement of the project.
- AFPS’ ‘SOS Palestine’ fund: Every year, AFPS raises money under the banner of “SOS Palestine.” The organization claims that “without occupation, there would be no problem of poverty or shortage in Palestine.” Funds are transferred to politicized Palestinian NGOs, some of which have alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group.
- In 2016, under this framework, AFPS transferred €100,000: Recipients include Health Work Committees (HWC) (€15,000), which has ties to PFLP terrorist group; and the Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA) (€15,000) and the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) (€15,000), both of which promote BDS campaigns against Israel.
- In 2014, AFPS transferred €150,000: Recipients included the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) and HWC, two organizations with ties to the PFLP terrorist group; and PMRS, CFTA, and the Ma’an Development Center.Funding amounts are not given.
Controversial statements by staff members
- The honorary and former President of AFPS, Taoufiq Tahani, regularly publishes controversial posts on his Facebook account. For example, he expressed “his respect” to Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) founder Georges Habache and former PFLP general secretary Abu Ali Mustapha, The PFLP is designated as a terrorist organization by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. Tahani also considers the mastermind of the 2001 Sbarro massacre a “Palestinian resistor” and accuses Israel of using “poisoned gas” against Palestinians. On April 16, 2018, Tahini wrote a post on Facebook describing Khalil al-Wazir as “A GREAT MAN.” Al-Wazir is also known as “Abu Jihad” (Father of Jihad) and was responsible for the 1978 “Coastal Road massacre” – one of the worst terror attacks in Israeli history that was perpetrated by 13 Palestinian terrorists resulting in the deaths of 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children.
- The President of the French organization the Platform of the French NGOs for Palestine, Claude Léostic, is also an AFPS “national council member.” Léostic often utilizesher Facebook account to spread controversial messages and radical rhetoric (See “The Radical Statements of the President of a French Association.”).
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