Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA)


Country/TerritoryPalestinian Authority



  • The Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA) states that it was established “out of a growing concern for the children of Palestine,” claiming that “The Israeli occupation had taken its toll on the lives of children.”
  • Regularly places sole blame on Israel for conflicts in Gaza, including referring to the 2014 war as “Israel’s War on Gaza.”
  • Participates in discriminatory campaigns such as “Love in the Time of Apartheid: The Palestinians Campaign for Repealing Israel’s Racist Law Denying Family Reunification.”
  • In August 2018, during the violence on the Gaza border, CFTA was a signatory on a statement accusing Israel of “systematic and intentional destruction of Palestinian cultural institutions” and stating that “Israel’s sense of unassailable impunity is a guaranteed recipe for repetition of its crimes and nourishing its genocidal tendencies” (emphasis added). The statement further called on “cultural figures, intellectuals, cultural workers and institutions around the world to intensify the boycott of all Israeli academic and cultural institutions to help putting an end to Israel’s impunity and holding it accountable” (emphasis added). The statement ignored the violent nature of the protests, which have consisted of an organized armed attack on the Israeli border and IDF positions, attempts to destroy and breach the border fence, and sustained arson, rocket, and mortar attacks on Israeli civilian communities.
  • In November 2017, on the occasion of 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, Director of CFTA Mariam Zakoot called “upon all the freedom fighters of the world, and the British people to condemn the decision of the British Prime Minister to celebrate the Balfour Declaration. She is saying that they are proud. I say we demand an apologize (sic) because there is no honor on this. This is shame and disgrace.”
  • In September 2017, CFTA organized a workshop on the rights of women in partnership with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terrorist organization by the USEUCanada, and Israel. The workshop “touched upon a number of solid Palestinian feminist models such as Taghreed Al-Buttama, Maha Nassar and Laila Khaled, who have taught the Zionist enemy painful lessons in various combat operations.”
  • In October 2016, as a member of the Palestinian Women Coalition of UNSCR 1325, CFTA called upon the ICC Prosecutor’s Office to Palestine to “take concrete actions towards investigating war crimes committed against Palestinians” and “hold the Israeli perpetrators accountable for their war crimes.”
  • In October 2007, CFTA signed a “Call to end the isolation of the Gaza Strip.” In the call, CFTA stated that “The siege of Gaza is a terrible crime. I want to tell the world: don’t say that you didn’t know.”

BDS Activities

  • In May 2018, CFTA was a signatory on a letter to Shakira calling for her to cancel her performance in Tel Aviv as “Performing in an apartheid state, whether South Africa in the past or Israel today, in defiance of the voices of the oppressed always undermines the popular struggle of the oppressed to end oppression. Doing so on the heels of a full-fledged Israeli massacre against our people in Gaza is a morally reprehensible whitewash of the crime.”
  • Signatory to the March 2016 “Palestinian Women’s Call for Worldwide Women’s Endorsement of BDS.”
  • Director of CFTA Mariam Zakoot signed a 2016 statement from Palestinian feminists supporting BDS and decrying “the ongoing regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid.” The statement further “deplore[s] the colonial attitude inherent in some Israeli feminists’ request of us to sign a statement in favor of liberal ideals, ‘dialogue’ and ‘co-existence.’”
  • In 2014, signed on a call to boycott the International Oral History conference at Hebrew University.
  • In 2007, signed an open letter to the Rolling Stones, calling on the group to cancel its concert in Israel.
  • Signed a 2005 letter in support of an academic boycott of Israel.


  • Member of the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), which refused to sign the anti-terror clause that is a condition of US government funding, stating “that its members would not sign funding agreements that included the ATC [Anti-Terror Certificate]: this is now a condition for membership under PNGO byelaws [sic]” (emphasis added).
    • In April 2017, PNGO called on the international community not to “use aid to undermine legitimate Palestinian resistance.” According to PNGO, “We reject all de-legitimization or criminalization of lawful Palestinian resistance, whether in form of allegations of terrorism, anti-semitism or otherwise… We call on all governments and aid providers to respect our right to lawful resistance, support Palestinian human rights defenders, and ensure equal, impartial and transparent access to funding for all.”
    • In March 2016, as a member of Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), PNGO stated that “Israel’s current government, its most racist ever, has dropped all pretences of ‘enlightenment’ and ‘democracy’. This has helped to expose Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid to world public opinion like never before.”
  • Member of the Palestinian Women Coalition of UNSCR 1325, along with groups including the Women’s Affairs Technical CommitteePalestinian Working Women Society for DevelopmentMIFTAH, and the Women’s Affairs Center.

2014-2017 Grants to CFTA (amounts listed in $US)

Donor 2017201620152014
Medical Aid for Palestinians292,030
Christian Aid210,060106,221254,77845,768
CCFD (France)28,600119,509772,178
Medecins du Monde (France)15,21353,054113,751237,739
Medico International31,20012,84010,961
Rosa Luxemburg Foundation14,60138,87612,266
IDRF- International Relief and Development Foundation120,204147,70969,152
Switzerland (SDC)1,200,00056,721274,412
Germany (GIZ)10,10010,90729,643
Mennonite Central Committee26,50026,50013,250
Cordaid (Netherlands)40,804
European Union575,389

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