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 November 2022, CFTA was a signatory on a letter to the ICC Prosecutor to “Urgently expedite his investigation into the Situation of Palestine, including the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.” 
  • In May 2022, CFTA was a signatory on a petition titled “The Return Appeal” calling on the United Nations to “take all necessary steps and measures for immediately holding the occupation’s state accountable for all the crimes, the latter has so far committed against the Palestinian people, within strict legal means that would not allow the occupation’s criminals to evade interrogation or possible trials.”
  • In October 2021, CFTA was a signatory on a joint statement condemning the decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations. The statement called for “the international community, especially the European Union and its member states who are key supporters of and donors to Palestinian civil society, [to] ensure that banks and financial institutions in their jurisdiction are notified Israel’s designation of Palestinian organizations is unfounded and inapplicable.”
  • In January 2021, CFTA, alongside a number of Palestinian organizations, issued a declaration that the “Vaccine Roll-Out Exposes Israel’s Inhumane Acts of Apartheid.” The NGOs falsely claim that Israel has “legal obligations” to “ensure that quality vaccines be provided to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and control,” while altogether ignoring that Palestinians residing in Jerusalem are part of the Israeli health care system; that under the Oslo Accords the PA is responsible for health care of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza; and that the PA has adopted its own vaccine policy for its population.
  • In December 2019, CFTA Director General Mariam Zaqout participated in PNGO’s annual conference. (See more on PNGO below.)
  • In November 2017, the Culture and Free thought Association held a conference on “Palestinian reconciliation.” PFLP’s Hani Al-Thawabteh and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Ahmad Al-Mudallal participated in the conference.
  • 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 October 2020, CFTA was a signatory on a call to “artists from around the world” to “cancel all scheduled performances, exhibitions and appearances in Israel, or sponsored by the Israeli government or complicit Israeli institutions, whether in-person or online, for as long as Israel’s regime of military occupation and apartheid persists.”
  • In June 2020, CFTA Director General Mariam Zaquot was a signatory on an “Appeal from Palestine to the Peoples and States of the World” calling for States to take “punitive and deterrent measures” against “settlements, settlers and settlement products, including preventing such products from entering their markets.”
  • 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.


2020-2021 Grants to CFTA (amounts listed in $US)

Donor 20212020
Medical Aid for Palestinians163,545116,493
Christian Aid247,404221,841
CCFD (France)128,092
Medecins du Monde (France)59,61115,372
Medico International17,76634,696
Rosa Luxemburg Foundation32,91328,745
IDRF- International Relief and Development Foundation47,82884,336
Switzerland (SDC)450,000450,000
Germany (GIZ)92,622140,722
Mennonite Central Committee71,50019,750
AFD (France)143,079216,120
War Child (Netherlands)104,552


  1. According to ACHA, on August 21, 2021, RCS4GS changed its name to the Abdel Shafi Community Health Association.

All Articles about Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA)