Platform of French NGOs for Palestine is a network active in supporting and promoting BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel and lobbying the French government, using French taxpayer funds.
|In their own words||Created in 1993 in the context of the Oslo Accords, the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine (The Platform) aims to mobilize organizations for the recognition of Palestinian rights, especially the recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967's borders.|
- La Plateforme des ONG Françaises pour la Palestine (The Platform of French NGOs for Palestine – PFP) does not publish financial information, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.
- PFP claims that “the creation of the Platform was supported by the French governmental authorities who were engaged in the process of Oslo to lead to the creation of the State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel.”
- The French government (Agence Française de Développement, AFD) provided PFP with €320,000 (2020-2023). According to AFD, PFP “provides the analytical elements, political and legal, necessary for a good understanding of the situation” (emphasis added).
- AFD’s 2018 “methodology guide” for “co-funding of projects and programs” indicates:
- “CSOs [Civil society organizations] receiving AFD funding must mention AFD support and/or the AFD logo on their website (e.g. in the Partners section).” Yet, there is no indication on PFP’s website that the organization is a beneficiary of AFD governmental funding.
- “The CSO applies a policy of transparency regarding financial information, and this policy is suited to the organisation’s different audiences, e.g.: certification and publication of annual financial statements, publication of summary documents (financial statements and results/balance sheet)… ” PFP, however, does not publish any financial documents.
- AFD’s 2018 “methodology guide” for “co-funding of projects and programs” indicates:
- In 2013-2017, the Council of Île de France Region granted €146,000 to PFP.
- In 2019 correspondence between the Council of Île de France Region and NGO Monitor (2019), the French local authority claimed it had not provided funding to PFP since 2015. In its response, the Council referred to a 2016 voted decision that excludes “from funding organizations calling for a boycott of the State of Israel, especially those involved in the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, as these appeals constitute a criminal offense (Court of Cassation, October 20, 2015)” (emphasis added). The local authority further claimed that funding for PFP in 2016 and 2017 was most likely from previous commitments.
- The Platform is a network composed of 40 French NGOs that are active in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
- The Platform’s mission includes:
- “Raising awareness and informing the public about the rights of Palestinians, and advocating on their behalf to institutions and elected officials.
- Being a forum for the exchange of information, meetings, and collaboration between French Palestinian-solidarity NGOs and Palestinians organizations. Being a resource hub through its creation of tools for use by members and partners.
- Improving the capabilities of activists working on issues related to the rights of the Palestinians and the development of Palestine.”
- In July 2021, PFP called for the “immediate release of Dr. Shatha Odeh.” On July 7, 2021, Israel arrested Health Work Committee’s (HWC) General Director Odeh for her alleged involvement in terror activity. Following her arrest, the IDF closed HWC’s offices for six months.
- In July 2021, PFP demanded the “Israeli regime’s prison administration…release Khalida Jarrar.” Jarrar is a senior official of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization, who was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison following “her own confession, of the offense of holding office in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine from 2016 until her arrest in 2019.”
- In July 2021, PFP published an article titled “So that 2021 is the year of the end of apartheid in Israel.” The article called for a “need for complicit governments to put an end to their connivance with the apartheid regime by pushing for its dismantling and by supporting a sensitive transition to the right to self-determination of the two peoples currently inhabiting historic Palestine.”
- In June 2021, PFP was a signatory on a letter to the European Commission expressing concern over the Commission’s adoption of IHRA. The letter urged the Commission to “acknowledge, reject and counter the political instrumentalization of the fight against antisemitism and of the IHRA definition in particular for the purpose of shielding the Israeli government from criticism. Instruct all involved EU officials to refrain from facilitating and legitimizing such instrumentalization.”
- 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 January 2021, PFP shared the declaration issued by a number of Palestinian organizations that the “Vaccine Roll-Out Exposes Israel’s Inhumane Acts of Apartheid.” PHROC falsely claimed that Israel has “legal obligations” to “ensure that quality vaccines be provided to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and control.” The NGOs altogether ignore 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 policyfor its population.
- PFP also shared a petition sent to the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign and Security Policy that stated, “We do not accept this situation of health apartheid, just as we reject the policy of colonization, occupation, blockade and apartheid that Israel is inflicting on the Palestinian people.”
- In July 2020, PFP was a signatory on an appeal to the United Nationsreferring to Israel’s alleged “shoot-to-kill policy” as “contributing to the maintenance of Israel’s apartheid regime of systematic racial oppression and domination over the Palestinian people as a whole, which, embedded in a system of impunity, prevents Palestinians from effectively challenging Israel’s apartheid policies and practices.”
- In November 2020, PFP called for people to participate in “A World Without Walls,” a campaign started in 2017 that has drawn comparisons between “Israel’s apartheid wall on Palestinian land to the US wall of Shame on indigenous land at the border with Mexico.”
- In February 2018, PFP promoted a conference by Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) titled “70 years after the expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948: ethnic cleansing still relevant.”
- In November 2017, PFP publicized a round table event titled “Palestine after Balfour, 100 years of colonialism / 100 years of resistance.” The description of the event denounced the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, which “represents for the West the mark of its colonial work in the Arab region and for the Palestinian people the first stage of its dispossession.” The organizers of this event claimed to “denounce the centenary of an unjust colonial Declaration at the origin of a bloody century that ripped Palestine from the Arab world in the context of cutting the Middle East.”
- In September 2017, PFP promoted a video by the Union Juive Française pour la Paix (UJFP) titled “10 Jewish words against racism” in which UJFP activists accused France of practicing a “state racism.”
- In September 2017, PFP published a video, “How to Fight against Israeli Apartheid?” in which Richard Falk, “former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Palestine,” accused Israel of “apartheid” and claimed that “the best instrument” to increase the pressure on Israel, “is the BDS campaign … It is not violent and has already had several successes, here in France against Véolia and Orange who had links with colonization projects.”
- According to PFP President Claude Léostic, PFP is active in “lobbying our elected officials and the government: our approach is very often to bring in Palestinian and sometimes Israeli partners so that they can speak directly to our executives.”
- In 2019, PFP spearheaded a campaign to oppose a “motion for a resolution to combat anti-Semitism.” PFP stated that it will oppose any resolution that includes “reference to a largely fantastical antizionism,” and does not “explicitly exclude ‘examples’ supposed to illustrate the ‘IHRA definition’.”
- The organization sent two letters to France’s President, including one demanding that he “not respond to the requests of individuals and institutions wishing to advance the consideration of Resolution No. 1952, not to pursue the application of the said ‘IHRA working definition’ and to refrain from formally adopting it.” A letter was also sent to the French Prime Minister.
- PFP also published a report “The Dangers of the Maillard Motion for a Resolution”; a short document with “3 reasons why MPs must oppose motion for resolution no. 2403 presented by Sylvain Maillard on December 3, 2019”; and a draft letter “Alert about the motion for a resolution 2403 to combat antisemitism” to be sent to MPs by members of the public.
- The AFD funded project (2014-2017; €225,000) “Mieux agir pour le respect du droit en Palestine” (Improved Action for the Respect of Rights in Palestine) describes its “target groups” of the project as the “French general public,” emphasizing youth as being particularly important targets, as well as “the media” and “elected officials.” The project indicates that the “impact indicators” of the project are the “increase in the number of questions to the government on the situation in Palestine” and the “increase in the number of journalists calling on the Platform to receive information” (emphasis added).
- The 2015-2016 project “Pour le développement des échanges entre la société civile à Jérusalem et en Ile-De-France”(for the development of exchanges between the civil society in Jerusalem and in Ile-De-France), mainly funded by Ile-De-France Region (€30,000 out of €60,000; AFD provided €5,000), and implemented by PFP and its Palestinian partner the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCPRJ), indicates that one of the plan’s advocacy axes is to “organize a colloquium in the Senate or the National Assembly, meetings with elected officials – From Ile-de-France – and civil society.”
- According to the description, the project aimed “to shed special light on the specific situation of Palestinians in Jerusalem, which has slowly deteriorated over the years (impediments to movement and access, house demolitions, loss of permanent resident status, etc.). This deterioration, highlighted by the events that occurred since the summer of 2014, did not however provoke a reaction from the international community. The project is therefore to mobilize civil society around the rights of Palestinians in Jerusalem.”
- PFP lists on its website in the section “Palestine our elected officials …,” “an initiative of the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine”, elected officials who intervene on the Palestinian issue through written questions to the government, proposals for resolution, of positions, calls ect. PFP indicates that “several mobilization campaigns were launched by the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine and / or solidarity associations with Palestine, to which the French parliamentarians responded.”
- Active in BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel, despite the fact that anti-Israel boycotts are prohibited in France.
- In January 2018, the Quai d’Orsay [France Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs] reaffirmed that France “prohibits the boycott of Israel as any discrimination against a person or a group of people because of their origin or their belonging to a particular country.”
- Although PFP claims that its “campaigns are not part of the BDS movement,“ according to President Claude Léostic, “of course we support it, and we believe that it is a popular, a peaceful way, of expressing an opinion.”
- Together with the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) coordinates the “Made in Illegality” campaign in France, which calls upon France to end its economic relations with Israeli settlements. The campaign’s demands include banning French import of all “settlement products,” discouraging French 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.”
- In August 2021, PFP 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 September 2020, PFP called for the UN General Assembly to “Launch international investigations into Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people as a whole, as well as associated State and individual criminal responsibility,” to “Ban arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” and “Prohibit all trade with illegal Israeli settlements and ensure that companies refrain from and terminate business activities with Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.”
- In June 2018, PFP, alongside Al-Haq, Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS), International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), and Ligue des droits de l’Hommes (LdH), published a report, “The Jerusalem light-rail and how French companies contribute to the settlement of Occupied Palestinian Territory,” despite French court rulings that building the Jerusalem Light Rail is not illegal. The report calls for French companies Systra, Egis, and Alstom 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.”
- Following the report, PFP published a press release “salut[ing]” the announcement by the CEO of SNCF that “Systra is withdrawing from the red and purple line of the Jerusalem light-rail” and referring to it as “a first victory on a just path.”
- In March 2018, PFP promoted an event by BDS France to learn about “The importance of cultural and university boycotts.”
- PFP was a signatory to a 2017 statement calling for “the suspension of the EU’s Association Agreement with Israel” and on the international community “to cease all complicity with continued settlement activity and the myriad of ways that Israel violates international law.” The statement condemns the 1947 UN partition plan, claiming it “resulted in the 1948 Nakba, the demolition of more than 530 Palestinian villages and the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland, and is thus a process of ethnic cleansing”; and claims that European countries “made Palestine carry the consequences of the monstrous genocide of the European Jews by the Nazis; and subsequently they did nothing to require that Israel respect UN resolutions.”
- In 2017, PFP published “12 misconceptions about BDS” which claimed to “present the most common misconceptions about BDS, and elements of explanation to fight against these false claims.” This document refers to the list of deputies and senators so that the reader can question his political representatives on this subject.
- In April 2017, PFP campaigned to have Israeli soccer clubs based in West Bank settlements expelled from FIFA.
- Called for the suspension of the European Union-Israel Association Agreement.
- In a questionnaire sent to candidates for the 2017 presidential election, PFP asked “the next French government to repeal a circular [circular making the boycott and call for boycott illegal in France].”
Training Sessions for the Public and Activists
- PFP regularly organizes an “Educational Workshop” titled “Living Palestine,” which “offers an interactive teaching tool to understand the daily lives of Palestinians.” The workshop, based on controversial sources that it considers “internationally recognized,” including highly biased and politicized NGOs BADIL, B’Tselem, Who Profits, and Al-Haq, “gives the opportunity to the participants … to be confronted with the situations of waiting, the administrative dependency and the arbitrary, which ‘punctuate’ the lives of the Palestinians.” (Read NGO Monitor’s analysis in French “A pro-Palestinian association organizes a partial role play at the expense of the taxpayer.”)
- The workshop was funded through the support of AFD, the Île de France Region, Fondation de France, and Secours Catholique-Caritas France.
- The workshop was funded through the support of AFD, the Île de France Region, Fondation de France, and Secours Catholique-Caritas France.
- PFP regularly organizes training sessions for its members to “reinforce the skills of those working to further the cause of Palestinian rights and the development of Palestine.” Topics of trainings have included: “lobbying European representatives on questions regarding human rights of Palestinians,” “the International Criminal Court and Palestine,” and “defending free speech and lobbying for Palestine.”
- In September 2017, PFP published the booklet “Palestine / Israel – Instruments to argue” with the support of AFD. This one-sided booklet claimed to provide the necessary tools to “anyone who is concerned about respect of the law and is interested in Palestine,” and in particular to those confronted “with this type of affirmations”:
- “The Wall is a security barrier, since its construction, the attacks have greatly decreased;” “the Palestinian inhabitants of East Jerusalem enjoy the same rights and benefits as the Israeli inhabitants of West Jerusalem;” “other conflicts exist in the world, far more deadly than the situation in Palestine;” “Israel is considered the ideal villain.” (Read NGO Monitor’s analysis in French “AFD funds militant material to an anti-Israeli organization.”)
- In August 2018, PFP published a documentary, “Without laughs, games under surveillance,” produced in 2010 with AFD support. The documentary omits the context of Israeli security concerns, including Palestinian violence and terrorism. The film further demonizes Israel while exploiting Palestinian children for political gains (See NGO Monitor’s report, “A propaganda documentary funded by the Quai d’Orsay and AFD exploits young Palestinians.”)
- In July 2018, with the support of AFD and the Fondation de France, PFP published a pamphlet, “Palestine: Nakba’s permanent displacement,” that promotes a Palestinian “right of return.”
- The pamphlet contained many historical and factual errors, such as the claim that the UN’s 1947 Palestine-sharing plan was “rejected by Arabs and Jews,”1 or that “the use of the word ‘Nakba’ is still prohibited in Israeli textbooks.”2
- The pamphlet falsely accused Israel of forcibly displacing Palestinians, claiming that “the Nakba is an ongoing process” (emphasis added).
- The pamphlet also supported a Palestinian right of return, accused Israel of forced displacements, and called for Israeli officials to be brought before the ICC.
- Since the beginning of 2019, Leroux has served as the president of PFP. Leroux has been a member of Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) “since its creation in 2001.” Leroux was the “AFPS national leader for the BDS campaign” and is a member (at least until January 2019) of the Palestine Solidarité editorial board, the “quarterly edited by the Association France Palestine Solidarité” (AFPS).
- Claude Léostic was the president of PFP in 2011-2018 and currently serves as the organization’s “honorary president.” She is also a national council member of AFPS. She frequently expresses sympathy to terrorists, and makes highly offensive and controversial remarks (For more details, see “Les dérives radicales de la Présidente d’une association française” (“The radical slides of the President of a French organization”).
- In 2018, Léostic coordinated the “Right to a Just Future” flotilla in France. She was on one of the boats of the Flotilla (see video) which was prevented from docking in Paris by the French police. PFP, which is a member of the “Freedom Flotilla” coalition, stated that “this flotilla for justice in Palestine is of a solidarity, political and non-humanitarian character.”
- In June 2018, Léostic, alongside nine “activists for the liberation of Salah Hamouri,” co-signed a letter to the Israeli Prime Minister stating that they are “ready to offer themselves as hostages” in exchange for the release of Salah Hamouri, who was arrested in August 2017. Hamouri was previously arrested for “attempting to assassinate Ovadia Yosef…and for his involvement with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” Until his arrest, he worked for the Palestinian NGO Addameer, an organization that is identified by Fatah as an official PFLP “affiliate.”
- In 2002, she barricaded herself as a “human shield” alongside Yasser Arafat in Ramallah. According to Léostic, “It didn’t seem acceptable to let the Israeli government go on with their crimes and their plan to eliminate the Palestinian leadership.”
Selected Platform Members
- Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS): 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.’” AFPS is also active in BDS campaigns against Israel and uses other inflammatory rhetoric such as statements of ethnic cleansing, apartheid state, and “Stop hunting Palestinian children!”
- Comité Catholique contre la Faim et pour le Développement – Terre Solidaire (CCFD): Partners with politicized Israeli and Palestinian NGOs, such as Zochrot, a promoter of a “one state solution,” and HaMoked, which makes inflammatory and inaccurate allegations of Israeli “apartheid,” deportations,” “torture,” and forcible transfers.” Since 2014, CCFD -Terre Solidaire has funded the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, which publishes unverified and unsubstantiated accusations against Israeli soldiers.
- Pax Christi France: Compares the situation in the Palestinian territories to the occupation of France by Nazi Germany during World War II and to apartheid South Africa.
- Union Juive Francaise pour la Paix (UJFP): Accuses the State of Israel of being an “apartheid state” and of “ethnic cleansing.” Supports BDS campaigns against Israel. In 2013, UJFP funded the Alternative Information Center (AIC), a Palestinian NGO with alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group.
- La Cimade: Presented its 2015 report titled “The Occupation is Walling Up the Future: Survey on the Threats of the Colonization System and the Resistance of the Civil Societies” to the French Senate. The report recommends that France recognize the legitimacy of BDS campaigns against Israel, accuses Israel of “ethno-nationalist policies,” and recommends that the European Union “suspend all economic aid or cooperation agreements between the EU and the State of Israel contributing directly or indirectly to the maintenance or development of settlements in the occupied territories and in Jerusalem.” La Cimande acknowledges the Platform for its “logistical support” in the report. The NGO also thanks Michel Warschawski, AIC’s co-director, and UAWC – two NGOs with ties to the PFLP terror group.
- Secours Catholique- Caritas France (SCCF): Supports BDS campaigns against Israel, such as the “Made in Illegality” campaign (mentioned above) that demands that France “stop import of goods from the occupied Palestinian territories.” SCCF also supports a project in cooperation with the politicized Israeli NGO Sadaka Reut.
- PFP partners with Palestinian NGOs Network (PNGO), an umbrella organization comprising 135 Palestinian NGO member organizations, which prohibits its members to sign funding agreements that included the Anti-Terror Certificate.
- The current AFD funded communication file project (2017-2020, available on file) indicates that PFP partners include the Palestinian NGOs Addameer, DCI-P, and Al-Haq, all members of PNGO and with ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.
- PFP has also partnered with Ittijah and the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem.
- Ittijah director Amir Makhoul was sentenced nine years in prison for spying for Hezbollah during the 2006 Lebanon war.
- Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCPRJ), a Palestinian umbrella organization comprising 17 Palestinian NGOs, many with ties to the PFLP, regularly accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” “violating human rights,” “forced evictions,” “extensive home demolitions,” ”land confiscation,” “displacement of countless Palestinian families,” “destruction of property” and “Judaization of Palestine.”
- According to the UN, “The Jewish Agency accepted the resolution … The Plan was not accepted by Palestinian Arabs and Arab states.”
- A 2016 report from the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) stated that “Some Israeli textbooks also explain the controversial term “Nakba” (catastrophe), the name given by some Palestinians to the 1948 War, as an explanation of the past and current Palestinian view.”