French Government Funding for BDS, Lawfare, and Demonization
- France provides millions of euros to French, Palestinian, and Israeli NGOs. Direct funding is transferred through the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the French Consulate in Jerusalem.
- The French Consulate in Jerusalem established the Coopération Décentralisée Française pour l’Eau en Palestine (COOPALE) for enhancing capacity building on water resources. COOPALE cooperated on three projects with the Palestinian Hydrology Group between 2009 and 2011. Palestinian Hydrology Group is a Palestinian organization that promotes the demonization of Israel by exploiting environmental narratives. Information on specific funding of the NGO through COOPLE is not available.
- Indirect French government support is channeled through the French aid organizations CCFD-Terre Solidaire and Secours Catholique, as well as via the NGO Development Center (NDC) in Ramallah. These groups, in turn, fund NGOs that are engaged in activities that demonize and delegitimize Israel.
- Organizations receiving French government funding engage in political activities and lead campaigns that are inconsistent with French foreign policy in the Middle East, which calls for a “two-state” framework, and with French jurisprudence that considers anti-Israel boycotts to constitute incitement and discrimination based on nationality.
Major French NGOs involved in demonization and delegitimization campaigns
- A number of large and powerful French NGOs are involved in the delegitimization campaign against Israel, such as the Fédération Internationale de Droits de l’Homme (FIDH), CCFD-Terre Solidaire, Secours Catholique, and Pax Christi. By distorting the legal narrative, these groups falsely accuse Israel of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.
- During the 2014 summer conflict in Gaza, FIDH together with other French organizations, falsely accused Israel of deliberately targeting civilians and contributed to the NGO lobby for prosecuting Israeli officials in the International Criminal Court. In July 23 2014, FIDH participated in the NGO campaign at the UN Human Rights Council to promote the establishment of a commission of inquiry on alleged crimes committed by Israel.
- CCFD-Terre Solidaire – CCFD received a three-year grant of €770,032 from France in April 2014. CCFD’s biased approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict is based solely on the Palestinian narrative, including from “partners” such as Zochrot, Breaking the Silence, Hamoked, and Sadaka-Reut. In a conference on the conflict, for example, CCFD officials declared that the Palestinians “resist, […] also taking up arms, driven by despair to their hopeless situation.” CCFD is a member of the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine.
- Zochrot, an Israeli NGO, received NIS 260,506 from CCFD in 2011. Zochrot seeks to “raise public awareness of the Palestinian Nakba […] The memory and responsibility that the Jewish public should take on the Palestinian Nakba are basic conditions to peace between people, but it is not enough. Along with it, the rights of the refugees to return must be accepted.” This agenda is equivalent to calling for the elimination of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Zochrot also accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and “forcible displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian people.”
- Secours Catholique – €1,167,591 in 2012 from the French government. Secours Catholique’s positions on core issues in the conflict and reactions to key events demonstrate a clear bias. Secours Catholique uses demonizing terms such as “apartheid wall,” and calls on France and the EU to sanction Israel. Secours Catholique is also a member of the French NGO Platform for Palestine.
- Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS), a French NGO, received €139,550 from AFD in 2012-2014. AFPS is active in organizing BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel.
- AFPS refers to the “Gaza extermination camp” and states that “It is inconceivable and unacceptable that the ‘Jewish-executioner’ would hide behind the ‘Jewish victim!’” Other AFPS rhetoric includes ethnic cleansing, apartheid state, and “Stop hunting Palestinian children!”
- In 2011, AFPS was sued by SodaStream’s exclusive distributor in France for making distorted claims about the company’s products. On January 28, 2014, a French court ruled against AFPS, concluding that the NGO falsely alleged that SodaStream was selling its products illegally in France.
- In March 2013, a French appellate court dismissed a lawsuit brought by the PLO and AFPS against Alstom, Alstom Transport, and Veolia Transport, claiming that they were complicit in violations of international law by Israel through their involvement with building the Jerusalem Light Rail. The court rejected these demands, finding both a lack of standing and a failure to allege a cause of action. In particular, the court noted that the light rail was not illegal because occupation law allows for the building of transportation infrastructure. The Court also noted that the determination of a contract’s legality cannot hinge on “the individual assessment of a social or political situation by a third party.”
- Réseau de Coopération Décentralisée pour la Palestine (RCDP – The Platform of French NGOs for Palestine) is a network of French groups “engaged in solidarity projects with Palestinian villages.” RDCP received €261,200 in 2010–2011 from AFD, €16,500 in 2011 from Senator Bariza Khiari’s parliamentary reserve, and €4,000 in 2013 from the parliamentary reserve of National Assembly Member Amirshahi Pouria.
- RCDP comprises highly politicized NGOs that promote anti-Israeli narratives and BDS campaigns, including AFPS and the Comité de Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniens (CBSP), which was designed a terrorist organization by Israel and U.S. for its general support for Hamas and convicted terrorists.
- The Platform lobbies Members of the European Parliament to lift the Gaza blockade and impose sanctions on Israel. It also offers several biased resources for advancing an anti-Israel agenda. The factsheet on Israeli history, for instance, promotes the idea that the Palestinian refugees of the 1948-49 war were victims of a deliberate eradication policy, relying on discredited historical arguments and highly biased sources such as publications by Ilan Pappé. Very active in leading BDS campaigns, and also publishes a variety of booklets on Palestinian refugees and a so-called right of return. The Platform also demands the end of agreements between the EU and Israel, devoting an entire section of its website to providing “evidence” supporting this campaign.
French funding to the NGO Development Center (NDC)
- The NGO Development Center (NDC) describes itself as a “Palestinian non-profit, non-governmental organization supporting Palestinian and NGOs and their representative entities to more effectively respond to the needs of the most disadvantaged groups in Palestinian society.”
- NDC manages numerous programs for channeling fund to NGOs, including some of the most radical groups operating in Israel and the Palestinian Authority that promote “war crimes” cases and lawfare campaigns against Israeli officials. One such program, PNGO-IV, received 5 million EUR from France.
- The French government also funded a document that outlines NDC’s strategic framework. The first strategic objective includes anti-normalization and boycott campaigns against Israel. NDC’s anti-normalization strategy, defined by the document “NGOs code of conduct,” demands NGOs to reject “any normalization activities with the occupier, neither at the political-security nor the cultural or developmental levels.” This policy aims to prevent cooperation and dialogue, which conflicts with official French policy.
Examples of radical NGOs funded by France through the NDC
- Ma’an Development Center received $348,578 in 2011-2012, as a part of the NDC’s Fourth Palestinian NGO Project (PNGO IV). Ma’an Development Center published “Boycotts, Divestment & Sanctions: Lessons learned in effective solidarity” (2009), a guide to grassroots and international BDS campaigns “against apartheid,” explaining in detail how to lead effective political warfare campaigns against Israel. Ma’an Development Center also demonizes Israel, alleging “systematic ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people carried out by the Israeli State taking effect in the [Jordan Valley].”
- Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC) received USD 386,000 in 2011. PARC operates a range of agricultural, economic and social projects in the West Bank and Gaza, primarily devoted to rural development. However, it is also involved in political advocacy campaigns utilizing demonizing rhetoric, including “apartheid” and other racially charged language. PARC falsely accuses Israel of “war crime[s]” and publicly supports BDS by signing petitions calling for BDS against Israel and supporting the campaign to boycott Israeli academia.
Examples of French funding for Palestinian and Israeli politicized NGOs
|Name of Organization||Financial Instrument /Funding Organization||Amount and Year|
|CCFD-Terre Solidaire||N/A||€368,000 in 2012|
|Secours Catholique||N/A||€1.167.591 in 2012|
|Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS)||Agence Française de Développement (AFD)||€139,550 in 2012|
|Platform of French NGOs for Palestine||Agence Française de Développement (AFD)||€261,200 (2010-2011 )|
|NGO Development Center (NDC)||Agence Française de Développement (AFD)||€5,000,000 in 2010 for 3.5 years|
|Ma’an Development Center||NDC (AFD funded PNGO IV)||$348,578 in 2011-2012|
|Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC)||NDC (AFD funded PNGO IV)||$334,859 in 2011-2012|
|Zochrot||CCFD-Terre Solidaire||NIS 260,506 in 2011|
|NIS 64,527 in 2012
NIS 98,312 in 2012
|Hamoked||French Consulate in Jerusalem|
|€60,000 in 2010-2012
€69,948 in 2011-2012
|Diakonia||French Consulate in Jerusalem||€20,000 in 2012-2013|
|Norwegian Refugee Council||French Consulate in Jerusalem||€ 30.964 in 2010-2011
€20.100 in 2009
|Réseau de Coopération Décentralisée pour la Palestine||French Consulate in Jerusalem||€ 40.000 in 2012-2013|
French funding for international politicized NGOs
France also funds large international NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict, which are directly involved in delegitimization, lawfare, BDS campaigns against Israel, and funding for politicized Palestinian and Israeli NGOs.
- Diakonia, an international NGO, received €20,000 from the French Consulate in 2012-2013. Diakonia projects, such as the “Supporting Civil Society Organisations in Palestine” and the “International Humanitarian Law” (IHL) program, promote the Palestinian narrative and anti-Israel “lawfare,” and exploit and misrepresent international law. Diakonia also funds numerous highly politicized NGOs including the Alternative Information Center (AIC), Al Haq, Sabeel, Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHR-I), Women’s Affairs Technical Committee, Al Mezan, Mossawa, and Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network.
- Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), founded in 1946, describes itself as “an independent, humanitarian, non-profit, non-governmental organization.” The organization engages in politicized activities. In 2011-2013, NRC budgeted over $20 million for legal advocacy (lawfare), “Information, counseling, and legal assistance (ICLA),” including international delegitimization campaigns. French funding supported this project. As of 2013, NRC reports funding 677 cases via NGOs in Israeli courts, which, as stated by a lawyer affiliated with the program, aim to “try every possible legal measure to disrupt the Israeli judicial system.” (emphasis added)