- The French government 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.
- 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 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.
Examples of French NGOs receiving French funding
- 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 radical anti-Israel “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 (see below).
- Secours Catholique – €1,167,591 in 2012. 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 (see below).
- Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) – AFD granted €139,550 to AFPS in 2012-2014. AFPS is active in organizing BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel. AFPS also received €5,000 in 2011 from the parliamentary reserve of National Assembly Member Pascale Crozon, €3,000 in 2013 from the parliamentary reserve1. of National Assembly Member Richard Ferrand, and €2,000 in 2013 from the parliamentary reserve of the SRC (Socialist, Radical, Citizen and Miscellaneous Left) parliamentary group.
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 March 2013, a French appellate court dismissed a lawsuit brought by the PLO and AFPS against Alstom, Alstom Transport, and Veolia Transport, claiming that by their involvement with building the Jerusalem Light Rail, they were complicit in violations of international law by Israel. 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.”
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.
Response from AFPS: Following the publication of an earlier version of this fact sheet, AFPS published a response on its website (January 17, 2014). Although AFPS did not dispute any of our finding, it smeared our research as “detestable and ridiculous.” AFPS also provided more information on funding through the parliamentary reserve mechanism (see above).
- The Platform of French NGOs for Palestine – €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. Very active in leading BDS campaigns, the Platform 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. Members of the platform include the French League of Human Rights (LDH) and Amnesty International, as well as the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) and the Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network (PENGON). The Platform also maintains ties with the radical NGOs Israeli Committee against Housing Demolitions (ICAHD) and Ittijah.
Examples of Palestinian NGOs receiving French funding
NGO Development Center (NDC) – In 2010, the NGO Development Center received a three-and-one-half-year, €5,000,000 grant from AFD for the Fourth Palestinian NGO Project (PNGO IV). In addition to managing grants to NGOs for various European governments, NDC also publishes its own documents, such as:
- The “Palestinian NGO Code of Conduct” that demands that Palestinian groups reject “any normalization activities with the occupier, neither at the political-security nor the cultural or developmental levels.”
- “A Strategic Framework to Strengthen the Palestinian NGO Sector, 2013-2017,” which “aims to provide a strategic direction to NGOs.” This document lists “Anti-apartheid wall campaign” and “Anti-normalization campaign” activities under the first strategic objective.
Funding via NDC’s PNGO IV
- Ma’an Development Center received $348,578 in 2011-2012, as a part of 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 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), $334,859 in 2011-2012, as part of PNGO IV. 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 to oppose cooperation with Israel and Israeli companies – in sharp contradiction to government funding meant to promote such initiatives. PACR also utilizes demonizing rhetoric such as “apartheid” and other racially-charged language: “The occupation continued its aggression, settlement policies, building of the Apartheid Wall, the Judaization of Jerusalem, the siege and restriction of the entire Palestinian people movements on the checkpoints that aim to penetrate and disrupt the unity of collective, national and liberal consciences.”
Examples of politicized Israeli NGOs receiving French funding
- Zochrot 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.” Zochrot also accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and “forcible displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian people.”
- Sadaka-Reut received NIS 64,527 from CCFD and NIS 98,312 from Secours Catholique in 2012. Sadaka-Reut presents a highly polarizing and one-sided narrative of Palestinian victimization and Israeli guilt. Through its partnerships with groups that reject the legitimacy of Jewish sovereignty in Israel and repeatedly emphasize Israeli responsibility for the “Nakba,” young participants are presented with a simplistic, biased and divisive perspective.
- Hamoked received €60,000 from the French Consulate in Jerusalem in 2010-2012 and €69,948 from CCFD (see below) in 2011-2012. HaMoked accuses Israel of “war crimes” with only a token reference to Hamas’ “sporadic” rocket fire against Israel civilians. HaMoked called the Gaza war a “punitive operation” and promoted the unverified claim that “[m]any prisoners … were held in pits in the ground … apparently dug by the army.” During the Gaza war, HaMoked distorted international law to criminalize Israeli actions, falsely claiming that “phosphorous and cluster bombs” are “illegal weapons prohibited by International Humanitarian Law.”
Example of French funding for international NGOs
- Diakonia 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.
- The parliamentary reserve is an envelope of grants (about €150 million) allocated on an annual basis to MPs, in order for them to support local community and association projects. Several ministries, including the MFA, implement the MPs’ decisions. About 10% of the parliamentary reserve is granted to NGOs. French journalists and some MPs have noted that there is a lack of transparency surrounding the parliamentary reserve: MPs do not have to make public the list of beneficiaries and the amounts allocated, although Le Monde obtained partial information