Editor’s Note: The following analysis focuses on a key individual in the political NGO network, marking a departure from the institutional emphasis in past editions of NGO Monitor.

There are very few radical NGO activities in the United Nations or in Europe in which Pierre Galand does not actively participate. His rhetoric of hatred, anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism (disguised, as in the case of many other members of the political NGO community, in the language of human rights and sympathy for Palestinian victimization), includes references to Israeli "aggression", "war crimes", "colonization", "apartheid", etc. while referring to Palestinian terror as "heroic" and in need of international protection.

Who is Pierre Galand?

  • Born in Uccle, Belgium, July 28, 1940

  • Since June 19, 2003, Senator in the Belgian parliament

  • European Chairman of the Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine (ECCP), a Brussels based association of NGOs cooperating with the UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

  • From 1967-96, served as the head of Oxfam-Belgium (one of the leaders in the demonization campaign); President of the Forum des Peuples; member of the Belgian sector of the Amis du Monde Diplomatique; of the Belgo-Palestinian Association; leadership role in many other Belgium and EU NGOs

Galand’s radical agenda

  • Immediately before the notorious UN Durban conference on racism took place in September 2001 Galand’s activities were a central part of the preparations. In a speech disseminated through the website of the Maoist Parti du Travail de Belgique (Workers Party of Belgium), and again at Durban, Galand declared: "Palestine has become the new Vietnam, the symbol of the unjust war. A people deprived of its rights, just like the Vietnamese of 50 years ago, the Palestinians represent in the eyes of a growing number of peoples, … a heroic people, who defend their basic rights and above all their dignity, in the face of an aggressive Israel …."

  • Galand’s ideology is illustrated in a December 1993 letter of resignation from the NGO Working Group on the World Bank, published by Le Soir, March 1994. "I would like to join those of my colleagues in NGOs who believe that only dissidence can lead to an alternative of justice and co-existence for the peoples of our planet."

Traveling the world to attack Israel

Pierre Galand has participated in a very large number of international conferences, including:

  • March 2001 – Marseille Euromed Civil Forum: The Civil Forum (funded and sponsored by the EU’s 1995 Euro-Mediterranean Program) presented a report based on meetings with, among others, representatives of political and terrorist movements as well as members of the politicized Coordinating Committee of Palestinian NGOs (PNGO).

  • December 2002 – World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil: Galand spoke at the Press Conference/Workshop on Palestine organized by the Arab NGO Network for Development Activities, (also active at Durban). An initiative was proposed to show "active solidarity" by organizing a world-wide network of volunteers to provide "civil protection" for the Palestinians from Israel, which was termed the "Zionist war machine."

  • July 2004 – 3rd International Conference on An End to Occupation, A Just Peace in Israel-Palestine, Brussels: Conference sponsors include Hanan Ashrawi’s MIFTAH and MERIP (where HRW’s Joe Stork began his radical anti-Israel political career). Referring to Israel’s security barrier, Galand stated that "Israel’s wall was part of a colonization project to take land and water not to protect Israeli citizens." He repeated the standard call for internationalization of the conflict and the imposition of an agreement by force. In a blatant anti-Semitic comment, Galand also contrasted "the myth of the current Jewish Diaspora with the reality of the Palestinian Diaspora".

Using the UN as a vehicle for anti-Israel incitement

  • Galand has been a frequent participant in UN NGO activities, including the UN’s Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People’s annual international conferences on "Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People" and "media seminars" (in cooperation with the Department of Public Information -DPI).

  • In 2002, Galand told conference participants to contact their delegates on the Security Council to send a message about the necessity for a resolution on the protection of the Palestinian people. He also called for a special meeting to consider "Israel’s systematic violations of international resolutions, including the recent Security Council resolution on the Jenin refugee camp, as well as the possible creation of an international tribunal."

  • Speaking at a round of UN meetings around the world in 2003, Galand declared that "the global anti-war movement was well positioned to demonstrate against the occupation of Palestine and Iraq." He also noted that "young protestors today carried the Palestinian flag the way his generation had carried that of Vietnam" and called for a European initiative to "put the Palestinian question at the core of any international agreements" and urged the EU to suspend trade agreements with Israel. His proposal that Israel be required to label fruit produced in settlements reflected the anti-Semitic poster produced by Oxfam Belgium which used themes of the blood libel. Following mass protests, this NGO was forced to withdraw the poster.

  • Galand also campaigned on this theme in a November 29, 2003 Belgian demonstration against ‘the Fruits of the Occupation’.

  • Galand’s rhetoric of demonization also adopted the Palestinian apartheid theme (attempting to compare Zionism to the white government in South Africa) and he condemned Israel for allegedly bringing submarines and nuclear weapons into the Mediterranean.

  • Galand played a leading role in condemning Israeli policy at the 2004 UN DPI seminar held in Beijing.

Promoting the Palestinian agenda

In summary, the evidence demonstrates that Pierre Galand is a pivotal figure in the nexus between the extensive radical political and anti-Israel agenda of the UN, and the role of the NGOs in this process. These activities are also influential in the EU and its own close links with and funding for the highly politicized NGOs, such as Oxfam and MIFTAH. And as long as Galand is a visible figure in these circles, the radical political exploitation of the NGO network will clearly continue.