The Collectif Palestine Vaincra learned through media reports about the desire of French Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin to dissolve two pro-Palestinian organizations — including our Collectif — “at the request of Emmanuel Macron,” the president of France.
This announcement took place a few hours before the annual dinner of the CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish Organizations in France, which is known for its lobbying and advocacy for Zionism and the Israeli state), during which Prime Minister Jean Castex, reading Emmanuel Macron’s speech, declared that “Jerusalem [was] the eternal capital of the Jewish people,” thereby calling into question the historical position of French diplomacy and international law by aligning itself with the U.S. and Israeli position.
While the Collectif Palestine Vaincra has been organizing activities for 3 years (rallies, demonstrations, information stands and tables, etc.) — all legal actions that are registered and authorized by the prefecture of Haute-Garonne — the French government has declared its will to proceed to an administrative dissolution in order to try to silence us. This overtly political decision comes after a long series of attacks and pressures against the Collectif from groups close to the Israeli extreme right.
In the document that notifies the collective of the administrative dissolution procedure, the vast majority of cited reasons indicate that we are being targeted for “thought-crimes” on Palestinian rights. We note their reasons and our clear positions below.
In the political tradition of the anti-colonial movement in France, our collective has, since its foundation, defended the perspective of a “free, multicultural and democratic Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River” and support for the Palestinian resistance, “in particular the progressive and revolutionary resistance that fights for national and social liberation.” This is a position that has existed in the French-speaking political field for more than 50 years and is held by many progressive, revolutionary and anti-imperialist organizations.
On the first page of the document, the Ministry of the Interior states:
“While it is obviously open to any person, natural or legal, to discuss or challenge the policy of territorial settlement of the State of Israel, this challenge cannot exceed the limits of freedom of expression. However, it appears that, under the guise of defending the Palestinian people, the Collectif Palestine Vaincra (CPV) […] incites hatred, discrimination and violence against people because of their Jewish origin, supports the actions of organizations recognized as terrorists and incites them.”
This is an unprecedented attack on the solidarity movement with Palestine through particularly abject comparisons that equate criticism of a state and an ideology with a form of anti-Semitism. These allegations are part of a policy that has now become a watchword of the Macron era: the equation of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, about which the Collectif Palestine Vaincra has written on several occasions. This is all the more revolting when our collective has, since its foundation, considered the anti-racist struggle as an integral part of its struggle and organizing and has regularly participated in initiatives against Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in particular and against racism more generally.
The boycott of Israel
The second element cited in the government’s document of “allegations” is the call for a boycott of Israel. The document states that:
“these boycott campaigns are opportunities to display anti-Zionism and hatred of Israel through the use of virulent terms. Accused of practicing apartheid and stealing the land of the Palestinians, Israel is thus called a “racist and colonial state”.
And the Ministry of the Interior cited several Facebook comments that were allegedly not moderated by us. Obviously, we moderate our Facebook page followed by more than 32,000 people by deleting hundreds of comments and blocking dozens of accounts, but we recognize that it is possible that some have escaped our vigilance.
Some of the comments quoted are in no way problematic and simply a call for a boycott. This accusation is a pretext which aims simply to criminalize the call to boycott Israeli products. This attack is all the more outrageous since it comes after the European Court of Human Rights condemned France in June 2020 for having criminalized activists who called for a boycott of Israeli products, violating their right to free expression.
Support for Palestinian prisoners and Georges Abdallah
Another extremely concerning element of the document of the Ministry of the Interior are the accusations made against us because of our involvement in campaigns in support of the release of Palestinian political prisoners, just like many other organizations in France and around the world. The document reports:
“Similarly, the CPV supports organizations considered to be terrorists and individuals implicated or convicted of acts related to terrorism and endorses the violent methods used by those who present themselves as “defenders of the Palestinian cause” […] For example, between December 2021 and January 2022, the CPV relayed several times on its Facebook page a call for mobilization in support of Ahmad Sa’adat, PFLP secretary general […] . In the same way, the CPV regularly campaigns for the release of Georges Ibrahim ABDALLAH, imprisoned in France since 1984 and honorary member of this collective, even though he was convicted of complicity in the voluntary murder of an American military attaché and an Israeli civil servant assassinated in 1982 in Paris.”
This is an extremely serious attack, even strictly from a legal perspective, which should concern all human rights defenders. Since when is supporting the release of detainees punishable by dissolution? This desire to criminalize support for Georges Abdallah is scandalous when – need we remind you – Georges Abdallah is himself the target of a relentless attack by the French state since he has been held in prison for more than 37 years and has been eligible for release since 1999!
Support for the Palestinian resistance
The Collectif Palestine Vaincra supports the Palestinian people’s right to resistance against the occupation, in all forms considered legitimate, including armed resistance. The UN recognizes the legitimacy of Palestinian resistance (including armed resistance) in its resolution 37/43 adopted in 1982. This resolution affirms in particular: “the legitimacy of the peoples’ struggle for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial domination, by all available means, including armed struggle”. Resolution 37/43 specifies in its article 21: “Israel’s expansionist activities in the Middle East and its continued bombardment of Palestinian civilians constitute a serious obstacle to the achievement of self-determination and independence for the Palestinian people.”
In contrast, the government tramples on these clear principles and invokes our support for Palestinian resistance as grounds for dissolution, stating:
“Third, the CPV’s support for various terrorist organizations goes hand in hand with a legitimization of terrorist methods that it strives to justify or minimize on the grounds that it is a necessary form of resistance.”
To illustrate its point, the document mentions examples of Facebook posts that inform about the history of the Palestinian resistance and prominent historical figures, and that are in no way incitement to commit “terrorist” acts.
This is a dangerous attack against the right to boycott, against the defense of Palestinian prisoners, and more generally against support for the Palestinian resistance against the occupation. The request for the dissolution of the Collective Palestine Vaincra demanded by the government is strictly political and aims to criminalize once again the solidarity movement with Palestine. This government offensive targets all anti-colonialist and anti-racist organizations in France and beyond. More than ever, we must stand up together!