French Council of State hears initial appeal against banning of the Collectif Palestine Vaincra

On Tuesday, 26 April in Paris, France, the Council of State convened a hearing on the appeal filed by the Collectif Palestine Vaincra against the announcement of its dissolution, or official state banning, by the French Council of Ministers on 9 March. Today’s hearing addressed the appeal to suspend the implementation of the dissolution — allowing the Collectif Palestine Vaincra to operate as normal — while the appeal against the dissolution order is proceeding.

Alongside the two lawyers of the Collectif Palestine Vaincra, Maître Brandely and Maître Crusoé, several associations intervened in the case, sending their own lawyers to argue against the French state’s actions — the AFPS (France-Palestine Solidarity Association), the UJFP (French Jewish Union for Peace) and the Union Syndicale Solidaires.

The representative of the Ministry of the Interior tried to argue that posts on the social media accounts of the Collectif Palestine Vaincra provoked anti-Semitism and “terrorist acts” (without ever specifying any action related to the Collectif or its social media posts), such as those calling for a boycott of Israeli apartheid. The lawyers defended the right to boycott, confirmed by the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in June 2020 which condemned France for obstructing freedom of expression following its criminal prosecution of activists who called for a boycott of Israeli products. Attempting to circumvent this argument, the ministry asserted that they were not contesting the right to boycott, even though the documents and decrees issued by the ministry against the Collectif in fact explicitly contest the right to boycott.

Then, there were long exchanges on the moderation of comments on social media pages, in which the French government argued that it has the authority to ban the Collectif because there were allegedly anti-Semitic comments posted on the page by other people (not Collectif members) that were not sufficiently moderated or deleted. The lawyers of the Collectif Palestine Vaincra pointed out certain violent and racist comments left on Interior Minister Darmanin’s page to illustrate the flaws in this argument. In addition, the representative of the ministry also lied about the existence of certain comments (none of which were made by the Collectif Palestine Vaincra itself and some of which were not even made as comments on the social media pages).

The discussion then continued around an article on the collective’s website entitled “Hamas designated as a “terrorist organization” by the British State: Fight back! ». Apparently, the French government’s official position is that it is questionable whether people in France are allowed to disagree with Britain classifying Hamas as a terrorist organization. The lawyer representing AFPS pointed out that the association adopts many of these political positions and that invoking these types of arguments would mean the dissolution of many organizations. Then, the government lawyers also mentioned the Collectif’s support for the imprisoned Lebanese communist Georges Abdallah and tried to use this as an allegation, citing his status as an honorary member of the collective (although this is not found in the decree dissolving CPV).

The emptiness of this type of accusation is evident when we also consider that Georges Abdallah, the longest-held political prisoner in Europe is also an honorary citizen of several French municipalities. After that, the hearing ended and the decision will be given in the next few days.

At the same time, a rally was held near the courthouse to denounce the dissolution of two pro-Palestinian organizations, the Comité Action Palestine and the Collectif Palestine Vaincra. Several dozen people gathered carrying banners and placards of solidarity as well as Palestinian flags. Representatives of several organizations participated in the morning protest, including the Unitary Campaign for the Liberation of Georges Abdallah, the CGTPermanent Revolution, the National Association of Communists (ANC)CAPJPO-Europalestinethe Montreuil-Palestine Committee, sections of the AFPSBDS Paris BanlieueSamidoun Région Parisienne and the Committee against the dissolution of the Collectif Palestine Vaincra which intervened during the rally:

“Hello, I am speaking on behalf of the Committee against the dissolution of the Collectif Palestine Vaincra, which is a Toulouse committee that brings together around thirty political and trade union organizations and associations. We came together because we understood that through these dissolutions it is all the progressive, anti-racist and anti-colonialist organizations that are targeted by the authoritarian radicalization of the government. More than ever, we must build a broad and united response to challenge these dissolutions like that of the Collectif Palestine Vaincra, but also to fight the growing criminalization of the Palestine solidarity movement and more broadly to roll back the government’s security offensive. »

In addition, protest gatherings were organized in Tarbes and Annecy in support of the Collectif’s appeal in Paris.

These actions come alongside many solidarity initiatives and expressions of support for the Collectif Palestine Vaincra that have already taken place in Palestine, Lebanon, Tunisia, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Canada, United States, Chile, etc. . More than ever, the banning of the Collectif Palestine Vaincra concerns all anti-colonialist and anti-racist organizations. Building a united front against the authoritarian radicalization of the Macron government is a political imperative!