On Saturday, 4 March, the Collectif Palestine Vaincra — a member of the Samidoun Network — organized a Boycott Tour in the city center of Toulouse, France, bringing together several dozen people to raise awareness in Toulouse about the campaign to bring an end to the “twinning” or “sister city” relationship with apartheid Tel Aviv. The Boycott Tour left from the Jeanne d’Arc metro station through the busy weekend shopping streets of Toulouse, displaying Palestinian flags, banners and placards calling for a boycott of Israel and and an end to the shameful cooperation between the city and the capital of Israeli apartheid and colonialism.
Outside of the Primark store, participants chanted in support of the Palestinian people while others distributed leaflets explaining the reasons to bring the “sister city” relationship to an end. An activist from the Collectif Palestine Vaincra said, “Boycotts have always been a weapon against colonialism. We’ve seen this in South Africa, which succeeded in putting an end to apartheid in part thanks to the boycott. Israel, the colonialist and racist entity, is afraid of this powerful people’s weapon! Let’s boycott every day, until the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea!”
Participants continued to walk along rue Alsace-Lorraine, with slogans in French and Arabic, calling for an end to the twinning, the boycott of Israel, and the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea. Several passers-by joined in to chant with the demonstrators and show their solidarity with the Palestinian people.
The Boycott Tour continued to the Capitole metro, where the streets were very crowded with outdoor shoppers. Activists from the Collectif Palestine Vaincra spoke in French and Arabic, noting that “Since 1962, Toulouse has been twinned with Tel Aviv, developing sociocultural and economic exchanges with this city. Supporting the twinning of Toulouse with Tel Aviv supports the daily policy of Israel and its successive governments: occupation, massacres, home demolitions, confiscation of land, settlement expansion, arbitrary arrests. Now more than ever, we must mobilize to put an end to this partnership of shame!” The participants continued marching to Toulouse’s city hall, where a member of the Collectif spoke about the decision of the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, to suspend institutional relations with Israel, including twinning with Tel Aviv. He also recalled the city of Lille interrupting its cooperation with occupied Safad in 2014.
“In order to end this shameful cooperation, we will need to rely on the solidarity of the people of this city and not on the officials of the municipality of Toulouse,” he said. “Indeed, Mayor Jean-Luc Moudenc is an unwavering supporter of the Israeli occupation. As we did in 2020 during the municipal elections, let us make this a central issue so that our city stops supporting the crimes against the Palestinian people in our name!”
Participants in an anti-war march also joined the tour as it moved down rue Alsace-Lorraine to the Monoprix. Another member of the Collectif said, “Since the beginning of the year, the Israeli occupation army and settlers have murdered nearly 70 Palestinians during military attacks, as in Jenin and Nablus, while settler pogroms have run rampant in the village of Huwwara. This unleashed colonial violence continues the ongoing attack on the Palestinian people for over 75 years. Israel is a settler colonial project organizing an ethnic cleansing against the Paletinian people with fierce repression in a failed attempt to break their resistance. Today, the Israeli far right is in power and its crimes are permitted thanks to the unceasing support of Western powers, which continue their strategic cooperation with this apartheid state. The twinning between Toulouse and Tel Aviv is an example of this cooperation. For us, it is essential to put an end to it as well as to any form of cooperation with Israel.
The Boycott Tour came to a conclusion at the Esquirol metro station with a call to develop and intensify the campaign against the Toulouse-Tel Aviv twinning. It was clear at this third Boycott Tour that solidarity with Palestine is alive more than ever in Toulouse! We work to build this solidarity to provide meaningful support to the Palestinian resistance fighting colonialism, occupation and apartheid. Thank you to everyone who participated and those who showed their support. The Collectif Palestine Vaincra regularly organizes actions and various initiatives to support the Palestinian people in Toulouse. Do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to participate and to follow us on our various social networks (Facebook , Twitter , Instagram , TikTok and Telegram ).