zaterdag 14 juli 2007

Hamas weigert invoer Israëlisch fruit en groente naar Gazastrook

Het is een misverstand dat Israël Hamas boycot. Hamas boycot Israël! Niet alleen weigert het met Israël te praten of direct kontakt te hebben met Israëli's om praktische zaken te regelen, het weigert nu ook groente en fruit uit Israël de Gazastrook binnen te laten. Hiervan is naast de Israëlische groente- en fruittelers vooral ook de eigen bevolking in Gaza de dupe.
Hamas noemt de "door Zionisten gecontroleerde" Kerem Shalom grensovergang "deel van een samenzwering tussen Israël en het pro-Amerikaanse Fatah leiderschap in Ramallah tegen de Palestijnen in Gaza".

Ondanks dergelijke maatregelen, het constant bestoken van de belangrijkste grensovergang met mortiergranaten, en de voortgaande wapensmokkel, gaat Israël door met het verlenen van humanitaire hulp aan de Palestijnen in de Gazastrook.

Door de inzet en samenwerking van Israël, de VN en Fatah hebben de Palestijnen in de Gazastrook nog genoeg te eten. Maar onder sommige mensen die zich uitgeven voor vrienden van de Palestijnen is het erg in de mode om Hamas te prijzen voor zijn heroisch verzet.



Hamas bans Israeli produce in Gaza

Hamas's Finance Ministry on Monday barred Israeli fruits and vegetables from entering the Gaza Strip on Monday, according to the spokesman for the Fruit Growers Association.

The move is likely to cost Israeli fruit growers NIS 3-5 million a day, according to the association.

The Hamas decision will also make it harder for Palestinians to keep fruits and vegetables in their diet, particularly those items not grown in Gaza, according to Shlomo Dror, spokesman for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.

Upon hearing that Palestinian private contractors on the Gaza side of the Kerem Shalom crossing planned to adhere to the prohibition, Israeli businessmen did not send out the scheduled 60 trucks of produce, Dror told The Jerusalem Post. The fruit and vegetable ban is the latest in a set of anti-Israel moves by Hamas, including continued mortar fire on the crossing, to keep Kerem Shalom closed.

On Saturday, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said, "We are against opening the Zionist-controlled crossing of Kerem Shalom." He added that its use was part of a conspiracy by Israel and the pro-American Fatah leadership in Ramallah against the Palestinians in Gaza.

But according to the United Nations, the use of Kerem Shalom and Sufa as alternative crossings has been a lifeline that has allowed the UN to provide food staples to 1.1 million of the 1.4 million Palestinians in Gaza.

David Baker, a spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office, lashed out at Hamas's decision. "Israel endeavors to allow the entry of as much produce into the Gaza Strip as possible to alleviate the Palestinian situation. However, Hamas wants to exacerbate the plight at the expense of their own people by fomenting resentment against Israel."

Fruit Growers Association director-general Ilan Eshel said the produce import ban was a loss for his market as well.

"Returning the fruit to Israeli markets will cause a price crisis and huge losses to Israeli fruit-growers," said Eshel.

The extra fruit will glut the market to the point where no profits can be made, said a spokesman for the association.

"This is just a political move on the part of Hamas," said Agriculture Ministry director-general Yossi Yishai.

"[Hamas] will not close the border to necessities such as milk and bread, but this move is just seeking to inflict as much damage as possible on Israeli farmers."

Dror added that the Hamas ban, along with the mortars it fires against the crossing, did not, however, prevent other goods' passage into Gaza through Kerem Shalom.

Israel and the United Nations have continued to help facilitate humanitarian aid, such as basic food supplies and animal feed, into Gaza via both through Kerem Shalom and Sufa. The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank has also assisted operations at Kerem Shalom, which was the main commercial thoroughfare until Hamas seized power in Gaza last month.

According to Dror, an average of 150 trucks a day enter through Kerem Shalom and Sufa as alternatives to the Karni crossing, which has been closed - except to wheat shipments - since June 12th for technical and security reasons.

Israel and the UN have begun to rely on Kerem Shalom and Sufa, which are easier to secure because they are slightly set back from the border. Even then, said Dror, there have been almost daily mortar attacks on Kerem Shalom, while according to Eshel, Sufa is not suitable for transporting most produce as the high levels of dust in that area could easily damage delicate fruits and vegetables.

On average, approximately 500 tons of fruit, including bananas, apricots, plums and avocados, are moved into the Gaza Strip every summer.

AP contributed to this report.

Joodse leiders worden zich bewust van gevaren anti-Israël campagnes

Een vlijmscherpe analyse van de succesvolle campagne om Israël te delegitimeren.
"Jewish groups did nothing as divestment and boycott campaigns were set up, and the Electronic Intifada and other Web sites were started, and meetings were organized on campuses, in labor unions, churches and other interest groups. The strategy of subversion was admitted and explained by ISM-PSM, which is one of the most successful efforts. They told their people to enter church groups and act like Ned Flanders.
In any case, the "Israel advocates" are swamped by hundreds of well run extremist Web sites (and corresponding campus, union and church activism) of every persuasion: Leftists, Fascist anti-Semites, pro-Palestinians, Jewish anti-Zionists. From Stormfront to Israel Shamir, from Neturei Karteh to Indymedia, from Susan Blackwell to Stephen Sizer and Ali Abunimah, from counterpunch to and radioislam, the politics and religion do not matter. They all have in common the fact that they hate Israel."
Ik heb me inderdaad vaker verbaasd over de vreemde bondgenootschappen waar Israël-haat toe kan leiden. Op de Holocaust ontkenningsconferentie in Iran waren zowel een leider van de Ku Klux Klan als orthodoxe joodse rabbijnen van Naturei Karteh aanwezig, en in Nederland nemen Mohammed Benzakour en Abu Jahjah, als sprekers op conferenties georganiseerd door linkse partijen en ontwikkelingsorganisaties, het op voor Hezbollah en Hamas en rechtvaardigen aanslagen op Israëlische burgers. De Nederlandse Volksunie op zijn beurt houdt 14 juli een demonstratie tegen Israël en voor Iran. In het persbericht worden Gretta Duisenberg en Dries van Agt geprezen voor hun strijd tegen Israël. Ook op het web is sprake van deze ietwat vreemd aandoende kruisbestuiving: Holocaust ontkenners, radikaal-linkse anti-zionisten, Arabische anti-zionisten en extreemrechtse anti-zionisten ondersteunen elkaar. 
In plaats van een machtige Joodse lobby, vinden deze mensen veelal kleine versplinterde Joodse en Zionistische organisaties tegenover zich, die geen goed weerwoord weten op alle aantijgingen of menen dat de messias het maar moet opknappen, en die zich vooral richten op educatie aan Joden, of simpelweg niet tegen de overkill aan antizionistische propaganda kunnen opboksen. 
Mythes zijn vaak een lang leven beschoren, en antisemitisme is een hardnekkige ziekte.


Jewish leaders wake up to dangers of campaign to delegitimize Israel

"Jewish leaders concerned by trend to delegitimize Israel" reads the Haaretz headline. It is good that at last, someone is taking note of the problem.
The article states:
The trend toward delegitimizing Israel's existence as a Jewish state is growing not only in Europe, but also in the United States, according to Jewish-American academics and community leaders.
You don't say? Our fearless leaders have discovered what was under their noses, and has been growing thanks to their own neglect. Palestinians and their supporters understood that enlisting the support of outsiders:  "progressives" and especially Jews, would be a key factor in aiding the violent struggle that was contemplated in 1998. 
"Popular resistance, which is likely to bring back the intifada, will simultaneously lead to building alliances and grassroots organizations, like the ones that emerged spontaneously in the early days of the original intifada (which was snuffed out by the PLO leadership in Tunis). If this succeeds by the turn of the century, this new post-patriarchal liberation struggle will regain the human face of the first intifada and win the support of progressive forces the world over, including the support of progressive Jewish forces in Israel and the United States. "
A self-fulfilling prophecy.
The strategy of attacking "apartheid" and seeming to attack the occupation while actually attacking the existence of Israel was enunciated clearly many times. For example, this was described as the basis of the Boycott Israel campaign: 

"- The legitimacy of Israel's regime must be challenged...

- There is no chance to change Israeli society from within, we are at a dead end and Israeli society is becoming increasingly fascist.

- We are dealing with the dismantling of power, and the question is how to convince this power to voluntarily dismantle....


Targets of boycott and sanction should be the state of Israel, but also Zionist organizations and corporations:

- There is corporate responsibility related to sanctions, divestment, boycott. For example, Caterpillar and Intel (on Iraq al-Manshiyya.). Campaigns should also target the Zionist organization ('National Institutions'), such as WZO, JA, JNF, which are major perpetrators and maintain discrimination inside Israel."

Jewish groups did nothing as divestment and boycott campaigns were set up, and the Electronic Intifada and other Web sites were started, and meetings were organized on campuses, in labor unions, churches and other interest groups. The strategy of subversion was admitted and explained by ISM-PSM, which is one of the most successful efforts. They told their people to enter church groups and act like Ned Flanders.
In any case, the "Israel advocates" are swamped by hundreds of well run extremist Web sites (and corresponding campus, union and church activism) of every persuasion: Leftists, Fascist anti-Semites, pro-Palestinians, Jewish anti-Zionists. From Stormfront to Israel Shamir, from Neturei Karteh to Indymedia, from Susan Blackwell to Stephen Sizer and Ali Abunimah, from counterpunch to and radioislam, the politics and religion do not matter. They all have in common the fact that they hate Israel.
I described the situation on the Web two years ago, when the Zionism Web project was started:
Systematic delegitimization of Zionism has been "Politically Correct" since the infamous UN "Zionism is Racism" resolution of 1975, and it has not abated. This situation is mirrored on the World Wide Web. Depending on the day, five or six of the ten first links retrieved by a Google search for "Zionism" are anti-Zionist polemics, including some obnoxious racist diatribes. "True Torah Jews Against Zionism," the top-ranked Web site, represents a tiny minority of  medieval Jewish religious fanatics who insist that only their view is correct and brands every other view as heresy. Another site offers us the following enticing introduction: "What Zionism is -- and its pernicious influence upon the USA." ...Here is another: "A Crude Attempt To Equate Anti-Zionism With Anti-Semitism ... Jewish Persecution - A Primary Tool Of International Zionism." ... Many of the Web sites that insist they are not racists and that criticism of Zionism is not racist, have links to Mein Kampf, Protocols of the Elders of Zion and similar racist materials.
The situation is hardly better today, though we have managed to make a tiny difference for the keyword Zionism.
But these puny little efforts, on both sides, did not seem to merit the attention of grandiose self-important functionaries, who insisted on business as usual. "Israel advocacy" has been largely confined to organizing lectures to preach to the converted,  to taking out advertisements in mainstream media and issuing hysterical press releases at press conferences. This may flatter the egos of the advocates and enrich their organizations, but it does little for the cause.
A small group of volunteer Zionist activists, many of them right wing extremists, generally represent the cause of Israel on the Web, on campus and elsewhere. They can't possibly communicate with ordinary folk who do not share their right wing views, don't want to buy "I am a conservative" T-shirts and don't think God promised Israel to the Jews from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates. Their efforts tend to confirm the anti-Zionist slander that all Zionists are neo-con reactionaries intent on conquering the Middle East.  Extremist "Zionist advocacy" played right into the hands of the campaign to delegitimize Israel, by insisting that Zionism is identical with support for the occupation and extremist positions.  
Those who think the Web is not "real" need to understand: The Web then, in 2004, represented "reality" in the making. The people reading about "Israeli Apartheid" and the "pernicious nature" of Zionism were not virtual people, but real people. 
What we saw at the end of 2004 and in 2005, the flood of unrestrained hatred on the Web, is now being translated into a flood of Boycott Israel resolutions and initiatives. The constant repetition of the phrase "Israel Apartheid" in Web sites, in campus demonstrations and literature derived from Web sites, and at little meetings everywhere filtered its way up through the echelons of respectability, until the time was right for Jimmy Carter to take Israel-Hate Mainstream. According to this article, Abe Foxman of the ADL believes" that Jimmy Carter's book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, which was published last November, had a much greater impact than did other publications." That is true, of course. But Carter's book built on all the grass roots "contributions," and so, of course did Walt and Mearsheimer's, "Israel Lobby." What was once hidden is now respectable.
It will get worse, unless something is done. Evidently the people responsible for defending Israel do not understand how public opinion is nurtured, how little grass-roots efforts are pooled and maginified to culminate in a large effect. They will go on with the old model of Israel advocacy, which seems to be mostly about appearing at "functions" and collecting honors, and launching empty PR campaigns like the "Israel Branding Campaign" with maximum visibility and minimum effect.
To quote the article:
'Reinharz [Jehuda Reinharz, President of Brandeis University] said that he is worried by the lack of effective response to anti-Israel publications.
"I see no combined effort to fight this by the Jewish organizations, and in truth, I myself don't know how this could be done," he said.'
Professor Reinharz, it is not rocket science, to coin a cliche. If the other side is winning and we are losing, we must be doing something wrong. In fact, we are doing just about everything wrong.
Study what the other side has done so effectively, and do the same.
Part of what is wrong is the sociology of Jewish organizations, and the Israeli government and the way they make decisions. Campus activism, Internet, union activism and interfacing with local church groups are all "small potatoes." They aren't glamorous enough for organizations that need to have splashy annual meetings to show the Jewish lobby at work, and honor the "machers," the Jewish functionaries. They are beneath the dignity of people who are used to fixing matters in private audiences at Number 10 Downing Street and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. These people won't listen to new suggestions. "Why spend ten thousand dollars on unproven schemes, when we can spend a hundred thousand on splashy PR and speaker programs that we know certainly don't work? Where is the "kavod" (honor) in an Internet Web site or a demonstration?" "Why enlist leftist Zionists in defending Zionism? They are all traitors anyhow?"
Something can be done, but it won't be done unless Jewish leaders change their way of thinking, or unless we get different Jewish leaders. Israel advocacy has to start speaking to unconvinced people in the language that they understand, and in the places where they listen: on campus, in the internet, in unions and women's groups and church groups. We are fighting genocidal barbarians who throw people from the roofs of buildings, and yet they manage to make out that we are the "bad guys." We must be doing something wrong. We have an almost air-tight case that is based on international law and human rights, but almost nobody is making that case, because they are too busy defending the occupation and fighting "leftists."
Ami Isseroff
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Bezoek van Egyptische en Jordaanse ministers van BZ niet namens Arabische Liga

Een dag eerder werd nog in de kranten bericht dat de ministers van buitenlandse zaken van Egypte en Jordanië eind juli Israël zouden bezoeken namens de Arabische Liga, wat een historische doorbraak zou kunnen aangeven. De dag erop werd dit alweer ontkent: ze vertegenwoordigen alleen hun eigen landen, aldus de Egyptische minister donderdag.
Israël heeft een vredesverdrag met Jordanië en Egypte. Zij kunnen hun opvattingen geven, maar dit heeft weinig toegevoegde waarde voor wat betreft Israëls relatie met de rest van de Arabische wereld. 

Haaretz schrijft:
A visit by Arab League officials would have marked an important diplomatic accomplishment for Israel. But many Arab countries considered such a move too hasty until Israel makes a gesture about the Arab peace-for-land plan relaunched by an Arab summit in Saudi Arabia in March.

Het zou vooral ook een duidelijk teken zijn dat de Arabische Liga inderdaad geinteresseerd is in vrede met Israël. Premier Olmert heeft duidelijk gezegd dat hij met de Arabische Liga over het plan wil praten. Waarom een plan lanceren als je er niet met je tegenstander over wil praten? Het lijkt erop dat de Arabische Liga niet geinteresseerd is in overleg, vrede en een compromis, maar vooral bij de internationale gemeenschap wil scoren met een mooi klinkend maar vooralsnog weinig uitgewerkt plan. President Sadat kwam naar de Knesset indertijd. Deze moedige stap zorgde voor het vertrouwen dat leidde tot een totale Israëlische terugtrekking uit de Sinai in ruil voor een vredesverdrag. De Arabische Liga is duidelijk nog niet zo ver.


Last update - 22:29 12/07/2007

Visit by Egypt, Jordan FMs will not be an Arab League mission

By The Associated Press

The foreign ministers of Egypt and Jordan, due to visit Israel later this month, will not be representing the Arab League as previously reported, but rather will represent only their respective countries, Egypt's foreign minister said Thursday.

The announcement was made shortly after the State Department in Washington said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is to postpone a visit to the region that had been planned for next week.

The Jordanian and Egyptian foreign ministers were recently reported to be acting as envoys from the Arab League on their upcoming visit.
This would have been the first such visit to Israel by the Arab League, which has historically been hostile toward it.

But Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said his visit to Israel with his Jordanian counterpart, planned for July 25, would only be on behalf of their respective countries.

"This is not a visit where the Arab League flag will be raised," Aboul Gheit told reporters. "This is a matter of principle."

On Wednesday the head of the 22-nation Arab League, Amr Moussa, also said the two foreign ministers would not be representing the League.

A visit by Arab League officials would have marked an important diplomatic accomplishment for Israel. But many Arab countries considered such a move too hasty until Israel makes a gesture about the Arab peace-for-land plan relaunched by an Arab summit in Saudi Arabia in March.

The offer promises full peace with all Arab nations if Israel withdraws from territories captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and allows the creation of a Palestinian state.

Israel rejected the plan outright when it was first presented in 2002, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has recently expressed willingness to discuss it.

Rice delayed her trip so that she can be accompanied to the region at the end of the month by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the State Department said.

Spokesman Sean McCormack said the changes do not connote any reduction in Bush administration commitment to furthering peace between Israel and the Palestinians, or that preoccupation with the Iraq war is crowding out other issues.

U.S. President George W. Bush announced at a news conference on Iraq on Thursday that he was sending Rice and Gates to the Middle East.

Rice last visited Israel and the West Bank in March, when she announced that Olmert and Abbas planned to meet every two weeks - a schedule that the two leaders were unable to meet.

Rice has also canceled a planned visit next week to Congo. She had been scheduled to become the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the volatile and mineral-rich central African nation in a decade.
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donderdag 12 juli 2007

President Abbas wijst gesprekken met Hamas af

Volgens dit bericht komen er waarschijnlijk geen officiële gesprekken tussen Fatah en Hamas op de korte termijn, en liggen de posities van beide partijen mijlenver uit elkaar. Beide eisen dat de andere partij zijn regering opheft en de legitimiteit van de eigen regering erkent, met andere woorden, overgave.


President Abbas rejects talks with Hamas as Haniyeh's demands are revealed
Date: 11 / 07 / 2007  Time:  20:20

Bethlehem - Ma'an - Knowledgeable Palestinian sources on Wednesday stated that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has informed a delegation of Arab parliamentarians in the Jordanian capital, Amman, that he rejects the suggestions offered by the head of the Hamas politburo, Khalid Mash'al. Mash'al submitted Hamas' conditions for talks to the Arab delegation in Damascus a few days ago.

The source stated that President Abbas told the delegation that he "will not hold negotiations with Hamas, unless they back down over "the mutiny" they conducted in the Gaza Strip and accept the return of the Strip to PA control." In addition, Abbas reportedly stated that Hamas must adhere to the directives of the emergency government, led by Salam Fayyad and "to apologize to the Palestinian people for their conduct".

The parliamentarian delegation from the Arab states have reported that Hamas' conditions over ending the current state of affairs are as follows:

First: The emergency government must be dissolved through a presidential decree, and Haniyeh's government must be ratified, not as a transitional government, but as the legitimate government until it finishes its elected term.

Second: Keeping the current PLC makeup, which has a Hamas majority, until the end of its full term, avoiding early presidential and legislative council elections.

Britse journalistenvakbond blaast boycot Israël af

Eindelijk weer wat goed nieuws over de boycot Israël rage. Eerder al draaiden de Amerikaanse Presbyteriaanse kerk en de Verenigde Kerk van Christus (UCC) hun boycots van Israël terug. Ook de Britse bond van leraren in het hoger onderwijs (AUT) herriep haar aanvankelijke boycot oproep, maar de nieuwe fusiebond UCU nam later wederom een boycot-resolutie aan. De strijd tussen voor- en tegenstanders van een boycot zal voorlopig nog wel even voortduren.
De Palestijnse PACBI campagne voor een academische en culturele boycot van Israël is tegen vrede en verzoening en streeft naar de ontmanteling van de Joodse staat.
UK journalist union cancels Israel boycott

Updated: 11/Jul/2007 23:16

LONDON (EJP)---The National Union of Journalists has decided to cancel a planned boycott of Israeli products which caused massive controversy amongst the journalistic world.

An NUJ statement released on Tuesday said the union's National Executive Committee has "called for members to unite behind the union's key workplace priorities" as opposed to boycotting Israel.

The statement went on to say the NUJ NEC "unanimously backed a motion drawing a line under the row over the Israeli boycott call."

The motion, tabled by General Secretary Jeremy Dear and seconded by President Michelle Stanistreet recognised the concerns expressed by some members, chapels and branches about the proposed boycott.
And the NUJ resolved "to take no further action" over the boycott call.

Controversial move

The original boycott motion was passed by 66 votes to 54 at the NUJ's annual delegates meeting in Birmingham in April.

It caused a large amount of upset with numerous journalists and academics speaking out against the idea.

Other British Unions have, however continued to back boycotts of Israeli products in protest against what they see as harsh policies of the Israeli government against the Palestinians, prompting accusations of racism and anti-Semitism.

The NUJ dismissed suggestions of this.

"The motion also rejected firmly any allegations that the union was anti-semitic or racist and reaffirmed the union's commitment to fighting racism in all its forms," the union said..

Full coperation

Stressing the NUJ's commitment to cooperate with Israeli journalists, the statement added that the "NEC also reaffirms to continue our past efforts to engage our sister union in Israel, the National Federation of Israeli Journalists and instructs the General Secretary to continue to seek to cooperate with them on issues of common interest."

Lorna Fitzsimons, chief executive of the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre was pleased with the decision.

"This is a vindication of the members of the NUJ who do not want their union to boycott Israel," "This vote is instructive to all the trade unions whose conferences are voting to boycott Israel - the rank and file do not want it," she told the Jerusalem Post.

Waqf Tempelberg opgraving roept protesten op van archeologen

Waar is de internationale ophef nu de Waqf (het islamitische bestuur, onder leiding van de Palestijnse Autoriteit en Jordanië) op de Tempelberg aan het werk is, en de archeologische schatten daar mogelijk in gevaar brengt? Waar blijft het officiële onderzoek van de VN? De media aandacht voor deze onnodige provocatie?
Speaking for the committee Tuesday, archaeologist Eilat Mazar said: "There is disappointment at the turning of a blind eye and the ongoing contempt for the tremendous archaeological importance of the Temple Mount."
Het is overigens niet de eerste keer dat de Waqf een totaal disrespect aan de dag legt voor het (Joodse) verleden van de Tempelberg, en hier uitgebreide bouwprojecten uitvoerde tegen alle afspraken in. Men reed vrachtwagens vol oud materiaal naar het stort in Jeruzalem, waaronder scherven daterend uit de tijd van de tweede tempel. Om de één of andere reden hoorde je daar toen ook al weinig over, dit in scherp contrast met de hysterische reacties toen Israël minimaal 60 meter BUITEN de Tempelberg een brug wilde herstellen.
Verschil moet er blijkbaar wezen.
Last update - 09:53 11/07/2007

By Meron Rapoport, Haaretz Correspondent

The Waqf Muslim religious trust is digging a ditch from the northern side of the Temple Mount compound to the Dome of the Rock as a prelude to infrastructure work in the area, generating protests from archaeologists.

The dig has been approved by the police, but the Israel Antiquities Authority declined to respond to the Waqf's excavations and would not comment on whether one of its archaeologists had approved the move.

The Committee for the Prevention of Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, an apolitical group comprised of archaeologists and intellectuals from the left and right, criticized the use of a tractor for excavation at the Temple Mount "without real, professional and careful archaeological supervision involving meticulous documentation."

Speaking for the committee Tuesday, archaeologist Eilat Mazar said: "There is disappointment at the turning of a blind eye and the ongoing contempt for the tremendous archaeological importance of the Temple Mount."

At the beginning of the year, Israeli excavations near the Temple Mount, part of a plan to rebuild the Mugrabi bridge walkway, led to violent protests from Arabs in Israel and around the world.

woensdag 11 juli 2007

Antisemitische cartoons in Quebec - Canada

Deze Cartoon Controverse krijgt om de één of andere reden weinig media aandacht. Dit keer zijn de cartoons aanstootgevend voor Joden en zij schoppen geen rellen op straat of zetten ambassades in brand. Hun leiders hitsen hen niet op tegen de kranten die ze publiceerden of tegen Quebec, dat een geschiedenis van antisemitisme kent.
Ratna Pelle

There's a new cartoon controversy - this time in Canada. And the controversy is that there hasn't been one. Some three weeks ago, in close succession, anti-Semitic cartoons-- at least two of which appeared to have been borrowed from Der Sturmer - were published on the editorial pages of three mainstream newspapers in the Canadian province of Quebec. The cartoons concerned the meeting between Mario Dumont, the leader of Quebec's opposition party, the Action Democratique du Quebec, with fundraisers who had traditionally supported Quebec's Liberal Party -- the party currently in power. Some of the fundraisers were Jewish businessmen.

Anti-Semitic Cartoon


 One cartoon, in Montreal's fiscally conservative but otherwise left-leaning La Presse, showed Dumont dressed up as an ultra-orthodox Jew, sporting sidecurls and a broad-brimmed fur hat, with a sinister and crazed expression on his face. "Next week, I'll be courted by nude cyclists..." he says. No matter that Quebec's Jews are mostly secular and bilingual, or that the ultra-orthodox make up a minuscule minority of Quebec Jewry -- less than 5%. The same paper's page one headline, "Dumont courtise par la communaute juive," was included inside the cartoon. The fact that Dumont's having met with Jewish fundraisers earned it front page coverage speaks volumes, as does use of the word "courtise," or "courted." Dumont, it seems, was being seduced by those who would lead him down the primrose path.


Another cartoon, from Sherbrooke, Quebec's middle-of-the-road La Tribune, features Dumont with dollar signs in his eyes, hands outstretched towards two hook-nosed, kippah-wearing, hunched Jews, again with the sidecurls. "Soyez les bienvenus, mes amis," he tells them, but each letter "s" in the text has been changed to a dollar sign.


A third, from Montreal's nationalist, intellectual newspaper of record, Le Devoir, shows Dumont in a t-shirt with a "kosher" stamp in it. He says, "Desormais, je suis certifie casher," or, "From now on, I am certified kosher." Arguably, it is the least appalling of the three.

It is difficult to argue that these cartoons are anything but anti-Semitic. It is also difficult to argue that the papers in question should not be allowed to publish them, if their editors and publishers see fit. What is cause for concern is the very lack of concern, the lack of reaction, in Quebec, and the almost complete media silence in the rest of Canada, but for the blogosphere and small, community papers.

Two non-commital editorials appeared in the right-of-centre English-Canadian media two weeks after the cartoons initially appeared. Each essentially said, "Things are different in Quebec: French-Canadians are, er, distinct." It is as though we are being asked to believe this sort of thing is akin to the alleged Quebecois joie de vivre, just another trait of which our francophone co-citizens are possessed.

In fact, this is quite a touchy subject in Canada. Quebec's nationalist movement has long been tainted with anti-Semitism. And Quebec is, without question, the most anti-Israeli and most anti-American of the Canadian provinces, earning it the nickname "Quebecistan." The anti-Semitic French comedian Dieudonne, for example, is hugely popular in Quebec (far more so than in France), invited to mainstream comedy festivals and onto publicly-funded radio, where he receives a sympathetic welcome.

This is not to say there is no anti-Semitism elsewhere in Canada. But were such cartoons to appear in the Globe and Mail (a national paper out of Toronto) or the Calgary Herald or Vancouver Sun, all hell would break loose.

More intellectually lazy still, some have tried to draw a parallelwith the Danish Mohammed cartoons, stating that if one encouraged their publication, one should rejoice at these cartoons. I am not suggesting that these cartoons should not have run. Personally, I find them over the line, but each editorial page should decide such things for themselves. It should also be noted that Le Devoir was, to its credit, the only mainstream publication in Canada to run (one of) the Danish cartoons. I did believe the Danish cartoons should be published - but I took no delight in the cartoons themselves, or the reaction they engendered. And that is where a more accurate comparison can be made.

So far, no one in Quebec's Jewish community -- or any Jewish community anywhere – has rioted, burned any embassies, threatened beheadings or caused the cartoonists in question to go into perpetual hiding. And the silence in Canada's mainstream media has been deafening... and revealing.

Cross posted: Israel News   Israel Palestijnen Nieuwsblog

Soedanese Satire: "Israël ensceneert vluchtelingen crisis"

Sudanese 'humor': De vluchtelingen vertrekken niet omdat zij door de Janjaweed zijn verdreven of uit angst door hen verkracht en vermoord te worden, maar vanwege de propagandamachine van de Zionisten. Zitten ook overal achter, die Joden...
Het is verbluffend dat een Soedanese minister dit soort onzin openlijk durft te verkondigen, en men zich blijkbaar geen enkele zorgen maakt over hoe dit elders valt. Nou ja, Iran komt ook prima weg met Holocaust ontkenning, toch? En de grotendeels milde reactie van het Westen op de gruwelen van de afgelopen jaren is zeker bemoedigend. Bovendien is daar altijd nog Rusland als grote beschermheer, en dat heeft het nooit zo op de Joden gehad.

Ratna Pelle

Last update - 10:46 09/07/2007

Sudan: Israel staged refugee crisis to tarnish country's image

By Amiram Barkat and Mijal Grinberg, Haaretz Correspondents

Sudan's Interior Minister Al-Zubair Bashir Taha was quoted Monday as saying Israel is encouraging his country's citizens to emigrate to Israel to tarnish Khartoum's image.

Israel Radio reported Bashir Taha dubbed the refugee crisis a "melodrama" manufactured by Israel, and threatened legal action against expatriated citizens who attempted to enter Israel.

"It's not clear where they're trying to reach, whether they want to continue from Israel to Europe or America. They know nothing about Israel," he said.

He added that some 3,000 Sudanese nationals try to reach Israel annually, of which 30 percent originate from the restive Darfur region, 40 percent come the predominantly Christian south and the rest from the mountainous Nubian areas in the north.

Meanwhile, the Jewish Agency for Israel announced it would fund temporary housing for 70 African refugees after the Prime Minister's Office stated it would not pay for the asylum seekers welfare.

The PMO announced it would not lodge African refugees in hotels, dormitories, or temporary camps, in order to send a message that Israel is not willing to absorb them.

The PMO added that deportation to Egypt is the state's only solution for the African refugees and foreign workers that infiltrated from Egypt, even though some of them are refugees who fled persecution in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region.

According to the PMO, the deportation to Egypt has been delayed so far only because a full list of the refugees has not been compiled.

Earlier on Sunday, the PMO denied claims it had pledged to arrange and finance accommodations for Sudanese refugees who were bussed to Jerusalem from Be'er Sheva earlier in the day to protest the lack of government funding for the welfare of African asylum seekers.

Shortly after the 54 refugees arrived at the Wohl Rose Garden, across from the Knesset building, the government announced that it would transport the refugees back to Be'er Sheva and arrange accommodations for them, but only for one night. The Prime Minister's office later denied any such promises had been made.

The Be'er Sheva municipality, who had earlier bussed the refugees to Jerusalem for the protest, announced Sunday that it would transport the remaining 180 refugees still in Be'er Sheva to Jerusalem in the coming days saying it is no longer willing to bear the cost of their accommodations.

By providing accommodations in Be'er Sheva, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office has prevented refugee advocate organizations from setting up protest tents for the refugees across from the Knesset building, as was their intention.

The Prime Minister's Office and the Welfare Ministry had said Sunday that the refugees would be transferred to the "Beit Yatziv" guest house in Be'er Sheva. The refugees were put on buses heading for Be'er Sheva and the government pledged to pay for their accommodations for Sunday.

The prime minister's adviser on social and welfare affairs Vered Sued visited the refugees Sunday and promised to resolve their problem. According to activists present at the protest, they were promised that the prime minister's office would finance their transport to Be'er Sheva and their stay at the Beit Yatziv guest house. The Darfur refugee committee agreed to the transfer, despite the fact that no concrete solution had been found for them.

Once the refugees had gotten back on the busses and headed to Be'er Sheva, the Prime Minister's office denied having promised to finance the refugees' accommodations. It also became clear that the Prime Minister's Office had not coordinated the refugees' stay at the Beit Yatziv guest house, or at any other hotel in the city. Student activists are currently working to find accommodations for the refugees.

After many hours of waiting on a bus in Be'er Sheva, a temporary solution was found for the next few days. Shortly before midnight, the Jewish Agency agreed to house the refugees at a dormitory near the western Negev city of Sderot. They will be provided for during the next ten days, at the behest of the Prime Minister's office. Jewish Agency Chairman Ze'ev Bielsky said "this is a humanitarian act of helping people in need."

The IDF have deposited growing numbers of mostly Sudanese and Eritrean refugees it caught illegally infiltrating Israel's border from Egypt in various southern towns without assuming responsibility for their welfare.

On Friday, the army left 44 refugees by the entrance to Be'er Sheva's city hall, despite the municipality's announcement it would not absorb any additional illegal immigrants until the government pledges funds for their care.
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dinsdag 10 juli 2007

Olmert bereid tot directe gesprekken met Assad

Toeval? Een dag eerder stond in World Net Daily een artikel waarin een hoge Syrische ambtenaar onthulde dat Syrië zich niet alleen op oorlog met Israël voorbereid, maar deze ook wil starten als het voor september de Golan hoogvlakte niet terug heeft.

"If Israel doesn't vacate the strategic Golan Heights before September, Syrian guerrillas will immediately launch "resistance operations" against the Golan's Jewish communities, a top official from Syrian President Bashar Assad's Baath party told WND.

The Baath official, who spoke on condition his name be withheld, said Damascus is preparing for anticipated Israeli retaliation following Syrian guerrilla attacks and for a larger war with the Jewish state in August or September. He said in the opening salvo of any conflict, Syria has the capabilities of firing "hundreds" of missiles at Tel Aviv.

"Syria passed repeated messages to the U.S. that we demand the return of the Golan either through negotiations or through war. If the Golan is not in our hands by August or September, we will be poised to launch resistance, including raids and attacks against Jewish positions (in the Golan Heights)," the Baath official said.

The Baath official said a new purported guerrilla group called the Committees for the Liberation of the Golan Heights has been training and is ready to attacks against Jewish communities in the Golan in August or September."

Het is niet de eerste keer dat Syrië met oorlog dreigt, en ook niet de eerste keer dat dit door zowat iedereen behalve Israël wordt genegeerd. Volgens Israëlische experts moet de dreiging serieus genomen worden. Zou dat de oproep van Olmert aan Assad een dag later, in een interview op het Saoedische TV station Al Arabiya, hebben gemotiveerd? "Talking softly while carrying a big stick" is wellicht de beste strategie om erachter te komen of Syrië bereid is vrede in ruil voor de Golan te geven, en zo niet, goed voorbereid te zijn.

   Jul. 9, 2007 20:26 | Updated Jul. 10, 2007 1:37

Olmert to Assad: 'I am ready to hold direct talks with you'

'Come to Jerusalem to talk' was the message of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Syrian President Bashar Assad, in an historic interview to Saudi satellite station Al Arabiya, aired by Channel 10 Monday evening.

In his first appearance on a major Arabic news station in over six years, Olmert, speaking in an office adorned with the blue and white Israeli flag, told his Hebrew-speaking interviewer: "Bashar Assad, you know … You know I am ready to hold direct negotiations with you and you also know that it's you who insists on speaking to the Americans. The American president says: 'I don't want to stand between Bashar Assad and Ehud Olmert. If you want to talk, sit down and talk."
Assad has "heard many things from me already," Olmert added.

When asked where he would hold such talks with Assad, Olmert said "any place he [Assad] would agree to meet," hinting that Assad would even be welcome in Jerusalem.

Channel 10 analyst Zvi Yehezkeli remarked that Al Arabiya's broadcasts are transmitted following approval from the Saudi government. He added the network was planning to follow up on Olmert's interview with interviews with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas Damascus-based leader Khaled Mashaal and eventually, Assad himself.

Several weeks ago, during Olmert's visit to the US, American President George W. Bush, in Olmert's presence, was asked if he would mediate between Israel and Syria in an attempt to warm the truce the two countries observe since 1973 into a full-blooded peace treaty. Bush's response was that Olmert "is plenty capable" of achieving such a goal without US help. The Syria Accountability Act, isolating Syria as a state sponsor of terrorism, was passed during Bush's tenure. Despite visits to Damascus by house speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressmen earlier this year, Bush keeps contacts with Syria cool. However, the US still keeps an embassy in Damascus.
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Franse overheidssteun aan politieke NGO's

De Franse regering geeft miljoenen uit (o.a. van het budget van ontwikkelingsshulp) aan NGO's (Niet-Gouvernementele Organisaties) die op het Midden-Oosten zijn gericht. Hoewel dit tegen de richtlijnen van het eigen ministerie en de EU ingaat, wordt dit geld gebruikt voor campagnes tegen de bezetting, tegen de 'muur', voor het verbreken van alle contacten tussen de EU en Israël, voor een boycot van Israëlische producten, alsmede voor het zogenaamde 'recht op terugkeer' van alle Palestijnse vluchtelingen.
Ook in Nederland organiseren ICCO en Novib met overheidsgeld conferenties waar wordt opgeroepen geen vrede met de Zionisten te sluiten, en waar mensen als Abu Jahjah hun haat tegen Israël de vrije loop kunnen laten.

In Israël kun je bij het Alternative Information Center boekjes krijgen van het Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, met allerhande argumenten tegen Israël om in discussies te gebruiken. De leider van deze klup, Jeff Halper, heeft zich meermaals tegen Israëls bestaansrecht en een twee-statenoplossing uitgesproken. Het betreffende boekje is gefinancierd door de EU.
Vreemd dat er nog mensen zijn die menen dat Europa te pro-Israël is.... 

Ratna Pelle

French Government Funding of Political NGOs

Summary: The French government provides local and international NGOs with substantial financial support, in addition to its support for the Palestinian Authority.  Many of these NGOs, which claim to promote human rights, democracy, and development are in reality engaged in intense political advocacy campaigns directed against Israel, in contravention of French governmental funding guidelines. This report provides an overview of French funding mechanisms and NGO recipients in a method similar to previous NGO Monitor analyses of NGO funding by the European Union, Norway, UK, and Sweden

I. Background:  French Aid to the Palestinians

    • Institutional Structures
    • Budgets

II. French funding for Domestic NGOs

    • FIDH and the French League for Human Rights [1]
    • Platform of French NGOs for Palestine
    • Comite catholique contre la faim et pour le developpement  (CCDF)
    • Secours catholique – Caritas France
    • Coordination Sud

III. French Funding for International NGOs

    • Medecins sans frontieres
    • Medecins du monde
    • Association francaise de solidarite internationale
    • Palestinian Center for Human Rights

IV. Analysis and Conclusions

I. Background: French Aid to the Palestinians


Institutional Structures

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs oversees development aid and NGO assistance for the French government.  Direct oversight is handled by the Ministry's Directorate General for International Co-operation and Development (DGCID) .[2] The Mission for Non-Government Co-operation (MCNG), which reports directly to the DGCID, is the direct contact for NGOs, local authorities, and enterprises looking for French development co-operation funds.  The French Development Agency (AFD) implements and directs funding to NGOs for activities relating to health and education. 

Created in 1998 in order to "produce a significant effect and contribute to the harmonious development of institutions, society, and the economy" and to consolidate "the rule of law and democracy," the Priority Zone for Solidarity (ZSP) serves as an additional conduit for MFA development funds.  The ZSP framework was recently updated to include Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority.



In 2005, France devoted €8.1 billion to development co-operation.  Of this total, France's average annual contribution to the Palestinian Authority was approximately €25 million, plus the French share of EU aid to the PA, which overall amounted to €280 million in 2005 [3] .  In addition, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced a plan in 2005 to double its € 5.5 million contribution to the World Bank's fund for the PA. 

Separately, the French Government gave €1,500,000 in 2005 to the PA for "social development" through its Development Aid Fund.  This money, given over a period of 48 months, was directly channeled to Palestinian civil society in supporting 29 projects of Palestinian NGOs and 9 projects of Palestinian municipalities.  The names of the NGOs that received these funds are not available on the French government website, reflecting a lack of transparency. [4]

In addition, the French Consulate in Jerusalem lists projects supported by the Social Development Fund in 2006 - 2008. (1) a water project in Qabatya, (2) financing of agriculture near Jéricho, (3) development of the Palestinian Farmers Union, (4) different activities in three refugees camps, and (5) three cultural projects.  (The NGOs involved in these projects and supported by the SFD –are not listed on the website of the French Consulate in Jerusalem.) [5]

The MFA's office for non-governmental cooperation has co-financed more than 600 projects at a cost of €50 million (282 by NGOs and 323 by local authorities), and enabled 2,000 volunteers to travel abroad to work for different NGOs.  Annually, the MFA provides €9.2 million in international aid under a program called the Humanitarian Emergency Fund (FUH) and in 2003 the FUH provided the PA €3,025,000 through the International Red Cross and an anonymous Palestinian medical NGO [6].  In 2005, the PA received €653,534  from the FUH.


II. French Funding for Domestic NGOs

Some twenty French NGOs are involved in development or emergency projects in the PA. Some are supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and have a very close relationship with elements of Palestinian civil society.

As will be shown below, while some MFA aid is used for development and humanitarian assistance, significant funding goes to NGOs engaged in clear anti-Israel advocacy.  Such activity contradicts the stated goal of the French Government to "promote peace, security, [and] stability," "prevent conflicts," "promote public order in the Territories in respect of the law,"  and to help "respect human rights and fundamental freedoms."


International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and League of Human Rights (LDH)

Founded in 1922, FIDH [7] comprises 140 human rights organizations from 100 different countries.  FIDH and its related networks define themselves as non-partisan, non-confessional, and independent of any government, seeking to defend human, cultural, civil, political and economic rights. The primary mission of FIDH is to denounce violations of human rights and alert the international community.

In 2003, the French Government gave FIDH €1,720,000 over a period of 36 months for work involving "democracy and human rights." [8]

Despite some valuable projects documenting intra-Palestinian human rights abuses, FIDH routinely omits the context of terrorism and exploits and distorts international legal terminology from its reports on Israel and in its advocacy in international forums such as the UN.  A recent example of FIDH's politicized approach is an article published in October 2006 entitled "Asphyxiating the Palestinian State, punishing its people; the impact of the economic asphyxiation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories on human rights."  The unnecessarily emotive language employed by FIDH in this title and throughout the report betrays the organization's self-proclaimed "non-partisanship" and invites questions about its continued funding from the MFA [9].

The League of Human Rights (LDH), one of the most important members of FIDH, claims to be "fighting against every form of violation of human rights, in all the fields of civilian, political and social life."However, the LDH provides frequent one-sided condemnations of Israeli responses to terror and is active in publicizing calls for political action to be taken against Israel, in direct contradiction of EU funding guidelines.
In November 2006, two members of the LDH executive committee left the organization, linking their resignations to numerous examples of bias and a consistent failure to speak out against certain human rights violations, including those committed against Israeli civilians. According to the former officials, the LDH often makes one-sided condemnations of Israel, "but forgot the Israeli civilian victims of bombardment." They also commented that the LDH says "almost anything concerning Darfur or Chechnya, and keeps silent in face of the anti-Semitic speeches and Holocaust denial of the Iranian president."

On November 9, 2006, LDH published an article entitled "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict:  massacre in Gaza," which condemns Israel for "war crimes" and accuses Israel of a "veritable strategy of terror that includes the economic asphyxia of Gaza and the West Bank."  The article asserts that the Israeli Government refuses any peaceful solutions, instead choosing to use "indiscriminate force". Finally, LDH demands that "the French authorities qualify as it deserves the Israeli operations against the civilian Palestinian population and, as requested by the Palestinian President, to refer the matter to the Security Council as soon as possible."[10]

LDH's selective use of emotive terminology such as "war crimes," "collective punishment," and "violations of international law" when referring to Israel reflects the NGO's political and ideological bias.  Not only does the subjective application of these terms constitute a violation of LDH's mandate as a French government funded human rights network, but is evidence of the NGO's prevailing double standards.  


Platform of French NGOs for Palestine

One of the biggest and most highly regarded of France's humanitarian and development NGOs is the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine [11] (the Platform). Created in 1994, the Platform has 40 member associations and claims to work for the defense of human rights, as well as awareness and exchange between different French, Palestinian and Israeli actors.  Members of the platform include LDH, Amnesty International, Handicap International, Médecins du Monde, Caritas France as well as the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) and the Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network (PENGON).  The Platform also maintains ties with the politicized NGOs Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and Ittijah

Supported financially by the French MFA, the Platform organizes campaigns against the "Wall" and the "Occupation," also publishing a variety of booklets on Palestinian refugees and the right of return. While condemning Israeli defensive actions, the Platform fails to call for an end to Palestinian violence or for the dismantling of terrorist organizations. 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 [12].  

In a web document from July 21, 2006 entitled "Special Israeli attacks in Lebanon and in the Gaza Strip," [13] the Platform provides a list of articles condemning "Israel's war crimes against Lebanon and Gaza,"  On June 10, 2007, the Platform organized an "International Day for a fair peace between Palestinians and Israelis," in which it repeatedly condemned "40 years of the occupation of the Palestinian territories" and declared "that the world says 'NO' to the Israeli occupation." [14] These activities omitted the context of Palestinian terrorism, factional infighting, and corruption.

Another document of the Platform, entitled "Elections 2007:  The position of the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine," [15] calls for sanctions against Israel, Israeli respect of international law, the recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of the PA, and the destruction of the "Wall."  Additionally, the document states that the "cycle of violence imposed by Israel since the election of the Hamas…requests action by the International Community."

As a result of the Platform's repeated one-sided advocacy, French Senator Roger Karoutchi informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that "a certain number of MFA-supported associations [i.e. the Platform] under the cover of 'NGO' are in reality involved in political activities against the 'Wall' and in support of boycotts against Israel." [16] During a 2005 interview with then Minister of Foreign Affairs Philippe Douste-Blazy on this topic, Senator Karoutchi asked a number of questions concerning continued French funding of the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine. In response, Douste Blazy stated that "...the Platform of French NGOs makes useful work of coordination of part of non governmental French aid to Palestinian  and to Palestinian associations" also stating that "the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not finance any political activity of any other association." [17] (Karoutchi is a member of newly elected President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party.)


Comite Catholique Contre La Faim Et Pour Le Developpement (CCFD)

Describing itself as the first French NGO focused on international development issues, the CCFD is composed of 28 movements and church groups. A recipient of €1,072,615.08 from the French Government in 2003, the CCFD supports projects in different countries where the "population faces intolerable situations"and "focuses on stopping the denial of the Other." [18]

However, the CCFD's response to the 2006 Lebanon war clearly demonstrates the politicized stance this NGO adopts with respect to the Arab-Israeli conflict.   During the war, CCFD chose to focus exclusively on Israeli actions, virtually ignoring the numerous internally displaced citizens in Israel and Hezbollah's deliberate targeting of civilians.  The emotive language of the following titles indicates CCFD's bias: August 12, "Lebanon under the bombs;" August 5, "Ravaged Lebanon, fragile Lebanon and fearsome projects;" August 3, "Days of darkness;" August 1, "Lebanon, let's pray for Peace and Justice;" July 27, 2006, "Lebanon, if an  immediate end of hostilities is possible, it is then a duty;" July 27, 2006 "Middle East: let's stop violence, fear and hate;" July 19, Lebanon-Gaza, "The two faces of a same war;" July 15, 2006, "The real aim of the war in Lebanon;" July 15, 2006, "Hostage taking, Lebanese arrested in Israel and Israeli strikes in Lebanon;" July 13, Peace in the Middle East, "Stop violence, protect civilians and ending warring speeches."


Secours Catho lique - Caritas France

Founded in 1987, Caritas International [19] is "a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development, and social service organizations working to build a better world, especially for the poor and oppressed, in over 200 countries and territories."  Caritas pledges "to steward those resources entrusted to us in an efficient and effective manner, being aware that we have an obligation to behave at all times in a transparent and accountable way - to the poor, to the Church and to one another."  Secours Catholique is the French branch of Caritas.

With an annual budget of €30 to €35 million, Secours Catholique gets 10 % from public sources, receiving €1,834,790.02 from the French Government in 2003.[20]  Described as a "national partner" on the MFA's website on issues of emergency aid, Secours Catholique liaises with the highly politicized Platform of French NGOs for Palestine and supports international campaigns against Israel's separation barrier.  The NGO organized a petition against "the Wall" and stated that "the Israeli government has ignored the request of the United Nations to demolish the Wall…develops colonization, [and] plans the annexation of new land, all in violation of international law."  


Coordination Sud

Since its creation in 1994, Coordination SUD [21]has amassed a membership of roughly one hundred NGOs, including the politicized CCFD and Care France.  Coordination SUD has two central missions: (1) helping French NGOs to be more involved in international debates through better work with French public authorities and (2) strengthening French NGOs and facilitating their access to funding.  In 2003, Coordination SUD received 423,300 euros for "public development" from the MFA. [22]

In November 2006, Coordination SUD published an article called "Stop the massacre of the Palestinian people," which stated that "the brutality of Israeli aggression against Lebanon has traumatized the international community." The article also described Gaza "as a real prison where the inhabitants are always under a pitiless blockade and ceaseless raids of the Israelis." Also in November 2006, Coordination SUD published an article called "Massacre in Gaza," which discussed the "disproportionality of Israeli attacks" and the "strategy of asphyxiating Gaza."[23]


III. French Funding for International NGOs

In addition to the mainly French-language NGOs it funds, the MFA provides significant financial support to France-based organizations with strong international mandates.  Furthermore, the MFA's website indicates clearly the close relationship it has with politicized Palestinian NGOs such as the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.


Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) [24]

Founded in 1971, MSF is an international humanitarian aid organization that "offers assistance to populations in distress, to victims of natural or man-made disasters and to victims of armed conflict, without discrimination and irrespective of race, religion, creed or political affiliation."

MSF's financial reports reveal that the NGO received large amounts from the French government in 2004 and 2005 respectively.  In addition, MSF received €30 million in 2004 and €24 million in 2005 from French municipalities and regional councils.  [25]

MSF is active in working with Palestinian children in different areas.  However, MSF officials sometimes depart from their humanitarian aid mandate by using highly politicized and biased language, such as "the violence of Israeli occupation," "the daily humiliation," "the fear of reprisal by the Israeli army and the Jewish settlers."


Medecins du Monde (MdM) [26]

MdM is a humanitarian medical NGO founded in 1986, with the motto "There are no right or wrong victims."  Funded by the MFA, MdM's 2005 budget was nearly €40 million, 72% of which came from private sources. 

Holding observer status with the biased Platform of French NGOs for Palestine, MdM often ignores the context of terror and makes claims that lack credibility, as previously demonstrated by NGO Monitor.  In December 2006, MdM published a report "Gaza Strip/ Impact of the international embargo and of the attacks of the Israeli army on the health of the population," which provides a clear indication of the organization's bias.  MdM's report chronicles the psychologically traumatic impact on the Palestinian population due to the occupation, the sonic booms, and Israeli attacks, but fails to mention the effects of terrorism on the Israeli people.[27]

Additionally, MdM joined 21 other politicized NGOs including Christian Aid, Oxfam, and World Vision Jerusalem, in signing a statement "expressing…alarm at the continuing construction of the Wall in occupied Palestinian territory and the misery it is causing the Palestinian people."  The statement included emotive descriptions of the security barrier, the "irreparable damage to the economy and living standards of Palestinians" and the "irreversible trends to the social fabric of the West Bank."  However, the statement made no mention of the separation barrier's role in preventing terrorist attacks or of Hamas-led PA's continued refusal to renounce violence or recognize Israel.  


Funding Palestinian NGOs

The MFA's direct relationship with Palestinian NGOs can be best illustrated by a statement on the MFA's website indicating that the expertise of the biased Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) "will be systematically requested to adapt the strategy of the Social Funds of Development to the changing needs of Palestinian society." (link has expired)  As previously documented by NGO Monitor, PNGO, composed of 92 Palestinian NGOs, was an active participant in the 2001 Durban conference, which called for boycotts and embargoes of Israel and has utilized Holocaust imagery in criticizing Israeli military actions.   

By funding NGOs that promote radical anti-Israel political positions, rather than structural change within the Palestinian framework, the MFA undermines its humanitarian goals.  In addition to the close relationship between the MFA and PNGO, the politicized Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) is supported financially by the MFA through the General Consulate of France in Jerusalem, having received $78,460 in 2004.  PCHR was founded in 1995 as "an independent legal body based in Gaza City dedicated to protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law, and upholding democratic principles in the Occupied Palestinian Territories."  While PCHR is active in criticizing the Palestinian Authority's failure to protect human rights, NGO Monitor reports have demonstrated the extent of PCHR's political activities and propagation of an anti-Israel agenda in the media and international organizations. In its publications, PCHR routinely accuses Israel of committing war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and collective punishment, while also actively participating in boycott and divestment campaigns against Israel.


IV. Analysis and Conclusion

By supporting numerous NGOs engaged in vigorous anti-Israel advocacy, the government of France contravenes its stated goals of seeking to  "promote peace, security, [and] stability," "prevent conflicts," "promote public order in the Territories in respect of the law," and to help "respect human rights and fundamental freedoms."  Many NGOs supported by the MFA actively contribute to the Durban Strategy of demonizing Israel by taking an active role in boycott and divestment campaigns and manipulating human rights rhetoric. 

The French government should seek greater accountability of the NGO recipients of MFA development funds to ensure that its NGO partners are utilizing their funding in conjunction with the aims of the MFA.  The creation of new guidelines to prevent misuse of French governmental funds would help to remedy this situation.   



17. Complete text in French:


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