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January 15, 2017 3:25 pm

Watchdog: French Government’s Funding of Groups With Alleged Links to Palestinian Terrorists Highlights Hypocrisy of Mideast Peace Summit It Hosted

avatar by Ruthie Blum

French President François Hollande. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

French President François Hollande. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The head of a Jerusalem-based organization that documents the activity and funding of non-governmental human rights groups explained to The Algemeiner on Sunday – at the close of the Mideast peace conference held in Paris – why he released a report ahead of the summit revealing the French government’s support for NGOs that promote anti-Israel BDS efforts and have alleged ties to terrorists.

Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president and founder of the research institute NGO Monitor, said that though France is not the only country whose “hypocrisy” at hosting a peace conference was worthy of highlighting – since Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, the European Union and others are just as deserving of scrutiny – “Its hosting of the event, while supporting some of the most immoral and viciously anti-Israel and anti-peace organizations,” made it the most urgent to expose.

The report, released Tuesday, revealed that:

The French government funds numerous French, Israeli, and Palestinian organizations that support and promote BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel, despite the fact that such boycotts are illegal under French law.

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The Platform of French NGOs for Palestine (The Platform) is one such grantee. One of the Platform’s government-funded projects is explicitly geared towards influencing elected officials, media, and public opinion regarding the conflict – an obvious abuse of taxpayer money. The Platform supports boycott campaigns targeting Israel and partners with organizations instrumental in BDS efforts.

France directly and indirectly funds several other NGOs with alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group.

The summit, said Steinberg, was “the last and only hope for French President François Hollande and his government to claim some diplomatic accomplishment. Yet his words condemning terrorism” — saying that it and Israeli settlements are the obstacles to a two-state solution — “stand in sharp contrast to his behavior.”

Even giving Hollande the benefit of the doubt and considering the phenomenon “at best to be a failure of due diligence, with low-level pro-Palestinian officials recommending funds for ‘human rights’ groups that are actually fronts for hostile and sometimes violent entities, and bureaucrats at higher levels rubber-stamping them — this means that there is apparently no independent evaluation and no parliamentary oversight,” Steinberg said.

Asked about French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s warning at the summit against moving the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — as US President-elect Donald Trump’s team has suggested is a genuine possibility — Steinberg said: “The threats of violence related to reports regarding recognition of Jerusalem and other policy moves demonstrate the close coordination between French NGOs and the Palestinian anti-peace leadership. The campaigns led by the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine and International Federation of Human Rights are central pillars in anti-Israel demonization, paid for by French taxpayers, behind their backs. The Paris conference brought this coordination to the forefront.”

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