Solidarité avec Gaza

October 21, 2014

In July, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Europe to ban all pro-Palestine protests while his government carried out a military onslaught against Gaza--and the French government obliged. A number of left-wing French organizations defied the ban and organized solidarity protests, as tens of thousands of people poured into the streets around the world to protest the targeting of Palestinian civilians and infrastructure.

One of the groups that took the lead in defying France's ban on solidarity protests was the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA). The NPA has issued a call for solidarity as one of its members--Alain Pojolat--faces charges in court on October 22 for exercising the right to protest. Here, we publish the text of the NPA's petition.

THIS SUMMER, the Israeli state led a new murderous offensive against the Gaza Strip. The 50-day balance sheet of bombardments and land operations is illuminating: nearly 2,200 dead, 11,000 wounded, tens of thousands of buildings completely or partly destroyed, more than 500,000 (30 percent of the population) displaced, and so on.

Revolted by these attacks and by the position of the French authorities who in the first days of the offensive declared their support for the Israeli state before trying in vain to readjust their aim by timidly denouncing the violence of the bombardments, tens of thousands of people demonstrated often in many towns of France.

The Hollande-Valls government, concerned not to annoy the Israeli government and anxiously noting the growth of the mobilization despite the summer period, then undertook to attack it frontally. It did not hesitate to make scandalous amalgams and to imply that solidarity with the Palestinians implied anti-Semitism. Then, as that was not enough, the authorities decided to ban certain demonstrations, in particular in Paris.

Protesters in Lille defy a ban on demonstrations in solidarity with Gaza
Protesters in Lille defy a ban on demonstrations in solidarity with Gaza (Alex Proimos)

We were many protesting against these bans, which were a serious blow, in the name of wrong reasoning, to elementary rights and fundamental freedoms. We were all the more revolted to learn that Alain Pojolat, member of the NPA, who was in contact on behalf of many organizations with the Prefecture [police authority] for the Parisian demonstrations, has been summoned to court on October 22 under the pretext of having organized "illegal demonstrations".

We demand that the charges against Alain Pojolat be dropped immediately: to demonstrate is a right and even in certain circumstances a duty, and it is scandalous that anyone can be condemned for having wanted to exercise this right.

We ask moreover that charges against those who took part in or organized the demonstrations this summer--or who are involved in the Israeli boycott campaign--are dropped, and demand the withdrawal of the Alliot-Marie circular, which criminalizes the boycott.

Solidarity is a right, not a crime!

First published at International Viewpoint--click here to view the first 200 signatories to the petition.

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