French voices for peace often suppressed

IssueFebruary - March 2024
19 Nov, Paris: 20,000+ people take part in a silent march for peace in Gaza and unity in France. It had no slogans and only a white placard and a large white banner at the front, ‘taking no sides’ except for peace. PHOTO: SOS Racisme via Twitter
News by Marc Morgan

One worrying trend even more prevalent in France than elsewhere is the stifling of open public discourse about the situation of the Palestinians, and restrictions placed on the freedom of expression of pro-Palestinian voices and movements.

Even before 7 October, public meetings on Israel-Palestine have been prohibited by the relevant authorities (local boroughs, or departmental Préfets) on dubious public-order grounds.

Since 7 October, the trend has got worse: several pro-Palestinian demonstrations, and many public meetings to debate the rights of Palestinians, have been banned.

Meetings, even on strictly nonviolent themes seeking a solution to the conflict, by leading Palestinian and Israeli human rights activists, have been cancelled at short notice, .

Meetings on ‘Creating the conditions of peace in the Middle East’ have been banned as being incitements to public disorder.

Perrine Olff, of the Collectif Judéo-Arabe et Citoyen pour la Palestine de Strasbourg, faces charges for having organised a peaceful demonstration in support of Gazans in Strasburg.

A meeting with Judith Butler of Jewish Voice for Peace has been banned by the mayor of Paris.

The list goes on….