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Backlash follows France honoring anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian groups

“Why is there no reference to the human rights of Israelis, who suffer from unceasing terrorism? This prize pushes peace further off and is a mark of Cain on the forehead of the French Republic,” said French parliament member Meir Habib.

B’Tselem co-founder the late Amnon Kapeliouk, an Israeli journalist and author, known for his close ties to PLO head Yasser Arafat. Credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90.
B’Tselem co-founder the late Amnon Kapeliouk, an Israeli journalist and author, known for his close ties to PLO head Yasser Arafat. Credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90.

France decided to award its prestigious Human Rights Prize for 2018 to the controversial Israeli watchdog group B’Tselem and to Palestinian group Al-Haq, which supports total boycott and isolation of Israel internationally, drawing broad condemnation and outrage.

Several members of Al-Haq are reportedly linked to the Palestinian terrorist group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. B’Tselem, meanwhile, states that its goal is document Israeli misdeeds and crimes against Palestinians and expose these globally. Many in Israel accuse the group of being anti-Israel and fabricating claims.

The prize will be awarded in Paris on Dec. 10 by French Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet and head of France’s National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, Christine Lazerges. The ceremony is timed to coincide with International Human Rights Day.

French parliament member Meir Habib criticized the decision.

“I am once again astonished at France’s obsession with what it defines as the ‘occupation.’ We French are once again opting to see a perverted version of reality. How is it possible to give a ‘human rights’ prize to organizations that treat terrorists like freedom fighters?” said Habib.

“Why is there no reference to the human rights of Israelis, who suffer from unceasing terrorism? This prize pushes peace further off and is a mark of Cain on the forehead of the French Republic,” he said.

Israel’s Culture Minister Miri Regev remarked that “this is not a prize; it’s a mark of Cain, and it officially characterizes B’Tselem’s activity as anti-Israeli.”

In a statement published Wednesday, B’Tselem said that this year’s prize was being “awarded to organizations that are being harassed or pressured for defending and promoting human rights.”

“We at B’Tselem and Al-Haq share the same values and the same realization: that only by ending the occupation can there be a future based on human rights, equality and liberty,” said the statement.

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