What House of Rothschild didn’t anticipate seventy years on.
France has honored Al-Haq and B’Tselem with the prestigious Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.
This came despite heavy pressure from Israel on the French government to pull the award from the two groups which document Israeli war crimes and abuses against Palestinians.
French justice minister Nicole Belloubet did however give in to the pressure and refused to attend the award ceremony in Paris last Monday.
The French Israel lobby group CRIF wrote to Belloubet alleging that the two winners “call for the boycott of Israel,” and claimed that for the French justice ministry to give them the award “even in the absence of the minister, is insulting justice.”
In his acceptance speech, B’Tselem executive director Hagai El-Ad characterized the Israeli government’s response as “hysterical.”
El-Ad said that Israel’s attempt to pressure French officials “illustrates the reality within which we work: propaganda, lies, and threats by a government which believes that silencing and coverup will enable further human rights violations.”
Al-Haq director Shawan Jabarin told The Electronic Intifada that the award is a recognition his group’s work at a time when the organization is being targeted by Israeli smear campaigns.
The 10 December award ceremony coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
Israel reacted with fury to the announcement that France was giving the prestigious prize to the two groups.
“France gives its highest award to B’Tselem and Al-Haq, organizations that accuse Israel of apartheid, delegitimize us internationally, defend terror and support BDS,” Michael Oren, Israel’s deputy minister for diplomacy, claimed
BDS stands for boycott, divestment and sanctions – a nonviolent Palestinian-led campaign to hold Israel accountable for violating Palestinian rights, modeled on the successful international solidarity movement that helped end apartheid in South Africa.
Israel’s embassy in France tweeted it was “shocked” at the award and alleged that Al-Haq is linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a political party and resistance organization Israel deems a “terrorist” group.