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France prohibits Israel from participating in arms fair due to alleged pressure from group with terrorist links

Eurosatory 2024 began without Israeli companies present after a court expanded the controversial decision made by the French government. An NGO claims that an organization linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is behind the ban.

Eurosatory (AFP)

A visitor walks past a military truck equipped with a Cesar canon and a Nexter Systems Leclerc tank at the Eurosatory international land, air defence and security trade fair, in Villepinte, a northern suburb of Paris, on June 17, 2024. (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP)

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Arms fair Eurosatory began Monday in Paris, France, without the presence of Israeli military industry companies after the imposed by the French government at the end of May due to the war in Gaza, and after a French court in the municipality of Bobigny also banned any citizen of Israel who can act as an intermediary from participating in the event. Likewise, a court prohibited exhibitors from promoting Israeli weapons or speaking with representatives of the Jewish state, reported Le Parisien.

The company Coges, organizer of the event that will take place until Friday, June 21, expressed in a statement its disapproval of the ruling and stated that it will appeal.

As reported by the Israeli outlet Kan, a group of French inspectors demanded that the people in charge of the American stand cover the Israeli products that are integrated into the weapons systems on display.

NGO claims an organization with terrorist links is behind the ban

NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based organization that reports on international NGO activity, stated that the court decision to ban Israelis from attending the defense exhibition Eurosatory came about following a request from Al-Haq, a group dedicated to “legal warfare” against Israel.

NGO Monitor added that Al-Haq has increased its attacks against Israel since the Oct. 7 massacre. In addition, it stressed that Shawan Jabarin, general director of the group, has been linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), an organization designated as terrorist by the United States, the European Union, Canada and Israel.

For more than a decade, continued NGO Monitor, Al-Haq has been pressuring the International Criminal Court to punish Israel, and on May 20, the court's prosecutor Karim Khan arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

'Another page in the black book of the isolation of Israel and the Jews'

Journalist Alejo Schapire took aim at the French government and justice system for the ban against Israelis, pointing out that “France prohibited access to the 74 Israeli companies, employees and intermediaries due to the war in Gaza,” but “China, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia will have no problems buying and selling [arms]."

Entrepreneur and influencer Dr. Eli David suggested on X that it is an antisemitic decision. “Old habits die hard. ... The French Police arrested all the Jews of Paris and deported them to their deaths in 1942," he said.

In statements reported by Kan, French Jewish intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy also expressed his outrage at the decision. "China, Kazakhstan, Turkey or any African dictatorship can come and close 'agreements,' but not Israel. It is a shame for the French justice system. Another page in the black book of the isolation of Israel and the Jews.”