The Israeli lobby in France has led a fierce smearing and incitement campaign against the Palestinian representative of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Mariam Abu Daqqa, over her participation in an anti-Apartheid conference.
The incident stirred after Palestine 69 group and student solidarity invited Mariam Abu Daqqa to attend and participate in a joint conference highlighting “Israeli Settlements and Apartheid, which Future is for Palestinians?”, which will be convened in the Lumière University Lyon 2.
Despite that the University Lyon 2 has already approved convening such pro-Palestine events on its campus of multiracial groups and permitted Mariam’s participation in a statement showing that “the invited person is not subject to any legal procedure or ban from entering French lands”, the University, however, demanded the conference organizers retract Mariam’s invitation.
University Lyon 2 did so after facing pressure from the Israeli lobby in France and the Jewish groups in the University, which have persistently played on halting anti-colonialism activism and inciting against pro-Palestine activists and participators in such events.
The French newspaper “Le Figaro” has also joined a wave of incitement against Abu Daqqa’s participation, saying that inviting a representative of a Palestinian organization considered “terrorist” by the European Union to participate in University Lyon 2 is controversial.
The newspaper further claimed that several elected officials from the French Republican Party voiced a complaint urging the French Minister of Higher Education, Sylvie Retailleau, to ban the event where Mariam Abu Daqqa is participating.
In a press statement, the officials added, “We cannot say that we are fighting anti-Semitism and terrorism while accepting that our publicly funded university, financed by our taxes, provides a platform for a representative of a terrorist organization.”
“Inviting such a person is a shocking provocation that goes beyond the Jewish community. It is outrageous and an abuse of the university’s reputation,” claimed the deputy for the Ninth District of the Rhône.
In this regard, Richard Zalmati, the Head of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF), called upon the Governor of Rhône, Fabien Bouchy, and the President of the Regional Council of Laurent Wauquiez to hasten the cancellation of Mariam Abu Daqqa’s visit, condemning that “It is inappropriate to discuss this title with this person and having her as a key guest within the university.”
In response, the Palestine 69 group denied that Abu Daqqa’s invitation could bring “any harm to the Jewish community”, reaffirming that it is “necessary for the residents of Lyon to hear this voice that Israeli apartheid seeks to silence.”
‘Israel’ has spared no effort to criminalize Palestinian activists as well as organizations and accused them of affiliation to “terrorist groups”. Two years ago, the Israeli occupation designated six Palestinian human rights groups as terrorist organizations, alleging that they were a front for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the faction Marriam Abu Daqqa belonged to and advocated for. This faction is a small, left-wing movement with both a political party and an armed faction that has resisted the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Israeli lobby as an extension of th Israeli agenda inside Palestine has been leading campaigns against Palestinians, pro-Palestine activists, concerts, and cultural and intellectual activities, resulting in the downfall of many. Some months ago, Dr. Rabab Abdul Hadi, a professor at San Francisco University, had her course, the sole University course spotting light on Palestine, deleted after a long record of incitement from the Israeli lobby.