Home News French court overturns ban on Israeli companies from arms exhibition

French court overturns ban on Israeli companies from arms exhibition


A Paris court ruled on Tuesday that France’s decision to ban Israeli companies from participating in one of the world’s largest arms exhibitions was discriminatory and ordered the ban to be rescinded.

Israeli representatives were not present at Eurodefense, a defense and arms industry exhibition held every two years northeast of Paris, when it opened on Monday. Organizers rescinded the invitation on orders from the French government because of Israel’s military offensive on Gaza.

The legal challenge follows the government’s decision, which was made last month. Israeli strikes kill dozens of Palestinians in Rafah tent campA memorial to the jihadists in southern Gaza. French President Emmanuel Macron said at the time he was “outraged” by the attack and declared that such Israeli actions “must stop.”

A few days later, the French Ministry of Defense said that “current conditions are no longer suitable for hosting Israeli companies” and “the French president is calling on Israel to end its military operations in Rafah.”

The company that organizes the Eurosatory International Defense Exhibition, COGES Events (a subsidiary of the French defense and security industry association), banned Israeli companies from setting up booths at the show and removed references to them from its website.

More than 2,000 exhibitors from more than 60 countries attended the European Defense Exhibition, where military and security officials from around the world interacted with manufacturers who displayed drones, missiles and other weapons and technologies.

But the Paris Commercial Court ruled on Tuesday that the ban was unlawful and ordered COGES Events to reinstate Israeli companies, saying the ban unfairly discriminated against Israeli exhibitors.

It was not immediately clear whether the companies would resume exhibiting before the show closes on Friday. Representatives for COGES Events and the French Ministry of Defense did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Council of Representatives of Jewish Institutions in France, one of the country’s largest Jewish advocacy groups, welcomed the ruling. “Reason has prevailed once again,” the group, known by its French acronym CRIF, said in a statement. statement On X.

Other lawsuits are still pending against France’s decision to exclude Israeli companies from the fair.

Some pro-Palestinian groups filed a lawsuit claiming COGES Events needed to take further steps to comply with the ban, saying some Israeli companies could be supplying weapons to Israeli forces fighting in Gaza. A court in Bobigny, a suburb north of Paris, agreed, ruling last week that the arms show organizers must ban not only Israeli companies but also anyone acting as an intermediary or representative for Israeli companies, and must ensure that no exhibitor receives, sells or promotes Israeli weapons.

The French Palestine Solidarity Association, one of the groups that filed the lawsuit, welcomed the ruling and said in a statement: statement “It is the responsibility of all political and economic actors to do their utmost to stop the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people by the State of Israel.”

COGES Events, backed by French authorities, appealed the ruling, saying it went far beyond the government’s initial demands. The Paris Court of Appeal heard the appeal on Tuesday.

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