Appeal to overturn ban of Israeli companies at Eurosatory expo successful

CTech spoke with Israel-France Chamber of Commerce & Industry Chairman Julien Roitman about the successful appeal by their sister organization, the France Israel Chamber of Commerce, to overturn the recent decision by a French judge to ban Israeli delegates or employees of Israeli companies at the Eurosatory arms expo this week.

The France Israel Chamber of Commerce has successfully appealed the ban on Israeli delegates and employees of Israeli companies from attending the Eurosatory defense expo in France this week, following a decision issued by a French district court in Bobigny just five days before the expo was set to begin. The decision was issued after the French Defense Ministry banned the participation of 74 Israeli defense companies at Eurosatory last month, provoking an intense reaction from Israeli and Jewish organizations.
“I am happy that justice has finally triumphed. It’s good for Israel, but no less for France,” Julien Roitman, the Tel Aviv-based Chairman of the Israel-France Chamber of Commerce, the sister organization of the group which launched the appeal, told CTech.

נשיא צרפת עמנואל מקרון מבקר בתערוכת הנשק Eurosatory בפריז לפני שנתיים

President Emmanuel Macron at Eurosatory.
(Credit: Ludovic Marin/AP)
However, with the expo already underway, much of the damage has been done and, despite the appeal, Roitman is concerned about the wider implications that such a boycott of Israeli companies will have beyond Eurosatory. “It sets a precedent. France is supposed to be a friend, not just an ally, of Israel. If an ally decides to boycott Israel and throw them out, imagine countries who are not friends or allies?”
The last decision was issued after 50 NGOs led by Palestinian NGO Al-Haq petitioned a French court to ban the presence of Israeli delegates or employees of Israeli companies at the arms show. Relations between Israel and France have been tense in recent months over Israel’s war in Gaza, especially with the IDF’s operations in Rafah. By the time that the first ban was issued in May, many of the Israeli companies, including Elbit Systems and the Israeli Aerospace Industry, had already sent their delegations and exhibits to France. Even defense ministry officials were barred from participating, which is typical procedure for hostile states such as North Korea or Russia, but unprecedented for an allied country.
The ban on employees of Israeli companies included non-Israeli employees employed by Israeli firms, while Israelis working for non-Israeli firms were permitted to enter. The Eurosatory exhibit began on Monday and already there were reports of Israeli delegates, many of whom had already purchased their tickets and were in France when the judgment was issued, being turned away by security at the entrance. In accordance with the judgment, the entrances must legally have large signs saying that Israeli companies and their employees are banned from entry. A document was also presented upon entry requiring Israelis, including journalists, to sign a form declaring that they did not work for an Israeli defense company. A Reshet Bet journalist said she was held for four hours before being admitted.
“This reminds us of very bad times eighty years ago – of places that were forbidden to Jews and to dogs,” said Roitman.“It is totally discriminatory according to French law. I don’t know any other example of such discrimination against other peoples. Such expos are supposed to be neutral places – I’ve never seen for example Russian or Chinese delegates or anyone else banned based on their company’s nationality.”
‘A capitulation by the French government’
In response to the latest judgment, even the organizers of Eurosatory sought to appeal the decision. Coges Events, the organizers, sent a letter to participants on June 15 stating that, “We consider that this decision goes beyond the government’s decision taken two weeks ago to ban the presence of Israeli company stands at Eurosatory in the current context.” They added that they were “using the quickest possible legal procedures to appeal these decisions.”
The bans elicited strong reactions from Israeli groups as well as Jewish organizations in France, with several appealing the decision and petitioning the French Supreme Court. Henri Cuikerman, the president of the France Israel Chamber of Commerce, which launched the successful appeal, said earlier of the ban that, “While the French authorities recognize a country’s legitimate right to defend itself and assure their commitment to fighting antisemitism in France, their decision to exclude Israeli companies from the Eurosatory exhibition is incomprehensible, especially within the defense industries.
“France has just excluded the most modern and interesting of them in the eyes of specialists, the one capable, for the first time in the world, of facing nearly 45,000 terrorists hidden in an exceptional network of tunnels and simultaneously resisting a massive attack of Iranian drones and missiles. We consider the decision of the French authorities to be a mistake and suggest that it be corrected.”
Founded in 1957, the Israel-France Chamber of Commerce & Industries (CCIIF) is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting bilateral trade, investment and trade relations between Israel and France.


The letter sent by Eurosatory organizer Coges Events to delegates following the judgment.
(Credit: CCIF)
The Manufacturers’ Association of Israeli (MAI) also led an appeal of the judgment. MIA president Dr. Ron Tomer, who led a delegation of French and Israeli businessmen to meet with the French ambassador to Israel, Frédéric Journès, to express their concerns about the ban, said in a statement, « The moment we heard about the terrible decision to ban the participation of Israelis in the Eurosatory exhibition in Paris, it was clear to us that we must act with every public and legal means at our disposal to halt the decision. It’s inconceivable that in 2024 – more than 80 years after the end of World War II – when we promised ourselves as the Jewish people ‘never again,’ an anti-Israeli decision would be made, which constitutes a blatant capitulation by the French government – a country that has been and remains friendly to Israel – to pro-Palestinian organizations and fundamentally undermines the Western values of individual rights, freedom of movement, and human dignity.
“Even if the French government did not intend for the deterioration of the situation caused by the court’s decision, the original decision was wrong and unfortunate and ignited this chain of events. Therefore, we see the filing of the petitions as our moral duty to fight against the anti-Israeli policy. The only way is a combined struggle, including dialogue and diplomatic efforts until all restrictions on Israelis in France and at the exhibition, in particular, are completely lifted, and it is clear that this will not be repeated. »
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