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Belgian Campaign for the Cultural Boycott of Israel

Newsletter N° 31 (May 2018)


“Nobody has been made safer by the horrific events of the past week," UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein told the Council (May 18). He said Israeli forces had killed 106 Palestinians, including 15 children, since March 30. More than 12,000 were injured, at least 3,500 by live ammunition. Israel was an occupying power under international law, obliged to protect the people of Gaza and ensure their welfare, he said. "But they are, in essence, caged in a toxic slum from birth to death; deprived of dignity; dehumanized by the Israeli authorities to such a point it appears officials do not even consider that these men and women have a right, as well as every reason, to protest."


Treating Gaza's wounded on Monday 14th of May, a team of medical volunteers stands arm-to-arm, from left, Mohammed Migdad, who was later shot in the right ankle; Hassan Abusaada; Dr Tarek Loubani, who was shot in left leg and the right knee; Moumin Silmi; Youssef Almamlouk; Musa Abuhassanin, who was shot in chest and killed while attempting to rescue another person and an unknown volunteer.



Action(s) and Calls -- Gaza Massacres -- Analysis -- Arts & Culture -- Boycott -- Current Affairs -- Events -- Resources -- Videos

Actions & Calls:

GAZA EMERGENCY APPEAL: Donate!  Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)

Medical teams in Gaza's hospitals are in a desperate situation. MAP is helping to respond to a large number of casualties. Please donate to help provide these urgently needed medicines and supplies. We urgently need funds.


À Gaza, notre partenaire UHWC (Union of Health Work Comittees) est en première ligne pour soigner les blessé.e.s qui ont afflué vers leur hôpital Al Awda et leurs cinq autres centres de santé. Ils ont besoin de médicaments, de matériel pour pratiquer des chirurgies et de liquidités pour payer le fuel qui permet de faire fonctionner les générateurs d’urgence. // In Gaza staat onze partner "Union of Health Work Comittees" (UHWC) aan de frontlinie om de gewonden te behandelen in hun Al Awda-ziekenhuis en vijf andere gezondheidscentra...

Samidoun: "Massacre in Gaza:  Names of the victims and list of actions worldwide" (May 14):

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all supporters of Palestine and the Palestinian people to take to the streets. Silence is unacceptable in the face of massacres, colonization and complicity.

"EBU: Boycott Eurovision 2019 in Jerusalem!" ( petition):

As an appropriate response to the deliberate massacre of Palestinian protesters on the border with Israel on May 14 we ask the members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to boycott Eurovision 2019 set to be held in Jerusalem.

"Tell Argentina and Lionel Messi: There is #NothingFriendly About Israel Shooting Palestinian Footballers" (BDS, May 15):

Sign the petition urging the Argentina national football team to cancel its "friendly" match with Israel. In a video message, young Palestinian footballer Mohammed Khalil makes a powerful appeal to cancel their friendly match with Israel on June 9, 2018. Khalil, from Gaza, was shot by an Israeli sniper in the knee, ending his promising football career.

"L'ONU vote l'envoi d'une mission d'enquête internationale à Gaza" (rtbf, 18 mai):

Le Conseil des Droits de l'Homme de l'ONU a voté vendredi une résolution pour envoyer une équipe internationale spécialisée dans les crimes de guerre pour enquêter sur les événements à Gaza. (29 voix pour, deux contre et 14 abstentions).

"If there's an occupation, there shouldn't be Eurovision for Israel" (Dmitry Schumsky, Haaretz, May 18): [click!]

Israel's violation of both international law and the universal right to self-determination needs to be accompanied by real penalties from the international community...

"Crimes israéliens commis à Gaza : 560 Palestiniens victimes des tirs israéliens s'adressent à la Cour Pénale internationale" (Pour la Palestine, 18 mai):

Ce 17 mai 2018, un groupe de 560 Palestiniens habitants à Gaza, victimes des tirs israéliens lors des manifestations, agissant en leur nom personnel ou au nom d'un proche parent tué, ont adressé à Madame Bensouda, Procureur de la CPI, une plainte dénonçant ces crimes de guerre, et lui demandant de saisir les juges de la Cour pour obtenir l’autorisation d’ouvrir une enquête.

"Gaza : Reporters sans frontières saisit la CPI après des tirs contre des journalistes" (Assoc. France Palestine Solidarité, 16 mai):

Reporters sans frontières (RSF) a annoncé mardi avoir saisi la Cour pénale internationale "concernant la perpétration de crimes de guerre commis par l’armée israélienne contre des journalistes palestiniens" depuis le début des manifestations de la "Grande marche du retour" lancées le 30 mars.

ECCP Statement, May 17: "After Israel's massacre in Gaza the EU must impose military embargo on Israel!"

Over 60 Palestinians were killed, including seven children and around 2000 demonstrators were injured on Monday, May 14th, as Israeli snipers fired live ammunition at protesters commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Nakba and protesting against the opening of the US embassy in East Jerusalem.

"European trade unions call on the EU to end its complicity with Israel's violations" (ETUN-Palestine, 15/5/2018):

European trade unionists are alarmed that despite the clear injustice inflicted on the people of Palestine, the European states, the European Union (EU) and representative institutions have failed to fulfil their legal duty to hold Israel accountable for its grave violations of international law.In particular, European trade unions are concerned about the ways the EU and European governments are complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian workers’ rights.

"SA withdraws its ambassador after Gaza deadly attack" (Eyewitness News, May 14):

Dirco says the South African government has taken a decision to recall Ambassador Sisa Ngombane with immediate effect until further notice. JOHANNESBURG - The South African government has condemned in the strongest terms possible the latest act of violent aggression carried out by Israeli armed forces along the Gaza border, which has led to the deaths of over 40 people following a peaceful protest against the provocative inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

"De Belgische regering moet de bescherming van jongeren in Gaza serieus nemen" (, 11 mei):

De voorzitters van 8 jongerenpartijen roepen de regering op om de Israëlische ambassadeur om uitleg te vragen rond schendingen van de mensenrechten in Gaza. 'We ijveren ervoor dat alle jongeren, waar ook ter wereld, hun stem zonder risico kunnen laten horen.'

"'Rather than trying to hide the occupation from the world - énd the occupation': Israeli orgs respond to gov't deporting HRW director" (B'Tselem , May 10):

15 Israeli human rights organizations issued a statement condemning the Israeli government's decision to deport Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch: Israel is trying to keep both its own citizens and the world from seeing what it is doing.

"L'UPJB ne célèbre pas les 70 ans de l'État d'Israël" (CDP, 10 mai):

En 1948, Israël fut établi, comme " État juif ", sur 78 % du territoire de la Palestine, au prix de l'exil forcé de plus de 80 % de la population non juive de son territoire, les Arabes palestiniens.

Gaza Massacres:

"Meet Tarek Loubani, the Canadian Doctor Shot by Israeli Forces Monday While Treating Gaza's Wounded" (Democracy Now! May 17, with video):

We speak to Dr Loubani, a Canadian emergency room medical doctor, one of 19 medical personnel shot Monday 14 (one of them was killed). Dr Loubani was shot in both legs while he was helping injured Palestinians. The day was one of the deadliest in Gaza since 2014. Israeli forces killed 59 Palestinians and injured another 2,700. Of those injured, the Gaza Health ministry said 130 were in serious or critical condition.

Steven Chovanec: "The Massacre in Gaza: A Deliberate and Calculated Policy" (truthout, May 15):

The fact that the Israeli military's killing of Palestinian protesters isn't considered terrorism betrays the vicious double standard held by those shaping the policies and narratives: Israelis and Americans are seen as human beings. Palestinians are not.

Robert Fisk: "How long after this week's Gaza massacre are we going to continue pretending that the Palestinians are non-people?" (Independent, May 17):

Monstrous. Frightful. Wicked. It's strange how the words just run out in the Middle East today. Sixty Palestinians dead. In one day. Two-thousand-four-hundred wounded, more than half by live fire. In one day. The figures are an outrage, a turning away from morality, a disgrace for any army to create.

Lisa Goldman: "The Racism Of Blaming Palestinians For Their Own Deaths" (Forward, May 17):

On May 14, Israeli soldiers shot and killed 60 Palestinians and wounded over 2,500, while they were demonstrating inside Gaza. That fact is not in dispute. But according to Matti Friedman, a Canadian-Israeli author who lives in Jerusalem, neither the snipers who chose their targets and pulled the triggers nor the officers who ordered them to open fire are responsible for the deaths of the Palestinians.

Riham Darwish: "Debunking 18 claims justifying this week's Gaza massacre" (Mondoweiss, May 17):

After spending a great deal of time online, I read and watched endless virtual conversations about who's at fault and who's not in the wake of the over 60 casualties in Gaza on Monday. It’s mind-blowing how people have the energy to keep repeating the same claims over and over again for days and weeks, ignoring outside information.

Ilan Pappé over Gaza: 'De derde intifada is al een tijd aan de gang'" (interview Brecht Neven, MO* 13 mei):

De maskers vallen af. Gisteren werd de US ambassade verplaatst van Tel Aviv naar Jeruzalem. Palestijnen in de Gazastrook komen al weken massaal samen aan de zwaarbewaakte grenshekken. De betogers wapenen zich met stenen en molotovcocktails, het Israëlische leger schiet met scherp.

Antoine Besson: "Bain de sang à Gaza : quand l'Europe arrêtera-t-elle de financer l'industrie de l'armement israélienne ?" (basta!, 16 mai):

Avec le massacre perpétré par l'armée israélienne contre des civils palestiniens ce 14 mai, la question des partenariats entre l'Union européenne et le gouvernement de Netanyahou se pose. D'autant que Bruxelles y finance des recherches militaires et que des agences européennes se fournissent en drones israéliens, dont certains ont été testés à Gaza.

Tareq Baconi: "What the Gaza Protests Portend" (The New York Review of Books, May 15):

The dense smoke, burning tires, and the masses of people huddled under gunfire is what, at this moment, the recalibration of the Palestinian struggle looks like. The images coming out of Gaza are an indication of Palestinian disenchantment with the political process and with their leaders.

Analysis (the Nakba):

Ilan Pappé: "Peace begins with Israel ending the Nakba" (Mondoweiss, May 17):

American peacemakers, whether cynical or genuine in their efforts, have consistently failed to understand the essence of the conflict in Palestine. If they ever want to solve it, they need to revisit the dispossession of Palestinians that occurred in 1948 and understand its significance and the fact that 70 years later, Israel continues to systematically displace Palestinians.

"70 Years of Nakba: Where Can Palestinians Go from Here?" Contributions by Razi Nabulse, Irene Calis, Amal Ahmad & Haidar Eid (Al-Shabaka Roundtable, May 15):

Palestinians have perhaps never been more in need of a forward-looking vision to shape their struggle. On the Nakba's 70th anniversary, Al-Shabaka analysts propose visions they contend would resonate with the greatest number of Palestinians - whether one-staters or two, refugees, exiles, citizens of Israel, or those under occupation - and map ways to get from here to there.

Lucas Catherine, Inge Neefs & Charles Ducal: "70 jaar Nakba, de geboorte van de laatste koloniale staat" (De Wereld Morgen, 14 mei):

De Britten hadden indertijd in hun mandaatgebied Palestina chaos verwekt door de immigratie te steunen van Europese joden die de politieke doctrine van het zionisme aanhingen. Het zionisme dacht een oplossing te vinden voor het antisemitisme door Palestina te koloniseren en er een zuiver Joodse staat te stichten.

Arts & Culture:

"Dareen Tatour convicted for poetry: Take action to demand justice and freedom for Palestine"  (Samidoun, May 3):

An Israeli court convicted Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour of "incitement" and "support for terror" for posting on Facebook and creating a poetry video. The conclusion of the trial came after years of a lengthy trial and years of house arrest and confinement for the 36-year-old poet.

Einat Weizman: "Why Israel banned my play 'Prisoners of the Occupation'" (AURDIP, 20 avril):

How to document and render visible the most hidden space in the Israeli occupation ? Israel is making every effort to hide Palestinian prisons and other spaces of confinement. Much is made of the fact that Gaza is an open-air prison, but it is the life of the "security" prisoners that is most hidden.This is the story of my attempt to stage such a drama with the play “Prisoners of the Occupation,” during a time when theater in Israel has become a cultural and political battleground. See Video with the play below.

"Gaza's painters translate pain into art" (PIC May 8):

Holding on to their painting brushes and gouache, a consortium of Palestinian artists from different ages have gathered in the besieged Gaza Strip to translate their woes and hopes into visual representations.

"Palestijnse circusschool brengt het menselijke verhaal achter de vluchteling". Een gesprek met Jessika Devlieghere (KifKif, 11 mei):

"In Palestina bestaat er geen leven buiten wat we ‘politiek’ noemen, omdat de bezetting het hele leven domineert. Waar je naar school gaat en waar je gaat werken, op wie je verliefd wordt en met wie je mag trouwen, niks valt buiten de context van de bezetting." [zie hieronder bij "Events"]


Jonathan Cook: "At 70, Israel more than ever deserves a cultural and academic boycott" (Middle East Eye, May 10):

Recent events have highlighted why the continuing refusal by many Western academics and artists to take up the Palestinian call for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel is so wrong-headed. Opponents of the BDS movement argue that such penalties harm, rather than assist, solidarity with Palestinians.

Omar Barghouti: "Boycott is best response to illegal Israeli killings" (The Irish Times, May 14):

Today, Palestinians everywhere will commemorate the 1947-1949 Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe) - the ethnic cleansing of the majority of indigenous Palestinians from our homeland and the systematic destruction of hundreds of our villages and towns to establish Israel as an exclusionary state.

"500 Latin American Artists Support Cultural Boycott of Israel" (NewsClick, April 13):

The artists pledge in the letter to not perform or exhibit in Israel or to receive Israeli funding until it meets its obligations to respect Palestinian human rights. The poets, painters, rappers, theater directors, filmmakers, actors, writers, and musicians who said No to Israel’s human rights violations, come from 17 different Latin American countries.

"Jean-Luc Godard annonce son soutien au mouvement de boycott du cinéma israélien" (The Times of Israel, 9 mai):

Le cinéaste français Jean-Luc Godard a rejoint des dizaines d’autres professionnels de l’industrie cinématographique française qui ont promis de boycotter un événement célébrant le cinéma israélien.

"Artistic Director of Portuguese National Theater Joins Cultural Boycott of Israel" (BDS, May 18):

The artistic director of the D. Maria II National Theater, Tiago Rodrigues, canceled his participation in the Israel Festival, scheduled to take place in Jerusalem next month, and announced his decision to join the cultural boycott of Israel, according to a statement released by the theater today.

"General Union of Palestinian Women thanks Pussy Riot for canceling show in Tel Aviv, urges withdrawal from International Writers' Festival in Jerusalem" (BDS, April 26):

The GUPW thanks Pussy Riot for heeding their fans' appeals and canceling their show in apartheid Tel Aviv. GUPW is the largest Palestinian women's coalition. It represents all Palestinian women in Occupied Palestine and in the refugee camps elsewhere, and it is a member of both the PLO and the BDS National Committee.

"Israel using culture to mask brutality, say film-makers, journalists and artists" (The Guardian, Letters, May 8):

Cinema, media and cultural institutions should refuse to provide platforms for national celebrations sponsored by Israel, say signatories including Michel Khleifi, Ken Loach & Mike Leigh.

"Charlie McGettigan calls for Ireland to boycott Eurovision in Israel" (Irish Examiner, May 16):

Eurovision winner Charlie McGettigan has called for Ireland to boycott next year's contest if it is to be held in Israel. The Rock 'n' Roll Kids singer's remarks came a day after 60 Palestinians, including an 8-month-old baby, were killed by Israeli troops in Gaza.

"Lord Mayor of Dublin calls on Ireland to boycott Eurovision 2019" (Dublin Live, May 13):

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Micheal Mac Donncha, believes Ireland should boycott the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019. He feels entering next year's competition - which will be held in Israel - would not be appropriate because of the country's ongoing conflict with Palestine.

Current Affairs:

"6,500 Palestinians to spend Ramadan behind Israeli bars" (PIC, May 18):

Head of the Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission Isa Qaraqe on Wednesday said that about 6,500 Palestinians will spend the month of Ramadan in Israeli jails including 350 children, 62 female prisoners, 8 of whom are minors, 500 administrative detainees and 48 prisoners who have spent over 20 years in prison.

OCHA: "West Bank demolitions and displacement - April 2018" (IMEMC, May 19):

Overview - In April, a total of 44 Palestinian-owned structures (among them schools) were demolished or seized by the Israeli authorities in the West Bank, an increase compared to the monthly average during the first quarter of 2018 (33 structures) and during 2017 (35 structures).


# The Palestinian Circus School : "Sarab (Mirage)", in Belgium between 16 May & 1 June.

Info: "Palestinian Circus School draws attention to the plight of refugees" (The Gaza Post, Feb 27): The 7 performers were students together at the Palestinian Circus School (PSC), founded in 2006. Shadi Zmorrod, who founded PSC, explains; “the idea for Sarab came from the performers themselves. They came back from circus workshops in Germany, Jordan and Turkey and were shocked by what they saw there in the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis. They decided they wanted to do something about it, to convey the message that refugees are people not numbers.” Videos below. Zie hoger, het gesprek met Jessika Devlieghere.

Kalender: - 16 mei: De Roma, Antwerpen; - 19 mai: Maison des Cultures et de la Cohésion Sociale, Molenbeek ; - 20 mei: Openbaar Entrepot voor de Kunsten, Leuven; - 23 mai: Eden, Charleroi; - 25 mei: De Borre, Bierbeek: - 26 mai:  Maison Culturelle, Ath; - 1 juin: Théâtre de Namur.

# "What happened in the tent" -  مالذي حدث في الخيمة . A documentary by Majd Khalifeh and Roel Nollet. "Circus is a way to reach a higher purpose: truly living together, even in times of polarization."'What Happened in the Tent', is an 'acrobatic' tale told by documentary makers in which they search for the inner power of circus: its ability to connect people across borders. An exchange project between two circus schools - one at the Palestinian West Bank, the other one in Molenbeek in Belgium - brings two groups of youngsters from vulnerable backgrounds together. Each group has its own story about the way they are perceived by others, but they try to bend the negativity, the violence and the discrimination they are confronted with, into a constructive project. They discover art can be an effective and alternative way of resistance. 'What Happened in the Tent' is a question and a statement at the same time. The moment they enter the circus, their world changes. Circus doesn't only mean movements and tricks to them, but a way to deal with the challenges they face in the environment they live in. Video : below.
Kalender: - 17 mei:  CIRKL Festival, Leuven; - 24 mei:  Bozar, Brussel; - 30 mai: Quai 22, Espace culturel de l’Université de Namur.

Brx, 24/5, 19:00: "Cultuur als verzet: Verhalen over culturele uitwisseling tussen België en Palestina". "Culture et résistance: Récits de coopération culturelle entre Belgique et Palestine" .

 De avond wordt voortgezet met een nabespreking met de regisseurs van de film; gevolgd door de presentatie van het boek: // La soirée se poursuivra avec une rencontre-débat en présence des réalisateurs du film et la présentation de l’ouvrage « Culture et Résistance ; Asseoir L’Espoir – 10 ans de coopération culturelle et solidaire avec la Palestinian Circus School » .

# Charleroi, 26 mai 2018,10h-13h: "La Nakba, le droit au retour et la situation dans les camps de réfugiés", par Hamdan Al Damiri, représentant de la communauté palestinienne en Belgique. Nous invitons aussi Jaida, qui a réalisé un projet avec des enfants dans le plus grand camp de réfugiés au Liban : Aïn al-Helweh. Org.: Plateforme Charleroi-Palestine. Lieu: UT (bâtiment de la bibliothèque). 6 séances, qui ont lieu les samedis matin : 10/3, 21/4, 26/5, 22/9, 20/10 et 24/11. Coût: 30 € pour les 6 séances (ou 5 € par séance). Contact: 0473 286 375.

Publications, Reports & Resources:

@ "Busailah's 'In the Land of My Birth' conveys the Palestinian literary culture wiped out by the Nakba" (Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, May 11):

Reja-e Busailah's memoir 'In the Land of My Birth: A Palestinian Boyhood,' is an unheralded masterpiece of the Nakba. A burgeoning scholar at 18, Busailah was forced out of Lydda with his family in 1948. This book's poignant portraits of friends destroyed and traumatized by the Zionist militias tops any Israeli's account of the Nakba...Without speaking Arabic, it must be impossible to comprehend the robust civilization whose destruction has been mourned by Ibrahim Abu-Lughod, Edward Said and Fouzi el-Asmar. [Institute for Palestine Studies (Nov 22, 2017), pb, 371p.; ISBN 978-0887280009.]

@ "Unearthing Truths: Israel, the Nakba, and the Jewish National Fund"" (Moving Forward, May 1):

​We present this special issue of Moving Forward to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nakba. We lay out the historical record of those years to show that the Nakba was the result of a deliberate policy of mass expulsion, dispossession, and ethnic cleansing—a strategy designed to ensure that the Palestinians who had lived on the land for generations would be barred from ever returning. We also zero in on the fundamental role played by the 117-year-old international organization, the Jewish National Fund (JNF), in facilitating that dispossession.

@ Yesh Din, Data Sheet, Dec 2017: "Law enforcement on Israeli civilians in the West Bank" (7.1.2018):

"Yesh Din - Volunteers for Human Rights" is an Israeli organization registered as a non-profit. Late Dec 2017 it published its annual data sheet on law enforcement on Israeli civilians suspected of ideologically motivated crimes against Palestinians in the West Bank. The data show that only 3% of investigations have resulted in a conviction.


Einat Weizman: "Prisoners of the Occupation"

Dozens Killed In Gaza Protests As U.S. Moves Embassy To Jerusalem | NBC News

"Sarab " - "Mirage" (The Palestinian Circusschool)

Culture & Resistance: "What Happened in the Tent II"

# "The Nakba continues - NAKBA 70 - Generations in Crisis since 1948" (Alef Multimedia, May 10): 5/

# "Un député belge donne une leçon à Israël (et à la Belgique)" (19 mai):



Belgian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel

Coordinating Committee: Em.Prof. Marie-Christine Closon (UCL), Prof. Patrick Deboosere (VUB), Dr. Pascal Debruyne (UGent), Prof. Lieven De Cauter (KULeuven), Em.Prof. Herman De Ley (UGent), Lieve Franssen (director Brussels Brecht-Eislerkoor), Carl Gydé (director CAMPO), Prof. Perrine Humblet (ULB), Prof. Marc Jacquemain (ULiège), Prof. Madeline Lutjeharms (VUB), Raven Ruëll (metteur en scène), Prof. Christiane Schomblond (ULB), Dr. Nozomi Takahashi (UGent), Prof. Karin Verelst (VUB).

Mailing address: Belgian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (BACBI), 12, Kasteellaan, Nevele, O-Vla, 9850, BE