BDS Protests Palestinian-Israeli Film Festival

Why can't we just all get along? BDS group cries 'occupation' over festival celebrating good relationship between Israelis, Palestinians.

Tova Dvorin ,

Anti-Israel boycott movement (file)
Anti-Israel boycott movement (file)

A film festival celebrating Jewish Israelis and Palestinian Arabs working together should be lauded by leftist groups, which frequently accuse Israel of "apartheid" in Judea-Samaria.

But the promise of interfaith cooperation is too much for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a leftist Belgian Jewish group proved last week, after it pulled out of sponsoring the festival, citing protests over "colonialism." 

The Union of Progressive Jews of Belgium, or UPJB, announced its decision to pull out of sponsoring the 16th Brussels Jewish Film Festival on Tuesday, which is headlining a film entitled "Under the Same Sun."

The UPJB statement, in decrying the film festival, called Israel "a state of colonization and occupation" - despite the fact that the film, like many others headlining the festival, celebrates the positive relationship which has emerged between Jewish Israelis, Palestinian Arabs, and Druze in the Jewish state. 

UPJB wrote in its statement that it had agreed to co-sponsor the event because it supported the theme as presented to UPJB by event organizers from the Jewish Audiovisual Memorial association, the event’s organizer.

However, it allegedly decided to withdraw after it was revealed that the Israeli embassy would be involved in the event. 

UPJB appears to be a minority in the leftist groups protesting the event, as CCLJ - a larger leftist group in Belgium that does not support BDS - encouraged its followers and the public to attend the festival en masse, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

But the call to boycott the festival emerges just as Belgian Jewry has been shaken in recent months by a surge in anti-Semitism that has engulfed most of Europe.

In May, the community was rocked by an anti-Semitic terrorist attack in which an Islamist gunman, Mehdi Nemmouche, opened fire with an assault rifle in the Brussels Jewish Museum, killing four people.

In September, visitors to a Holocaust memorial in Brussels were attacked by thugs who threw stones and bottles at them, according to media reportsOne week later, a nearby synagogue was set ablaze in yet another anti-Semitic attack. 

And just two weeks ago, a Belgian university was under fire for planning an activity which pitted "little Palestinians" against "the big, mean Jew."