The people are paying the price for decades of Israeli oppression

We, Belgian Jews and Jews living in Belgium, are shocked and pained by the violent escalation in Israel/Palestine and the hundreds of lives lost in the last days. We mourn the deaths, wounds and inhuman suffer of family members, friends, fellow activists, and their loved ones, in Israel and in Gaza. As the rabbis say in the Talmud, and as expressed in the Quran, each lost soul is an entire world, and saving a soul is like saving an entire world. In these difficult times, we wish to stop this loss of lives and work for uprooting the causes of the current wave of violence.

The events of the past days demonstrate a failure of the Israeli years-long strategy to lock 2.3 million people in a besieged territory surrounded by fences, surveillance mechanisms and snipers, regularly bombarded, and without any possibility to live dignified life. The root of the violence that we see now is oppression: millions of Palestinians in Gaza, as in other parts of the Occupied Palestinian territories, continue to live for decades under the heel of the Israeli army, which determines almost every aspect of their lives. While Biden, Netanyahu and Arab leaders are trying to strike diplomatic deals behind the back of the Palestinians and at their expense, the unfolding events prove that any such ‘deals’ are bound to fail.

The Israeli civilians who lost their lives in the last days are the victims of these failed strategies and of the ongoing oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli governments and military forces. Intensifying the oppression and the violence will only bring more terror and horror to Israelis and Palestinians alike. The only way to guarantee security and prosperity to citizens on both sides is to work tirelessly towards a future of real freedom and justice to all.

We call for immediate de-escalation, an end to the bombing of civilian population and humanitarian infrastructures, a release of civilian prisoners, an exchange of prisoners of war, and direct negotiations between Israel and the Gaza-based government and all fractions of the Palestinian leadership. The Belgian government and the EU should put their efforts in this direction, in concrete action to push the Israeli government towards a sustainable solution, instead of fueling the violence with irresponsible rhetoric and the continuation of their year-long negligence of the real problems that are at stake in Israel/Palestine. But more importantly, we know that only dedicated work of civilians from both sides to dismantle the structures of Apartheid and oppression could lead the way for the wounded land to heal.

We are Jews, We are angry, We stand in solidarity with Subversive Film

We are Jews, We are angry, We stand in solidarity with Subversive Film

EAJS – Een Andere Joodse Stem / Another Jewish Voice
UPJB – Union des Progressistes Juifs de Belgique

To support the statement:

We, Jews living in Belgium, stand in solidarity with the Brussels-based Palestinian collective Subversive Film and with all of the lumbung community, against the unjust scrutiny and attacks they have been subjected to since documenta fifteen was launched, in particular unfair and misleading accusations of antisemitism.

The inspiring contribution of Subversive Film to the exhibition with Tokyo Reels (among others contributions) are valuable for their historiographic as well as artistic merit, and are of extensive significance.  

We wish to make very clear that Anti-Zionism, as well as critiques of Israeli colonial expansion and militarist violence in violation of international law, are not antisemitic. We reject the use of antisemitism as a cynical tool to silence any legitimate criticism of the injustice that is happening on a daily basis in Israel / Palestine.

We refuse the instrumentalization of antisemitism by European conservative forces attempting to silence and/or discipline the voices and actions of collectives and individuals from the Global South, and to undermine the growing movement of racialized communities in Europe and in the Global South that demands decolonization and justice.

Some of us were born and raised in Belgium or elsewhere in Europe and have experienced antisemitism first hand. Some of us have migrated to Belgium from Israel, where we witnessed first hand the violence of the Israeli state against Palestinians. Together, we declare that we do not support the Jewish conservative organizations or self-declared “antisemitism experts” who took part in this instrumentalization exercise – not in our name! 

We condemn the European and particularly German attempts to deflect guilt for their own historical crimes by projecting responsibility for antisemitism onto people coming from the Global South and people of colour more broadly. This insidious and racialised dynamic casts people of colour and those from the Global South as the root cause of antisemitism, and the German state, alongside white Europeans, as the well-meaning and innocent protectors of Jews from the antisemitic migrant. This narrative conveniently encourages a form of collective amnesia for where the root cause of antisemitism and the Shoah really lie and serve to obscure our true common enemy: the steep rise of the extreme right and white nationalism across the continent – including in Germany. 

We reject the use of the IHRA definition which has been scrutinised and discredited by many antisemitism scholars and Jewish intellectuals due to its conflation of antisemitism with legitimate critique of the State of Israel. Around 350 signatories, including many renowned scholars, have now signed the alternative Jerusalem Declaration, developed in response to the IHRA definition in order to provide “clear guidance to identify and fight antisemitism while protecting free expression” – holding that the IHRA failed to get this balancing act right and has been used far too often to strategically silence critique of Israel and the occupation.

We reject the projection of conceptual and political tools that were developed to fight antisemitism in Europe – the place where antisemitism is historically rooted and further developed with genocidal consequences – on the Global South. Attempts to apply these to the Global South follow in the footsteps of European intellectual imperialism.

We are angry that actual, physical attacks on artists of color who participated in documenta fifteen at the hands of German individuals and groups were minimized and ignored by those who simultaneously placed themselves at the forefront of the fight against antisemitism. Let us be clear, our struggles are interconnected: antisemitism is but one form of racism which must be tackled alongside all forms of racism.

We cherish the anti-colonial movement in the art world, in the academia and in other public arenas, and the necessity of supporting power building and resistance against Western hegemony in the Global South. We welcome any reflection on the role of Europe and the West in the continuous undermining of these efforts.

The generous proposal of ruangrupa and the invited collectives of documenta fifteen is a long overdue shift in the focal point of the art world that we embrace and continue to learn from as this exhibition continues. We are grateful for the immense efforts that are being made daily to ensure that this edition of documenta withstands (with dignity and humility) the smears and attacks it is currently experiencing.

We extend our hand to the communities that have been the target of European colonialism and genocidial enterprises, of European racism and exploitation, of European disciplining and silencing. As indicated in lumbung’s statement, “we are all in this together.” 

Let this be the beginning of true comradery in the face of those who try to pull us apart.

To support the statement:

Facebook: Do not censor our critique of Israel and Zionism!

Today, along with 17 other cities around the world, we delivered our petition to our local Facebook office in Brussels to make sure Facebook gets our message: do not add “Zionist” to your hate speech policy! Equating “Zionist” and “Jew” undermines our efforts to dismantle antisemitism, prevents Palestinians from expressing their viewpoints, and shields the Israeli government from accountability.

Belgian Jewish organizations call JNF-KKL Belgium to stop its complicity in the uprooting of a Palestinian family

Letter to Keren Kayemet Le’Israël (Jewish National Fund) Belgium – Luxemburg

L’Union des Progressistes Juifs de Belgique (UPJB) and Een Andere Joodse Stem (EAJS) call on the KKL-JNF to refrain from uprooting the Sumarin family, a Palestinian family of 18 members, from their East Jerusalem home.

In these times of a global health crisis, the importance of a home is clear. Nevertheless, the KKL-JNF is intensifying these days its efforts to evict the Sumarin family from the home in which they have been living for several generations. On June 30th, the KKL-JNF will demand the evacuation of the family in Jerusalem’s district court.

The attempts to evict the Sumarin family are based on a draconian application of Israeli legislation that was imposed on the Palestinian residents in the territories occupied by Israel in the June 1967 war, which ended exactly 53 years ago. Within the severe injustice and the wide range of human rights violations that this ongoing occupation creates, evicting the Sumarin family stands out as an act of abject cruelty, especially in these times. The KKL-JNF should  immediately renounce all claims to the property, cease all legal proceedings against the family, and let the family live in peace and safety in their own home.

As the official representatives of KKL-JNF in Belgium, you are carrying responsibility towards the Belgian public to the activities of the organization that you represent. We therefore ask you to publicly renounce the evacuation of the Sumarin family, and to announce the central bodies of KKL-JNF that you stop your fundraising activities in Belgium until this issue is resolved. Otherwise, you will be perceived by the Belgian Jewish communities and the wider Belgian public as complicit in this severe case of human rights violations and injustice.


Union des Progressistes Juifs de Belgique (UPJB) |

Een Andere Joodse Stem (EAJS) |

Whiteness and darkness in Israeli memory: Film screening and discussion

Thursday, 12 March 2020, 20:00 (doors 19:30)

Location: Het Goudblommeke in Papier (La Fleur en Papier Doré)

Cellebroersstraat 55 Rue des Alexiens, 1000 Brussels

An English-speaking event | Free entry (donations are welcome)

In 1948, more than 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from the territory of the newly established Israeli state, a historical event remembered by Palestinians as the ‘Nakba’ (Arabic for catastrophe). Around 400 Palestinian towns and villages were emptied and largely erased, not only physically, but also from the Israeli collective memory. In some places, Jewish immigrants from North African and Middle Eastern countries were settled in the formerly Palestinian villages. However, this history is missing from school textbooks, popular culture, and even from political programs allegedly aimed to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (such as the recent Trump plan).

In this public event of Een Andere Joodse Stem / A Different Jewish Voice, we will highlight these unspoken components of the Palestinian-Israeli history and discuss their erasure from the Israeli collective memory. EAJS members, visual artists Sirah Foighel Brutmann and Eitan Efrat, will present their work “Orientation” (2015, 12 min.), and lead a discussion on remembrance and forgetting, their meaning and representation.


HD video, color, 16:9, stereo sound, BE, 2015, 12’

Produced by Argos, Centre for Art and Media, Brussels, with the support of VAF and Beursschouwburg, Brussels.

Looking at two locations— the public sculpture White Square commemorating the founders of Tel Aviv, and the shrine of Palestinian village Salame in today’s Israeli Kafar Shalem—Orientation focuses on the ability of architectural material, and of sound and image, to register collective forgetfulness.

Sirah Foighel Brutmann and Eitan Efrat (both born in Tel Aviv in 1983) have been working in collaboration for several years and are creating works in the Audiovisual field. They live and work in Brussels.

Sirah and Eitan’s practice focuses on the performative aspects of the moving image. In their work they aim to mark the spatial and durational potentialities of reading of images – moving or still; the relations between spectatorship and history; the temporality of narratives and memory and the material surfaces of image production.

Their works have been shown in solo and group exhibitions and film festivals across Belgium and Europe. They are currently teaching at ERG (École de recherche graphique) in Brussels.

Deal of the century or roadmap to apartheid? A public debate on Trump’s plan organized by “Een Andere Joodse Stem”

Friday, 14 February 2020, 20:00

Elcker Ik Centrum, Breughelstraat 31, 2018 Antwerpen

On January 28th, US president Trump presented a plan which he claimed could solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. From the moment of its presentation, the inability of the plan to achieve this aim was evident. Only Israeli prime minister Netanyahu was present. Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian National Authority, refused to accept the plan, which did not take into account any of the Palestinian concerns or interests. Critiques of the plan denounced it as normalizing a reality of apartheid and denying the rights of the Palestinian refugees. Indeed, Israeli politicians were quick to announce that the plan supports their long-awaited aspirations to officially annex parts of the West Bank to Israel, intentions that are partially supported also by Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s main challenger in the coming Israeli elections on March 2nd. Belgian and European leaders have kept an ambivalent position towards the plan, refusing to pose a significant challenge to American hegemony or to the continuous violation of Palestinian human rights by Israel.

To reverse the manner in which Trump’s plan and Israeli policies ignore the Palestinian people, Een Andere Joodse Stem/ Another Jewish Voice is inviting two prominent Palestinian activists to express their views on the plan, as well as on the current impasse in which Palestinians are given and the possibilities to move forward. We are proud to host:

Inès Abdel Razek, advocacy director for the Palestine Institute of Public Diplomacy, a Palestinian advocacy NGO based in Ramallah 

Mahmoud AbuRahma, who managed the international advocacy and litigation program at Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights in Gaza for 18 years, and is now working on anti-racism in Europe.

They will be joined by Dr. Itamar Shachar, a member of Een Andere Joodse Stem. He has previously worked in the Israeli human rights organization Gisha – Legal Center for the Freedom of Movement, and is currently an FWO postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Sociology at Ghent University.

The discussion will take place in English, but we welcome the participation of the audience also in Dutch, Arabic or Hebrew.

You are all welcome to join us on Friday, 14 February 2020, at 20:00, at Elcker Ik Centrum, Breughelstraat 31, 2018 Antwerpen. The entrance is free of charge.

Photo: Haaretz, 2 February 2020

Another Jewish Voice on Trump’s plan: No peace without equality and mutual respect

In a glaring spectacle of colonial hubris, American and Israeli leaders – without any Palestinian partners – have presented a plan allegedly aimed to settle the historical conflict in Israel-Palestine, completely ignoring Palestinian needs and interests. The plan aims to suppress Palestinian aspirations for independence and freedom, to confine the Palestinians to an Apartheid-like system of Bantustans, and to null the rights of the Palestinian refugees.

This spectacle is aimed to assist Trump and Netanyahu to gain public popularity as they both face serious corruption allegations and upcoming elections. At the same time, the unilateral character of their steps is aimed to put the blame on Palestinian leadership for their refusal to take part in this futile spectacle. It nurtures the Israeli sense of entitlement to annex parts of the occupied territories and trade the citizenship of its Arab-Palestinian residents, which unfortunately seems to be shared both by Netanyahu and his main contester in the coming elections Benny Gantz.

The denial of the basic human rights of Palestinians is against the most fundamental values of humanism and equality that Een Andere Joodse Stem/Another Jewish Voice is committed to. We share this commitment with the United Nations and with most countries across the globe, and call them to reject Trump’s plan outright. EAJS will continue to struggle against the oppression and de-humanization of Palestinians, and for justice in response to the historical wrongs committed by the state of Israel. This is the only way to establish the basis for equality and mutual respect between Palestinians and Israelis, and to secure peace and prosperity in the area.

Palestinian Lives Matter: A Discussion with Sarit Michaeli, B’Tselem


 On Saturday, 12 October 2019, 15:30 (doors open at 15:00)

at the Spiegelzaal, De Markten Gemeenschapscentrum

Oude Graanmarkt 5, 1000 Brussel

 Een Andere Joodse Stem (Another Jewish Voice, Belgium) is proud to host a public lecture of Sarit Michaeli, international advocacy officer of B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. 

Sarit Michaeli’s talk will focus on the systematic shirking of Israel’s obligation under international law to ensure accountability for the killing and injury of Palestinians by its security forces, and on how This ongoing state of affairs is one of the cornerstones of the occupation and of Israel’s control of the Palestinian population. In 2018 only, Israeli security forces killed 290 Palestinians, among them 55 minors, most of them in the Gaza Strip. These incidents are a direct result of Israel’s reckless open-fire policy, authorized by the government and the top military command, and backed by the judicial system. This policy includes, among other things, shooting to kill incidents, permitting live fire at unarmed demonstrators by the Gaza-Israel fence, and bombarding densely populated areas within Gaza. Aside from rare, publicized incidents, no one is held accountable for these incidents, and the military law enforcement system whitewashes them.

Sarit Michaeli has been part of B’Tselem’s staff since October 2004, serving as the organization’s spokesperson for 12 years before becoming its international advocacy officer. As well as working with the diplomatic community and international civil society groups, she documents demonstrations in the West Bank, with a focus on security forces’ misuse of crowd control weapons, and has authored B’Tselem’s report on the subject. B’Tselem was founded in 1989 to document Israeli violations of Palestinians’ human rights in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip.

Practical information:

The lecture will be followed by an open discussion with the audience. The event will be in held in English.

Doors open at 15:00, the event will start at 15:30 sharp. We will end the event with a toast to mark the Jewish new year, for a year of freedom, dignity and justice to all.

Seating is limited. To ensure participation, please register at:

Participation is free, but we will appreciate any donation that could assist us in covering the event costs (recommended sum: €5 per person).

Protest Letter by European Jewish organizations

On Tuesday, September 24th 2019, we sent the following letter to EU Commission President Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker and Commissioner Ms. Jourova, together with 5 other Jewish organizations, warning against a EU endorsement to Israeli attempts to stifle European Jewish voices for peace and justice in Israel/Palestine:


Dear Commission President Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, dear Commissioner Ms. Jourova,

It has come to our attention that the Israeli Minister of Public Security, and Minister of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Gilad Erdan of the Likud party will be attending an event at the European Parliament, with participation by EU Commission coordinator on Combating Antisemitism Katarina von Schnurbein, on September 25th, 2019.

This unfortunately indicates a concerning lack of due diligence on behalf of the event’s organizers and of Ms. Von Schnurbein. Inviting Mr. Erdan, an Israeli hardliner, to a public forum involving a European Commission coordinator puts European politicians, officials and civil society actors at risk and violates the obligation of EU officials to maintain the safety and security of their co-workers and interests abroad. Ms. Von Schnurbein mandate is to protect European Jewish communities from harm. By participating in this event, she panders instead to Israeli right-wing interests that directly conflict with the safety and prosperity of Jewish communities in Europe, including our own.

As the minister responsible for the Israeli Police, Mr. Erdan is holding ministerial responsibility for several extra-juridical police killings and discriminatory policies, both in occupied east Jerusalem and within Israel. On his additional capacity as the Minister of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy, Mr. Erdan has been involved in publishing a report titled “The Money Trail: European Union Financing of Organizations Promoting Boycotts against the State of Israel” in January 2019 (2nd Edition). The report is signed only by the ministry, and therefore should be seen as representing Mr. Erdan’s political position.

This report is 34 pages of incitement against a series of civil society organizations, against the individual workers (including Jewish Europeans) and management in those organizations and against the EU bodies who provide financing to these organizations. Without fail, the organizations mentioned in the report are human rights organizations and organizations promoting the implementation of international law and the protection of minority groups. Despite this, the report attempts to make connections between these organizations, and the EU bodies which finance them, and terror organizations. It should be recalled that according to Mr. Erdan, alleged association with terrorism is grounds for the use of lethal force.

Incitement which includes a clear call for the use of violence, based on racial and religious hatred, is prohibited under European law. Until Mr. Erdan withdraws the report and issues a public and official apology, inviting him to speak in a European forum could be considered complicity with a hate crime.

We are especially concerned that EU Commission coordinator to Combat Antisemitism Katarina von Schnurbein considers attending the event. Ms. Von Schnurbein has a responsibility to protect European Jews from hate crimes, and this includes their right to freedom of speech, and to support the civil society organizations in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which Mr. Erdan associates with terrorism.

Should Ms. Von Schnurbein choose to attend the event, European Jewish progressive organizations will be subjected to additional risk, and possible harm, in their exercise of their freedom of expression and belief. In the case that her participation in this event goes ahead, the undersigned organizations will address, in a separate letter, both the current and incoming EU Commissioner for Justice requesting a transfer of Ms. Von Schnurbein from her current post.


With regards,


The undersigned Jewish European organizations:

Een Andere Joodse Stem (Belgium)

Union Juive Française pour la Paix (France)

Jews for Justice for Palestinians (UK)

Jüdische Stimme für gerechter Frieden in Nahost (Germany)

Judar för Israelisk Palestinsk Fred (Sweden)

Free Speech on Israel (UK)



Een Andere Joodse Stem on the Freilich – N-VA alliance: The masks have fallen

[Press release, 23-01-2019]

Stigmatizing and derogatory approaches towards Muslims, Palestinians, civil society activists, and even towards progressive Jews have been an earmark of Michael Freilich’s public appearances and editorial tone that dominated the magazine “Joods Actueel”. It is therefore not surprising that Freilich found his natural place in a political party that has tapped into xenophobic sentiments and embraced the anti-immigration discourse of the European extreme right.

Now when the masks have fallen, and Freilich revealed his affiliation with the nationalist right, one can only wonder how come he was embraced by the Flemish media as a representative of the Jewish community as a whole. His polarizing and inciting discourse has inflicted real damage on our communities, which will take many years to heal.

Luckily, many Jews in Belgium do not share Freilich’s political views, and prefer to distance themselves from political forces that have been flirting with fascism and racism in the past and in the present. Unlike Freilich, Een Andere Joodse Stem holds to the Jewish and human values of equality and solidarity, and works to make these values a reality within and outside the Flemish Jewish community, in Belgium and in Europe, as well as in Israel-Palestine.