Public statement by Jewish European organizations on the definition and elimination of anti-Semitism

As Jewish European organizations committed to the elimination of anti-Semitism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and all other forms of racism, we would like to voice our deepest concern regarding the organization of a conference in Brussels (6-7 November 2018), backed by the Israeli government, aiming to label legitimate criticism and protest against Israeli governmental policies as anti-Semitism. We ask the European institutions, including the European Commission, the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), and members of the European Parliament,  to shun attempts by the Israeli government to use false allegation of anti-Semitism to limit and criminalize work by civil society organizations, including those of diverse Jewish communities of Europe, to pursue peace and justice in Israel/Palestine.

The conference, co-organized by the European Jewish Association and two Israeli ministries, has as its goal to persuade all European political parties to sign up to “red lines” that declare legitimate calls for pressure on Israel, including through Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) tactics, to be “fundamentally anti-Semitic.”

We reject their call. Antisemitism is a small but real and growing threat to Jewish populations in Europe – and elsewhere, as the recent outrage in Pittsburgh so tragically demonstrates. Conflating the real threat posed by anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of the Israeli government and its policies is a dangerous step; it threatens to misdirect European efforts to combat anti-Semitism, turning these instead into a tool to erode the democratic principles of free speech and freedom of assembly, and to aid the Israeli government in its quest to limit Palestinian non-violent civil resistance to the Israeli occupation. These Israeli efforts do not represent the Jewish communities of Europe. The Israeli policies of siege in Gaza and racial segregation in the West Bank, of fatal attacks on civilians and of land expropriation for Jewish-only settlements – are not in our name. We reject attempts to equate opposition to these deplorable policies with anti-Semitism.

In the context of growing Israeli governmental ties with racist, sexist and xenophobic leaders, groups and political parties in Europe and the US (some of which with a past marked by blatant anti-Semitism), there is a real threat of emergent anti-Semitism. The Israeli governmental conference organized in Brussels is not searching for much-needed solutions to this threat. Sadly, it seeks instead to leverage anti-Semitism to maintain an untenable status-quo of occupation, oppression and fear in Israel/Palestine. We stand in opposition to their mission.

As Jewish organizations committed to the promotion of social justice and equality, we have expressed in several occasions the problematic nature of invoking allegations of anti-Semitism in attempts to silence voices opposing Israeli violations. More than 40 Jewish organisations have recently published an open letter expressing their “growing alarm regarding the targeting of organizations that support Palestinian rights in general and the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, in particular” Adding that “These attacks too often take the form of cynical and false accusations of antisemitism that dangerously conflate anti-Jewish racism with opposition to Israel’s policies and system of occupation and apartheid.”

The right to defend human rights, including Palestinian rights, should be safeguarded now more than ever. EU political parties have a responsibility to end complicity of their respective states with the Israeli violations of international law. It is time to act against anti-Semitism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and all other forms of racism. It is time to act against Israel’s decades-long occupation and racial segregation. Don’t lend a hand to the Israeli government attempts to stop us from doing both.


Signed by

Een Andere Joodse Stem / Another Jewish Voice (Belgium)

Free Speech on Israel (United Kingdom)

UJFP – Union juive française pour la paix (France)

JFJFP – Jews for Justice for Palestinians (United Kingdom)

ECO-Rete – Ebrei Contro l’Occupazione (Italy)

Een Ander Joods Geluid/A Different Jewish Voice (The Netherlands)

Judar för Israelisk Palestinsk Fred / Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (Sweden)

Jewish Voice for Labour  (United Kingdom)

Jewish Socialist Group (United Kingdom)

Jüdische Stimme für ein gerechten Frieden in Nahost / Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Near East (Germany)

Jøder for en retfærdig fred (Denmark)

Jewish Voice for Democracy and Justice in Israel/Palestine (Switzerland)

EJJP – European Jews for a Just Peace (European Network)

The Poetics of Resistance – A Cry for the Soul of Palestine: an evening with Michel Khleifi

Saturday, April 28th  at 20h15
At UPJB – Rue de la Victoire 61 1060 Saint-Gilles.

Throughout his long career Israeli Palestinian film writer, film director and film producer Michel Khleifi has sought to portray Palestine and her soul. Khleifi was born in Nazareth and has lived in exile in Brussels since 1970. He taught at the Institut Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle. In 1987 Michel Khleifi won the International Critics’ Prize in Cannes for his film Wedding in the Galilee. In 2003 Khleifi and Eyal Sivan filmed Route 181: Fragments of a Journey in Israel-Palestine. The following year the movie was censored in France. Despite immense difficulties and set backs Khleifi has created an œuvre of immense importance. Khleifi stands in the tradition of Mahmud Darwisch, Emile Habibi, Edward Said, Juliano Khmer-Meir and all the women and men who fight and have fought non-violently with their art against the destruction of their homeland and who are striving to preserve and to portray the beauty of Palestinian culture and the dignity of her people.

On April 28 Khleifi will show Ma’loul Celebrates its Destruction, a 30 minute short.
You are invited to join us as Khleifi talks about his career, his upbringing and his life in exile.
You are invited to join us as we seek to envision a future for Palestine in justice and in peace.

Co-organized by EAJS, UPJB and ABP.

Meet the Joint List: On the political representation of the Palestinian citizens in Israel

Wednesday, 8th November 2017, 19:30

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

Cellebroersstraat / Rue des Alexiens 55, 1000 Brussels

The political representatives of the Palestinian citizens in Israel can be caught between a rock and a hard place, committed to the liberation of the Palestinians living under Israeli military rule and in exile, while simultaneously struggling to claim civic and collective rights for the Palestinian citizens within Israel. To overcome attempts by Israeli right politicians to exclude the Palestinian members from the Israeli Knesset, the Joint List was established as a parliamentary bloc that includes all Palestinian political parties, including the Arab-Jewish Democratic Front.

In this special evening, we are honored to host three Members of the Knesset from the Joint list for a discussion on the current political reality in Israel and in the region, the challenges faced by Palestinian citizens, the difficulties of representing Palestinians in the Israeli Knesset, and the vision that can be proposed for a better future.


MK Aida Touma-Suleiman

Hadash – Democratic Front for Peace and Equality

Chair of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality

MK Dr. Jamal Zahalka

Balad – National Democratic Assembly

Chair of the Joint List parliamentary group

MK Masud Ghnaim

Ra’am – the Islamic Movement


Introduction: Mr. Jafar Farah, Director of Mossawa – The Advocacy Center For Arab Citizens In Israel

The event will take place in English.

Entry is free of charge, but we welcome a small donation at the entrance to cover expenses.

The event is organized by:

EAJS – Een Andere Joodse Stem / A Different Jewish Voice,

UPJB – Union des progressistes juifs de Belgique / Belgian Union of Progressive Jews,

Mossawa Center – The Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel,

From ‘Ethnocracity’ to Urban Apartheid, with Prof. Haim Yacobi

From ‘Ethnocracity’ to Urban Apartheid
A talk by Prof. Haim Yacobi
Discussant: Dr. Omar Jabary Salamanca

Saturday, October 7th, 2017, 18:00
Doors open at 17:30
Het Goudblommeke in Papier (La Fleur en Papier Doré)
Cellebroersstraat / Rue des Alexiens 55, 1000 Brussels

Haim Yacobi will speak on logics of segregation in East Jerusalem and the geopolitics of neighbouring.
Omar Jabary Salamanca will open the discussion, followed by Q&A with the audience.

Entrance is free, but donations at entrance to cover expenses are welcome
Registration is not obligatory but recommended, at

Haim Yacobi is an Israeli architect and urban scholar working at the intersection of politics, geography and urban studies. He recently joined the Development Planning Unit at University College London as professor in Urban Health. His academic research and publications focus on cities as cultural and social entities, a perspective that enables him to examine wider political issues through the urban model. Yacobi is the author of numerous publications including his latest two books Rethinking Israeli Space: Periphery and Identity (Routledge 2011) and The Jewish-Arab City: Spatio-Politics in a Mixed Community (Routledge 2009).

Omar Jabary Salamanca is an urban geographer, a postdoctoral fellow at Ghent University. His work lies at the intersection of urban studies, settler colonialism, political economy and Middle East studies. Drawing on the histories and geographies of road and electricity infrastructure in Palestine, he studied the ways these socio-technical networks are constructed, imagined and governed but also how they are experienced and contested. He is a member of the steering committee of the International Critical Geography Group and co-organizer of the Eye On Palestine Arts and Film Festival.

The Israeli occupation in its 50th year: How did we arrive here and where are we going to?

Een Andere Joodse Stem/Another Jewish Voice andLe Space invite you to:

The Israeli occupation in its 50th year: How did we arrive here and where are we going to?

an evening with the critical Israeli journalist Amira Hass

Monday, 12 June 2017, 20:00



Amira Hass has been the reporter and commentator on the Israeli Occupation since 1993 for the daily Israeli newspaper “Haaretz”. She was born in Jerusalem in 1956, a daughter of two Holocaust survivors. She spent three years living in Gaza, where she also wrote her widely acclaimed book, “Drinking the Sea at Gaza.” Since 1997 she has been living in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Two compilations of her articles have been publishedlater, including columns written for the Italian weekly “Internazionale”.

She has been writing extensively on the Israeli regime of movement restrictions and fragmentation of Palestinian territory and society, and was among the first Israeli writers who doubted the Oslo accords.

Amira Hass will share with us insights from her journalistic work, analyze the recent developments in the Israeli rule over the Palestinians anddiscuss how we may expect the situation to develop in the near future. Hass’ talk will be followed by Q&A with the audience.

The event will be held at Le Space, Sleutelstraat 26 Rue de la clé, 1000 Brussels

The Politics of Return: Diaspora, Displacement, Exile” about the failure of the analogy between the Law of Return in Israel and the Right of Return for Palestinians


Lecture by Judith Butler (In English). She is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of numerous books, such as Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990), Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex” (1993), The Psychic Life of Power: Theories of Subjection (1997), Precarious Life: Powers of Violence and Mourning (2004); Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? (2009). Her most recent books include: Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism (2012), and Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly (2015). She is also active in gender and sexual politics and human rights, anti-war politics.

May 6th 2017, from 7-9 pm

Brussels (location accessible by public transportation to be disclosed for those who register by email)

From West to East – The Creation of the Mizra’hi Jew


From West to East – the Creation of the Mizra’hi Jew

When? Friday, February 24th at 20:00

Speaker: Guilel Treiber

Language: English

Where? Pianofabriek (Arenbergzaal)

Though the statistics are not very clear, we can assume that half of Israel’s Jewish population (if not more) is from North African or Middle-eastern heritage. Nonetheless, Israel is perceived mostly through its European heritage. With the establishment of Israel we see the rise of a new category of Jews – Mizra’hi, the one coming from the east. Mizra’hi is used generically to identify all those Jews who trace their origin to the old territories of the Ottoman Empire and farther. How come this new category arose? What does it mean to be a Mizra’hi Jew in Israel today? Who are precisely the Mizra’hiim? And what is the difference with Sefaradim? In this event we will try to bring to light the rich and long history of the Jews of the Middle East.

Van West naar Oost – De uitvinding van de Mizra’hi Jood

Datum: vrijdag 24 februari 2017

Locatie: Pianofabriek (Arenbergzaal)

Spreker: Guilel Treiber

Taal: Engels

Uur: 20u

Hoewel de statistieken hierover onduidelijk zijn, is het waarschijnlijk dat ongeveer de helft van de Joodse bevolking in Israël (en mogelijks zelfs meer) afkomstig is uit Noord-Afrika of het Midden-Oosten. Desalniettemin wordt Israël vooral bekeken vanuit haar Europese erfenis. Met het ontstaan van de Staat Israël is er een nieuwe categorie Joden ontstaan – de Mizra’hi Joden, afkomstig uit het Oosten. Met de term Mizra’hi wordt de groep Joden bedoeld die oorspronkelijk uit het Ottomaanse Rijk of verder afkomstig zijn. Hoe verklaart men het ontstaan van deze nieuwe categorie? Wat betekent het vandaag om in Israël een Mizra’hi Jood te zijn? Wie zijn ze precies? Wat is het verschil met de Sefardische Joden? Deze lezing reconstrueert de rijke geschiedenis van de Joden uit het Midden-Oosten.

2017: A Year of Foreboding Anniversaries for Israel-Palestine

By Ilana Sumka

Published in Dutch in Knack, January 21st, 2017:

A few days ago I put up my new calendar to welcome 2017, and while often I welcome the fresh start that a new year offers, this year I hung up my calendar with a sense of trepidation and foreboding.  Some of that apprehension surely comes from the fear of rising right-wing sentiment in Europe and the corresponding racism and xenophobia that it heralds; add to that Brexit, a global refugee crisis and a Trump presidency in the US and it’s not surprising that my anxiety is higher than normal.  But much of my apprehension comes from profound uncertainty I feel regarding the future of Israel-Palestine.

Photo: Direct action in Hebron, The Center for Jewish nonviolence

Photo: Direct action in Hebron, The Center for Jewish nonviolence


As a religiously observant Jewish person who is deeply concerned with advancing peace and justice in Israel-Palestine, the unease I feel about the year 2017 is connected to the significant anniversaries that this year marks: one hundred years since the Balfour Declaration was issued; seventy years since the United Nations adopted a resolution in support of the partition of Palestine; and fifty years since Israel conquered the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza.

All of these anniversaries – and the subsequent wars and displacement of people from their homes – are reminders of how much work there is to do to right past wrongs and chart a path for the future based on a genuine commitment to equal rights and self-determination for all.

On November 2, 1917, Britain issued the “Balfour Declaration” named after its author, the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour and sent it to Walter Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community.  It called for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.  It had two caveats: in the process of establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine, nothing should harm the civil and religious rights of the pre-existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine – that is, the Palestinians – and nothing should harm the rights and political status of Jews in any other countries.  Both of these conditions have been egregiously violated in the one hundred years since the Balfour Declaration.

As a young Jew growing up with a strong attachment to Israel, I was taught that the Balfour declaration was the first major political victory for the Jewish people in the twentieth century, since, in language simplified for my young teenage ears, ‘the United Kingdom gave Palestine to the Jews.’   I will always stand by the call for Jewish self-determination and the demand for full equal rights for all Jews.  What I question is the path we’ve taken in an attempt to get there.

It was only later in my adult life that I came to question the very assumptions that the Balfour Declaration is based on.  What right did Britain have to ‘offer’ a piece of land in the Middle East, whether to Jews or anyone else?  And what about the people who were living on this piece of land, what rights did they have?

Seventy years ago, in 1947, the United Nations voted in favor of partitioning Palestine to create two states: an official Jewish homeland and a Palestinian State.  While Israel was established the following year, a Palestinian State was never established.  Again, a significant political victory for the Jewish people.  And again, no recognition in the Jewish communities that raised me that this represented a devastating loss of land and sovereignty for the people already living in Palestine at the time.  Instead of recognizing the profound loss and humiliation that the partition plan represented for the Palestinians, too many Jewish communities – then and now – blame the Palestinians for not being grateful to be left with half of what was once theirs.

Fifty years ago, Israel conquered Gaza and the West Bank in the 1967 war.  The result has been five decades of Occupation under Israeli military rule: settlements, more refugees, land confiscation, home demolitions, unequal water distribution and the wide-spread imprisonment of Palestinians, including children.  Fifty years later, in the first week of January 2017 alone, the Israeli government demolished 151 Palestinian homes in the West Bank – nearly four times the weekly average of the previous year.  That a ‘weekly average of Palestinian home demolitions’ even exists is a shocking testament to the inhumane treatment the Palestinians have received under Israeli military rule in the West Bank, now reaching its 50th anniversary this year.

We were greeted by one bright piece of news just before the new year, when the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that reaffirmed that settlements are illegal and are a violation under international law.  The group I’m a member of, Een Andere Joods Stem, applauds the endorsement of the UNSC resolution by the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs. We call upon the minister to take concrete steps to promote the implementation of the decision, starting by instructing Belgian companies to halt any business activity in the settlements and by banning the import of settlements products to Belgium.

The significance of these three anniversaries has prompted us to join a European-wide campaign called “Enough is Enough.”   Jewish groups from across Europe will proudly affirm our commitment to human rights for Palestinians and call for an end to the occupation through various political and artistic events during this monumental year.  In addition, hundreds of Jews from around the world will travel to the West Bank this summer with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence to stand in solidarity with Palestinian and Israeli activists to call for an end to 50 years of occupation.

While the Israeli government attempts to equate its right-wing and repressive politics as representative of Jews worldwide, more and more Jews are speaking up to say that we believe in human rights over discrimination.

To this day, we are living with the consequences of these significant anniversaries: the existence of at least five million Palestinian refugees; the status as second-class citizens of the one and a half million Palestinians who live inside Israel; and the lives of some 4 million Palestinians living under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza are living proof that these anniversaries – from Balfour to the 1967 war – have created more problems

Jewish Israelis are also living with consequences: an on-going sense of insecurity and fear in the region, asking, “why don’t the other Arab nations like us?”  This stems in part from a failure of the Israeli public school system to teach the actual history of the region, and is combined with an utter inability or unwillingness by so many Jewish Israelis to see how their presence and creation of their homeland has come at an unbearably high cost to the Palestinians who had been living in Palestine for generations.

For the past hundred, seventy, and fifty years, we have been engaged in an ill-fated game of human dominoes in which one piece is knocked down, setting off a chain reaction and knocking down piece after piece after piece.  Only until we are able to adopt a truly global understanding of shared humanity will we be able to devise solutions together, creatively, that establish genuine, long term, sustainable win-win outcomes for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Ilana Sumka is the founder and director of the Center for Jewish Nonviolence. With two decades of experience as an organizer, educator and activist, Ilana previously spent five years as the Jerusalem director of Encounter. Ilana currently lives in Belgium where she co-founded Een Andere Joodse Stem/Another Jewish Voice to elevate progressive Jewish voices in the Belgian and European political discourse.

EAJS supports the UN Security Council Resolution

The West Bank settlement Beitar Illit can be seen in the background of an olive tree field in the Palestinian village Husan, where 38 trees were damaged by settlers in October 2013. Photo credit: EAPPI/J. Kaprio

Een Andere Joodse Stem/Another Jewish Voice expresses its support for the UN Security Council resolution to reaffirm the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the demand to stop all its settlement activities.

All settlement activity dispossesses Palestinians of their lands and intentionally makes the occupation of the West Bank irreversible; it therefore damages the chances for a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

The fierce and absurd reaction of Netanyahu and his ministers to the resolution reaffirms that the current Israeli government is not interested in stopping the occupation or taking any steps towards peace. As such a concrete action from the international community is needed.

EAJS therefore supports the endorsement of the UNSC resolution by the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs. We call the minister to take concrete steps to promote the implementation of the decision on regional, national and European levels and to start by instructing all Belgian companies to halt any business activity in the settlements and by banning the import of settlements products to Belgium.

(Photo: The West Bank settlement Beitar Illit can be seen in the background of an olive tree field in the Palestinian village Husan, where 38 trees were damaged by settlers in October 2013. Photo credit: EAPPI/J. Kaprio)


De Bedoeïenen van Jahalin : Onteigeningen en weerstand in de Westelijke Jordaanoever

De Bedoeïenen van Jahalin : Onteigeningen en weerstand in de Westelijke Jordaanoever

Geïntroduceerd en gemodereerd door Brigitte Herremans

Wanneer? Zaterdag 10 december 2016, 18u-20u

Waar? Zaal Arenberg, Gemeenschapscentrum Pianofabriek , Fortstraat 35, 1060 Brussel

Op initiatief van de VN (in 1950) werd 10 december wereldwijd uitgeroepen tot de Dag van de Mensenrechten: een dag waarop alle lidstaten en organisaties worden uitgenodigd om de rechten van de mens in de kijker te zetten. Dit jaar willen we vanuit Een Andere Joodse Stem van de gelegenheid gebruik maken om te sensibiliseren over de schendingen van mensenrechten die schering en inslag zijn in de Bezette Gebieden. Het niet-naleven van mensenrechten is een wereldbreed fenomeen, dat ons sterkt om vanuit een humanistische grondslag op te komen voor de rechten van specifieke individuen en groepen, waaronder de rechten van de Palestijnen.

Iedereen is van harte uitgenodigd om deel te nemen aan onze actie “De Bedoeïenen van Jahalin: Onteigeningen en weerstand in de Westelijke Jordaanoever”. We ontvangen vertegenwoordigers van de Jahalin-stam, een stam die in 1949 uit de Negev-woestijn verdreven is na toenemende druk van Israël en zich vervolgens gevestigd heeft ten Oosten van Jeruzalem in de Westelijke Jordaanoever. Heden ten dage wordt de stam opnieuw geconfronteerd met het risico op uitzetting, omdat Israël zijn verblijfplaats ziet als een strategische ligging tussen Jeruzalem en een aantal Israëlische nederzettingen in de Westelijke Jordaanoever.

We vertonen een korte film over de geschiedenis van de Jahalin, gevolgd door getuigenissen door hun vertegenwoordigers over de dagdagelijkse realiteit en de strijd waarin ze verwikkeld zitten.