BDS Jews Boycott Brussels Jewish Film Festival

Union of Progressive Jews of Belgium boycotts film festival about Israeli-Palestinian relations, because of Israeli embassy involvement.

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The Israeli embassy in Brussels.
The Israeli embassy in Brussels.Credit: Google Maps

A small, left-leaning Jewish organization pulled out of the 16th annual Brussels Jewish Film Festival, objecting to the involvement in the event of the embassies of Israel and the United States.

The Union of Progressive Jews of Belgium, or UPJB, announced its decision to pull out of the event, which it had agreed to sponsor, in a statement dated Oct. 24 that appeared on the organization’s website on Tuesday, the opening day of the six-day event.

The festival, with the theme “Under the Same Sun,” features films about relations between Israelis and Palestinians. The films include "Arabani" by Druze filmmaker Adi Adwan, the award winning "Bethlehem," and "Life Sentences," which is about an Arab man who marries a Jewish woman.

The UPJB statement referred to Israel as a “state of colonization and occupation” and affirmed UPJB’s support for the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement, or BDS, against Israel. 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.

But the association “did not make the embassies’ involvement known in any way,” the statement read.

CCLJ, a larger Belgian left-leaning group that does not support boycotts against Israel, distanced itself from the smaller group’s message and urged its followers and other members of the public to attend the event in large numbers.

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