Belgian Far-Left Organizations

Belgian Far-Left Organizations

The European Coordination of Committee and Associations for Palestine (ECCP)

The European Coordination of Committee and Associations for Palestine

In French: La Coordination Européenne des Comités Palestine (CECP)

http://www.eccpalestine.org/

Orientation: Western far-left

Fields of operation: political lobbying, BDS promoting

The ECCP is a Brussels-based association of NGOs cooperating with the UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.303 According to its website, the ECCP was founded in 1986 as a network of 50 European committees, organizations, NGOs, unions, and international solidarity movements from 22 European countries, dedicated to the struggle of the Palestinian people for “freedom, justice, and equality.” It supports BDS, publishes relevant material and position papers, initiates and signs petitions, and focuses on exerting pressure on European States and EU institutions to change their policy toward Israel.304 It lists member organizations from Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, the wide majority of which stem from far-left backgrounds.305

The ECCP is headed by Pierre Galand, a former senator (2003-2007) on behalf of the Belgian Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste, PS). Galand has been involved in international far-left initiatives like the Russell Tribunal that was held in New York in 2010 and intended to accuse Israel of committing war crimes.306 The ECCP was also behind the July 2014 letter addressed by several dozen far-left Israeli citizens to the European Council, Commission, and Parliament, which called on the European Union to pressure Israel to accept Hamas’s terms of truce during Operation Protective Edge (also see the chapter on Germany).307 The ECCP is listed as one of the partners of the French L’Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS).308

l’Association Belgo-Palestinienne (ABP)

l’Association Belgo-Palestinienne

http://www.association-belgo-palestinienne.be

Orientation: Western far-left

Fields of operation: “direct action”BDS promoting

L’Association Belgo-Palestinienne (ABP) is a Brussels-based organization that appeals to a French-speaking audience in Belgium309 and operates several regional branches in the country. The ABP is active in several campaigns, among them a campaign for the recognition in the state of Palestine, a campaign to promote BDS,310 and a Gaza-focused campaign. The ABP both publishes written material and disseminates anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian short clips. The ABP is headed by the above-mentioned Pierre Galand.311

Nadia Farkh

Nadia Farkh, Coordinator of l’Association Belgo-Palestinienne.312

Marianne Blume

Marianne Blume, activist of l’Association Belgo-Palestinienne, in an interview promoting BDS.313

Dominique Waroquiez

Dominique Waroquiez

Dominique Waroquiez, an activist of l’Association Belgo-Palestinienne,314 is considered one of the most vociferous delegitimization activists in Belgium in recent years. She has been very active in anti-Israel demonstrations, calling to boycott Israel and to release Palestinian prisoners, and vilifies it as an Apartheid state.315

A call for a demonstration

A call for a demonstration promoted by ABP against the visit of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to Belgium, December 2017.316

Gents Actieplatform Palestina (GAPP)

Gents Actieplatform Palestina

In English: Gent’s Action Platform Palestine

http://gappgent.be

https://www.facebook.com/GappGentsActiePlatformPalestina/

Orientation: Western far-left, Islamist

Fields of operation: BDS promoting

GAPP is an umbrella organization that unites Islamist and far-left NGOs, peace groups, and solidarity committees. It is based in the city of Ghent (Gent). Among its members are the ABP, UPJB and ECCP.317 GAPP is mainly active in solidarity campaigns, info evenings, and lectures. It also partners with other far-left organizations around the world in “globalizing solidarity” in general and calls for a military embargo on Israel in particular.318 Its president is Annuschka Vandewalle, who is also the main figure of Socialistische Solidariteit (FOS).

GAPP session in support of BDS, March 2017

GAPP session in support of BDS, March 2017.319

Socialistische Solidariteit (FOS)

Socialistische Solidariteit

https://fos.ngo

Orientation: Western far-left

Fields of operation: trade unions

FOS is a Brussels-based Socialist organization funded by the Social-Democratic Flemish Socialist Party. FOS is active in several countries, including the Palestinian arena. It partners in with several Palestinian trade unions.320 Its coordinator of the Palestine file is Eric Willemaers. Its President is Annuschka Vandewalle, who is also the President of GAPP. FOS publishes papers regarding the financial ties between Belgian companies and Israel,321 protests against trade agreements between Israel and the European Union, and more.

Annuschka Vandewalle

Annuschka Vandewalle322

Palestina Solidariteit vzw

In English: Palestine Solidarity Association

Palestina Solidariteit vzw

http://palestinasolidariteit.be/

Orientation: anti-Zionist

Fields of operation: “direct action,” BDS promoting

Palestina Solidariteit is a merger of two other organizations323 – Centrum voor Ontwikkeling Documentatie en Informatie Palestijnen (CODIP)324 and the Vlaams Palestina Komité, both of which were operating with limited resources and were headed by Myriam Vandecan, who is married to a Palestinian. Myriam Vandecan has equated Israel with Racism and Apartheid.325

Like one of its predecessors – CODIP – the website of this group seems to mainly serve as an online information center for various types of pro-Palestinian material and BDS petitions and campaigns. Palestina Solidariteit defines itself as a part of the BDS platform in Belgium.326 It links with many other organizations, mostly in Belgium, but also with the International Jewish anti-Zionist Network (IJSN).

Myriam Vandecan

Myriam Vandecan327

Union des progressistes juifs de Belgique (UPJB)

Union des progressistes juifs de Belgique

In English: Belgian Union of Progressive Jews

http://upjb.be/

Orientation: Jewish far-left, Anti-Zionist

Fields of operation: BDS promoting

The Union des progressistes juifs de Belgique (UPJB) is a Belgian Jewish organization originally set up in 1939 as Solidarité juive (Jewish Solidarity) by anti-Fascist Jews in Belgium, becoming in 1946 Solidarité Juive (Jewish Solidarity( to help the victims of the Nazi oppression. In 1969, it took on its present name and turned into a platform for Left-wing Jews.328 Today, the UPJB is a relatively small but significant organization, which consists of anti-Zionist Jews. The UPJB is not a member of the Comité de coordination des organisations juives de Belgique (CCOJB, Coordination Committee of Belgium’s Jewish Organizations), the Belgian chapter of the World Jewish Congress.

In October-November 2014, the UPJB organized a boycott campaign against a film festival about Israeli-Palestinian relations, because of Israeli embassy involvement.329 One of its key members is Henri Wajnblum.

Henri Wajnblum

Henri Wajnblum speaking at a BDS conference in Belgium organized by ULB (see below), December 2010. The conference hosted members of several far-left Belgian groups, a member of PACBI, and Israeli anarchist Ronnie Barkan.330

Comité BDS de l’ULB (ULB)

Comité BDS de l’ULB

http://bds-ulb.blogspot.be/

https://www.facebook.com/ComiteBdsUlb

Orientation: Western far-left

Fields of operation: “direct action” – campus activism, BDS promoting

Comité BDS de l’ULB (ULB) is a student organization based at the Université libre de Bruxelles in Brussels. It promotes boycotting Israel, and was reportedly recognized by the University of Brussels as a student organization in 2012.331 On March 4, 2015, the ULB arranged a demonstration for the boycott of Israel where its members shouted “Fascists, Zionists – you are terrorists” (a BDS chant also heard in demonstrations in France). In addition, they made anti-Semitic calls against members of the Jewish organization l’Union des Etudiants juifs de Belgique (UEJB), who sued them for this.332