Saturday, 12 April 2008

2008: Israel is wiped off the map and replaced by Flaanderen (Flanders)

I have written on this blog about the Palestinian cultural festival Masarat being held this year in Belgium: namely in Brussels, in Wallonia and now in Paris (sensibly, Flanders has not joined in), and which is a Belgian French Community government-funded initiative. It was feared from the outset that the whole event would be highly politicized and used to discredit Israel, this has indeed proved the case.

Take for instance:

- the use of inflammatory rhetoric: "the wall of segregation";

- the choice of guest artists: Zan Studio of Ramallah whose members deny Israel’s right of existence and chastize moderate Palestinian artists who cooperate with their Israeli counterparts;

- the timing: 2008, meant to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel.

On its 60th anniversary, Israel is wiped off the face of the earth and duly replaced

The festival has now gone one step further. A map has been posted on the festival's website in which Gaza becomes Fourons, the West Bank is depicted as Wallonia (co-organizers of the festival) and Israel is cast as Flanders.

The “artists/mapmakers” supposedly got their inspiration from the fact that Palestinians are called “the Belgians” in neighboring Jordan (an extensive search on the internet has provided no evidence to substantiate this claim). Palestinian and Belgian writers will be exploring "the complexity of Belgian and Palestinian identities" in Paris, in Ramallah and in Belgium (Wallonia and Brussels).

Columnist Menahem Macina (UPJF) has written two fascinating pieces about the odd configuration of the map and the underlying message. He believes, among other assumptions, that the organizers were miffed because the Flemish Government did not join in. Who is going to blame them for that?

Made in Brussels/Palestine and exported to Paris

The whole thing is objectionable and insulting in the extreme. To add insult to injury this coarse exercise in political propaganda packaged as "culture" and dialogue with the "Other" is being exported from Brussels and Palestine to a foreign capital, Paris, in an effort to delegitimize Israel. The silly event was totally ignored by the French media and cultural establishment.
See also:
Zan Studio of Ramallah - anti-Israeli artists invited to Belgium
Israel on trial in Brussels: Iranian and Syrian Ambassadors give standing ovation to judges


Brigant said...

Palestinians have been nicknamed Belgiki (Lebanon, Gulf States), old nickname which relates to the FN FAL weapons they once used.

Bennauro said...

This is absolutely amazing!
What a great post, Philo!
Thanks for sharing...