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Union des Progressistes Juifs de Belgique (UPJB)

Profile

Country/TerritoryBelgium
Websitehttp://upjb.be/
Founded1969
In their own wordsUPJB is Jewish diaspora organization…we made the choice to live where the hazard of migrations…made us born, without having fixed eyes to a particular motherland

Funding

  • L’Union des Progressistes Juifs de Blegique (UPJB) does not publish financial information, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.
  • UPJB has received Belgian government funding (Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles) since 2003, including funding for its “Permanent Education and Youth” and “General Affaires/ Cultural Centers” projects.
Year"Permanent Education and Youth" Project"General Affaires/ Cultural Centers"
2015€65,191€15,150
2014€65,130€15,150
2013€64,919€15,033
2012€64,919€15,150

Activities

  • UPJB is a Belgian Jewish organization that regularly engages in politicized activities, including supporting BDS campaigns against Israel.
  • UPJB organized an event at their facilities on March 3, 2017 at which two members of the politicized French organization UNION JUIVE FRANCAISE POUR LA PAIX, Sarah Katz and Pierre Stambul, “will describe the cage of Gaza using pictures.” Gaza is further characterized as “a cage buckled on the floor…Gaza is a laboratory where the Israeli occupant experiments every two-three years the most sophisticated weapons against a disarmed population. Gaza is regularly defamed as terrorists, fundamentalists. Defamed by those who committed numerous war crimes and war against humanity. Yet, in Gaza, they resist peacefully… they discuss politics in the wider diversity.” These statements completely ignore the violence taking place under the Hamas-led government as well as Israel’s legitimate security concerns.
  • During the 2014 Gaza war, a member of UPJB’s board of directors, Michel Staszewski, “denounced the racist policy of Israel that resembles apartheid between Palestinians and Israeli settlers.” According to Staszewski, Gaza is an “open air prison.”
  • In an article titled “The Dark Side of the Mensch,” UPJB accused Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel of being “militant” and of supporting “judaization (that is to say ethnic cleansing) of the Palestinian quarters of Jerusalem.”
  • In 2006, condemned the Israeli operation to release the kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, accusing Israel of “‘state terrorism’ that punishes collectively, again, a Palestinian population already terribly weakened and humiliated by the occupation.”
  • In 2006, referring to the Second Lebanon War, UPJB president Dr. Jacques Ravedovitch accused the Israeli Prime Minister of being a “war criminal,” and stated that “Resistance in Palestine and Lebanon is justified. Israel is an invader. I do not approve of Hamas killing innocent people, but I defend that if there are invaders there will be resistance at the same time.”

BDS Activities

  • Signatory to a 2017 statement marking the anniversaries of the 1917 Balfour declaration, the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan, and the “beginning of Israel’s occupation in 1967.” The statement calls on the international community “to cease all complicity with continued settlement activity and the myriad of ways that Israel violates international law,” and for “the suspension of the EU’s Association Agreement with Israel.” The statement condemns the 1947 UN partition plan, claiming it “resulted in the 1948 Nakba, the demolition of more than 530 Palestinian villages and the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland, and is thus a process of ethnic cleansing”; and claims that European countries “made Palestine carry the consequences of the monstrous genocide of the European Jews by the Nazis; and subsequently they did nothing to require that Israel respect UN resolutions.”
  • Justifies its support for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel by stating that there is a “failure of the ‘international community’” to act against the “occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years and illegal under international law.” UPJP furthers that it works to “isolate Israel politically and economically as long as it does not conform to international law, as a means to save it from the suicidal actions of its government,” and to “Boycott to tear down the walls!”
  • Canceled its participation in the 2014 Brussels Jewish Film Festival after discovering that the Israeli Embassy was a sponsor of the festival, stating that “We do not want to support Israel as an occupying and colonialist state in any manner.”
  • In 2004, published a press release together with the Association Belgo- Palestinienne (ABP) “against the Israeli apartheid wall.” The document omitted the context of violence and terror in which the security barrier was built. The organizations also called upon the Belgian government to act within the European Union in order to adopt sanctions against the State of Israel, and particularly to suspend the Association Agreement between the EU and Israel.

Partners

Affiliated with the politicized organization European Jews for a Just Peace (EJJP), which “endorses the Palestinian civil-society call for BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions).”

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