Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Belgium: Brigitte Herremans, the catholic anti-Israel pasionaria (Pax Christi, Broederlijk Delen)

Featuring: Brigitte Herremans, the Belgian catholic anti-Israel pasionaria, "major supporter of lawfare and BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel"who "demanded that Israeli citizens who come to Belgium (actual tourists, not activists) be subject to “interrogation”" and downplays the level of antisemitism.

Via Times of Israel (Gerald Steinberg):

On September 9 (2016), Brigitte Herremans arrived at Ben Gurion airport, planning to lead an “alternative tour” of political activists, as she had done many times before. But this time, the polite-sounding Belgian activist was not given the usually automatic tourist visa. Instead, by her own account, she was unceremoniously denied entry and turned back.
Brigitte Herremans is in many ways typical of Western European leaders of BDS and demonization campaigns. Her official title is Policy Officer for the Middle East at Broederlijk Delen (BD) meaning “fraternal sharing”– an influential and semi-official Belgian Flemish Catholic aid organization. (She plays a similar role in another Catholic NGO — Pax Christi.) They claim to combat poverty and inequality by working with local organizations, but are tainted with a radical political agenda that includes intense demonization of Israel. Out of the €6 million annual budget provided by Belgian taxpayers, €264,000 goes to political projects in “Israel/Palestine” that have nothing to do with aid. This is Herremanns’ radical mini-empire. (...)
Upon her return to Belgium, Herremans immediately provided further evidence of her deeply ingrained hostility. In an interview on Flemish Radio 1 on 12 September, Herremans repeated her support for “sanctions against Israel” and demanded that Israeli citizens who come to Belgium (actual tourists, not activists) be subject to “interrogation.” In the same interview, when asked about reports that showed a rise in antisemitism in Belgium, Herremans accused “Israel’s allies” of “inflating” the level of antisemitism in order to “distract from its treatment of Palestinians.”  
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Via NGO Monitor:
CIDSE/NGO Political Campaign Exacerbates Friction between Israel and the EU
In January 2017, the church umbrella organization CIDSE’s Palestine-Israel Working Group (made up of 18 organizations from Europe and North America) released a document titled “No Place Like Home: A Reader On The Forced Internal Displacement Of Palestinians In The Occupied Palestinian Territory And Israel.” The working group includes: Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), Catholic Agency for Overseas Development [CAFOD] – (UK), CCFD-Terre Solidaire (France), MISEREOR (Germany) and Trócaire (Ireland). The document cited a number of political NGOs, including Adalah and Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center(JLAC).
CIDSE’s press release quotes Brigitte Herremans, Broederlijk Delen’s “Policy Officer for Israel and Palestine.” Herremans is a major supporter of lawfare and BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel, and in September 2016, was denied entry to Israel. Herremans has also called on the EU “to confront Israel” over alleged “systematic violations of international law.” Similarly, Broederlijk Delen, along with CCFD, Trócaire, and others produced the 2012 report “Trading Away Peace,” which lobbied the EU to impose economic sanctions on Israel. Broederlijk Delen, along with the other CIDSE group members, also fund politicized non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including some of the organizations cited in the document.
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