Moroccan BDS activists who say NO to normalisation with apartheid Israel have claimed victory with the cancellation of the second Mediterranean Delight International Belly Dance Festival which was to be held in Marrakech in May. The Festival has now relocated to Loutraki, Greece in June. It is produced by Israeli Simona Guzman, also involving owner of an Israeli belly dancing school, Asi Haskal, and Israeli belly dance teacher Anabel.
While the Festival site is available in English, Hebrew and other languages, there is no Arabic version, highlighting the exploitative orientalism of the Festival.
“I cancelled it because I didn’t receive any authorization and I was afraid for the safety of my participants,” festival producer Simona Guzman told AFP.
Islamist members of parliament and pro-Palestinian associations had criticized the invitation to the Israelis for the May 10 festival.
Criticism over the Israeli presence was first heard last year when the festival was also held in Marrakesh, but the event went off without mishap.
On her Facebook page, Guzman falsely blames “fanatic Moroccan islamists movements” for her cancellation and exposes her racism and bigotry. According to Moroccan news source, Scoop, the Festival was cancelled due to the participation of Israelis. However, objections to the Festival came from across the Moroccan community, regardless of religious view. Guzman further admits on her Facebook:
While the pressure increased, we were asked by the Moroccan authorities to ask for an authorization to produce the festival in Moroccan Territory, a thing that was never asked before. We were suppose to receive an immediate confirmation, but the Moroccan bureaucracy has it’s own time, and time is running short.
The Festival was opposed by Moroccan BDS activists because it was organised by Israelis and aimed at whitewashing Israeli crimes.
Elsewhere, in Hespress, Guzman denies being Israeli and claims to be a Turkish citizen, while on Rue 20 she is said to have “family roots in Turkey and Morocco” and “responded she was surprised by reports in the Arabic media that the event had stirred controversy in Morocco because Israelis would be present”. Yet on her own site she is described as “among the leading belly dancers in Israel”, and offers bellydancing classes in Israel.
‘I teach belly dancing to women of all ages – ranging from high school students to pensioners.
The classes are offered privately, at “Studio C” at “Derech Haim House” and Beit Danny in Tel Aviv and in many other locations.’
The Festival website, bellydancefestival.net is registered to
moshe basula 1
tel aviv, israel, tel aviv 69869
At the present time, the Belly Dance Festival website shows the transition to the new venue and dates – the homepage and registration have been changed, still many of the associated Moroccan activities have not been altered.
The Festival is partly sponsored by Israeli business Sea of Spa, based in Arad, whose website is owned by Yuval Yarin Dead Sea Ltd. Sea of Spa claims to be “a family business that was founded in 1998, though its activities at the Dead Sea began at the end of the end of 1980s.” YYDS Ltd also owns seaofspa.biz.
Sea of Spa products are marketed, along with Ahava’s, on deadseaofspa.com “founded in 1999. Dead sea of spa.com is a web store dedicated for dead sea and other products related to Judaism and the state of Israel”. seaofspa.com and deadseadeal.com market Sea of Spa products too and have the same domain owner information which coincides with the contact information on the aforementioned storefronts. Ahava.co and seaofspa.us are also owned by the same organisation.
new dead sea
The visit of the ex-Israeli Consulate from New York, now Head of European Parliament Liaison Department – Mission of Israel to the EU, David Saranga, was also the target of Moroccan protest last week.
On Sunday, Israeli diplomat David Saranga was forced to cut short a working visit to Morocco after tens of thousands of people took part in a pro-Palestinian protest in front of the parliament in Rabat where he was attending meetings.
Saranga, Israel’s representative at a meeting of the Euro-Med organization that groups the 27 EU states with Israel, the Palestinian Authority and eight Arab countries in the region, was escorted out of the parliament at the end of the meeting and – instead of spending another night in the Moroccan capital – was taken directly to the airport and put on a flight to Paris.
Palestinians have called for boycott, divestment and sanction of Israel until they receive their just human rights guaranteed under international law.
Congratulations to BDS Maroc for successfully fighting normalisation with apartheid oppression. Morocco, which has been exploited by Israel as a playground for normalisation, is now at the forefront of the anti-normalisation campaign.
Moroccan belly dancer Nour withdrew from the festival after becoming aware of the BDS anti-normalisation campaign. Translation of scanned material below:
The people against normalization with Israel are getting ready to face off against the Belly Dance Festival. (written in yellow)
Khalid Alsoufiani. with the National Labor group for the support of Iraq and Palestine disputes Guzman’s claim that she is Moroccan, (she claims her mother is Turkish) Khalid said that if Guzman was speaking the truth then she needs to leave Israel and move to Morocco then.
Noor (dancer who cancelled): Don’t entangle me in this troublesome situation with this festival, I’m not going to participate in it.
Kuzman: I am from Moroccan origins and seek for peace
Anti-normalisation activists prepare to face the oriental belly dancing festival
Last year, a Zionist delegation of 17 dancers participated in the festival.. so how many dancer will they participate this year?
Last year, Al-Tajdeed (renewal) newpaper which was owned by the minister of telecommunications and the spokesperson of the new government, published an article on its front page about the the Zionist dancer who is gonna visit Marrakesh to teach the Moroccan girls how to shake their bellies in the capital of Yusuf Bin Tashqin. So what the newspaper is going to write this year which is a tool to Adala and Tanmiya (Justice and development) party?
The activists of Al-Misbah (Lamp) party protested last year in front of the hotel which organised the festival demanding to punish who allowed it to be organised, and kick the Zionist dancers out. Who is going to punish whom this year? who is going to kick the Zionists out? adding: “how come some business men allow themselves to let their classy hotels host Zionist dancers, and at the sametime they claim their support for the national issues and not promoting alcoholic drinks in their markets.” Summing up: The second version of the oriental dancing festival which was organised from the 6th-11th of May.
Youth and BDS groups corresponded with PM Benkirane to cancel the Festival because of its normalisation of zionist oppression against Palestinians.
BDS Maroc calls for cancellation of an Israeli company exhibition in the printing industry and associated sales activities, while Moroccan Palestinian solidarity organisations demand the Moroccan government criminalise normalisation with Israel.