By Sana Elouazi
By Sana Elouazi
Rabat – The Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement in Palestine has denounced arrests against its activists in Morocco who contested the presence of the Israeli firm Netafimat the international date festival in Erfoud.
Four activists were arrested on October 28 inside the exhibition in Erfoud after distributing leaflets to farmers aiming to persuade them not to deal with Netafim, explained BDS Morocco coordinator Sion Assion.
According to a statement by BDS, Netafim cultivates the dates which are exported to the “occupied” territories, such as the village of Jania located in the center of the Cis-Jordan.
The leaflet distributors, which included human rights activist Saadia Al-Walous, were held in custody for more than six hours in Erfoud police station. Three were released on Sunday morning, but one is still in detention.
BDS Morocco member Hakim Sikouk told MWN that the distribution of leaflets in the Erfoud festival was the culmination of a campaign launched last year to call for the boycott of Israeli dates sold on the Moroccan market, which Sikouk said finances the Israeli occupation.
In addition to the passing out of leaflets, demonstrations were held on the sidelines of the festival by activists from BDS Morocco, the local chapter of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH), the chapter of Annahj Addimocrati’s party in Errachidia, the local branches of the Democratic Confederation of Labor (CDT), the Democratic Federation of Labor (FDT), the Islamist organziation Al Adl Wal Ihssane, and the Movement of Unity and Reform (MUR).
In the statement, the anti-Israeli group expressed its “concerns” about the repeated arrests for peaceful protests against “Morocco’s normalization activities,” which it says violated the right of citizens to express and demonstrate.
The Palestinian National Committee for Boycott reiterated its call to Morocco to stop what it describes as the “growing official normalization with the colonizing state of Israel, which is contrary to Morocco’s historic position toward supporting the Palestinian cause.”
Sikouk said that Moroccan authorities’ reaction to the activists distributing leaflets is “paradoxical.”
While Morocco is known for its public defense of the Palestinian cause, explained the BDS member, the kingdom is also responsible for “giving the space to Zionist companies to take part in these events and sell their goods on the Moroccan market.”
This campaign follows previous efforts bypro-Palestinian activists to contest the “political and cultural normalization” with Israel in the kingdom, which is home to the largest Jewish community in North Africa.
In late September, the participation of Moroccan Israeli singer Noam Vazana in the Tangier Jazz Festival was denounced by anti-Israel activists.
Then, on October 9, a group of Morocco MPs contested the presence of former Israeli defense minister Amir Peretz in Rabat during a meeting by the Parliamentary Assemby of the Mediterranean