Controversy surrounds leafleting of Wallonia-Brussels coalition and pro-Hamas organization Samidoun

Is the Wallonia-Brussels Federation a partner of the event supported by Samidoun, an organization banned in some countries like Germany? The federation was visually associated with Samiton for a time until a controversy erupted on social networks.

Israel-Palestine conflict: Why Belgium authorizes pro-Hamas Samidoun to protest

On January 30, the non-profit organization InterPôle announced an evening “Open Stage” In favor of Palestine. The event will take place on February 21 in the multipurpose room of the Grand Hospice in Brussels. The program includes photography and drawing exhibitions, music, poetry and performances, a series of activities during an evening aimed at raising funds for Gaza.

A poster for the Wreath of Support for Palestine presents the logo of FWB and Samidoun. © DR

According to a poster published on January 30, the event is supported by the Federation of Wallonia-Brussels (FWB), the City of Brussels, the French Community Commission (COCOF), but also by Samitown. The association presents itself as the Palestinian Prisoners' Solidarity Network, but is believed to be affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization banned in the European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Will the FWB and the City of Brussels agree to be placed on the same level as an international association known for celebrating the October 7 Hamas attacks? That was the question they were asked on Tuesday morning. Faced with the growing controversy, the city of Brussels gave a clear answer: no.

“Neither city officials nor officials from the complex's owner, CPAS, support such a partnership. The organizer, Interpol, a non-profit organization, has not verified it and told me it would end immediately, even if it meant canceling the event.Khaled Zian (PS), President of the Brussels CPAS explained on Tuesday.

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As a result, at 9:12 a.m. today, Tuesday, InterPôle modified its Facebook post. The new poster released does not have the Sammytown logo.

For its part, the FWB says it has not subsidized Samitone in any way. Only InterPôle receives an operating grant, but this grant is not directly awarded to the event. Under the minister-headship of the FWB, Pierre-Yves Jeholet (MR), the FWB and Samidoun will request information on the circumstances that led to the belief that they could work together.

“Infuriated by the presence of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation logo on the leaflet, myself and Minister François Bertieux have asked the youth department and culture inspector to shed light on the matter”Wrote the Ministerial Chairman of the FWB.

This is not the first time that Sammytown's participation in an event supporting Palestine has caused confusion among organizers and partners. In October 2023, the FGTB withdrew from a pro-Palestinian demonstration after infiltration by a pro-Hamas organization.

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