Development Council Strips Moroccan Poet of Award over Visit to Israel

Bachrail Echhahoui at the ceremony, in which she was honored

Rabat – The Arab Development Council for Women and Business has decided to strip Moroccan poet Bouchrail Echchaoui of an award after she visited Israel.

Moroccan and Lebanese activists criticized Echchaoui for the visit and urged the council to strip the poet of an award she received during ceremony on Sunday.

In response, the council issued a statement on Tuesday to announce its decision to strip the Moroccan poet of her award.

“The council decided to withdraw the honorary award from [Echchaoui ], adhering to its national and Arab affiliation, and in the interest of its reputation and the reputation of the rest of the honorees of the Arab women and all the participants of the ceremony,” read part of the statement.

The council said that it was surprised over the false accusations it received because it had no information about Echchaoui ’s visit to Israel.

The council also recalled that Echchaoui  entered Lebanon more than once and was honored by the Arab Women Organization in 2018 at a ceremony at the headquarters of the League of Arab States.

The statement added that the poet received the honor after votes from “Moroccans themselves.”

The council reaffirmed its support for all Arab issues, especially the Palestinian cause, emphasizing that it is a prominent opponent of  normalization with Israel.

The Moroccan Observatory Against Normalization issued a statement criticizing the council’s argument.

In the statement, the observatory argued that the Moroccan poet is not a human rights activist as she claims.

Read Also: Spotlight on Rumored Morocco-Israel Normalization after Alleged Secret Meeting

The observatory also criticized the council, emphasizing that its argument about the vote is “baseless and unreliable as there is no news confirming that a vote was held” to honor Moroccan women candidates in Beirut.

The Moroccan observatory has been holding a national campaign, warning the government against any normalization with Israel.

In the last two months, rumors spread widely that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was expected to visit Morocco.

The Moroccan government has declined to comment on the rumors twice.

Following the speculation, dozens of activists went to Parliament to protest against the normalization of relations with Israel in  February in Rabat.