Egypt's union of artistic syndicates suspends Mohamed Ramadan for alleged 'normalisation with Israel'

Ahram Online , Monday 23 Nov 2020

Ramadan, who is currently abroad, is obligated to show up for questioning by a committee formed by the union before the first week of December

Mohamed Ramadan
A photo of Egyptian star actor and singer posted on his social media this week

The Egyptian Union of Artistic Syndicates, which includes actors, musicians and cinema workers, announced on Monday evening the suspension of actor/singer Mohamed Ramadan pending an investigation into his alleged "normalising with Israel."

Ramadan, who is currently abroad, is obligated to show up for questioning by a committee formed by the union before the first week of December, according to the syndicate.

Ramadan sparked controversy after photos and videos were circulated on social media showing the actor with a number of Israeli artists and footballers at an "artistic gathering" in the UAE.

"The syndicate board fully realises the difference between official treaties to which Arab governments are committed and the public, cultural, and artistic position regarding the normalisation issue," explained the syndicate in Sunday's statement, referring to Israel as "the usurping entity."

A number of Arabic-language social media accounts run by the Israeli government posted photos of Ramadan, who they described as "the great actor," alongside several Israeli celebrities in the UAE, expressing how the arts bring nations together.

The controversy surrounding Ramadan comes weeks after the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan signed normalisation agreements with Israel.

The normalisation deals have been opposed by Palestinians and supporters of their cause worldwide. A sizable bloc of these supporters are fans of Ramadan, who is one of the most famous Egyptian and Arab artists in the world.

Over the past decade, Ramadan has garnered a sizable collection of commercially successful films, TV shows, and rap songs under his belt, and has a fanbase of tens of millions worldwide.

On Monday morning, Ramadan posted the Palestinian flag as his social media cover photo after explaining to the public that he poses for hundreds of photos with fans while visiting other countries, stressing that he "does not ask about each fan’s nationality or identity."

The UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan are the first Arab nations to sign peace deals with Israel since the Camp David Accords with Egypt in 1979 and the Wadi Araba Agreement with Jordan in 1994.

Since 1967, Israel has illegally occupied land that is recognised as rightfully Palestinian by the international community, including the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

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