From Al Arabiya:
The third annual International Belly Dance Festival in Marrakech, has stirred controversy in Morocco after it was announced that Israel will partake in the event.
The Mediterranean Delight Festival has been met by a surge of objections whether by Marrakech youths who refuse to have Israeli participants in their city or by rights organizations that oppose normalization of ties with the Jewish state.
Statements lashing out at the festival started with the appearance of two Israeli names on the list of participants: Belly dancer and belly dancing trainer Simona Guzman and stylist and owner of an Israeli belly dancing school Asi Haskal.
Both are among a group of belly dance experts who will be assigned the mission of training participating dancers as well as organizing workshops about the mechanisms of belly dancing and belly dancing performances as part of the festival’s activities.
Several pages were created on social networking website Facebook condemning Israelis on Moroccan soil and considering the festival a form of normalization that is done by the organizers against the will of the people.
What made things worse, critics argued, is that the official website was translated into eight languages including Hebrew but excluding Arabic.
Some also objected to the festival altogether on the grounds that it violates the values of a conservative society like Morocco and encourages the “propagation of vice,” as they put it.
The pictures of belly dancers on the website, they added, offers insight into the “indecency” the event is bound to promote.
Political and religious calls for cancelling the festival, due to take place May 10-14, have been gaining ground amid speculations over the reaction of the festival administration which has not yet made any official comment.
The second edition of Mediterranean Delight, also held in Marrakech after Turkey’s refusal to host the festival, also saw many objections by residents of the city who staged protests in front of the hotel where the festival was held. A group called Moroccan Youths of the Third Palestinian Uprising was among the protestors.
One of the Israelis, Simona Guzman, is the producer of the festival. Somehow I don't think she's going to cave to pressure so easily. Here she is performing:
Asi Haskal has his own website. Here is one of his performances (so I don't get accused of only pandering to my male audience):
Another Israeli who will be there is Anabel: