BRUSSELS—Two Jewish community representative groups in Belgium expressed anger and misunderstanding after a Carnival parade in the streets of the Belgian city of Aalst featured giant antisemitic puppets of Jews with hooked noses and the chests full of money.
‘’At best, it is a disgraceful lack of discernment, especially given the rising context of anti-Semitism in our country and the world, at worst the reproduction of antisemitic caricatures from the Nazi era. We have reported these elements to Unia (the anti-racist organisaiton in Berlgium) and are going to contact the organizers and the competent authorities to denoince theser concrete acts for the coming years,’’ the two groups, the Antwerp-based Forum of Jewish organisations, and Brussels-based CCOJB said in a statement.
The puppets have been created by the group Vismooil’n for the Aalst carnival – the local edition of celebrations that take place throughout the Catholic world ahead of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter. Participants prepare floats and dance routines, parading them through town on Carnaval.
The group chose the theme of Orthodox Jews to address rising prices. The display, titled “Shabbat Year,” features two giant puppets wearing the fur hats favored by some haredi Orthodox Jews and pink suits. They both have sidelocks. One of the puppets is grinning while smoking a cigar and extending a hand, presumably to collect money. That puppet has a white rat on his right shoulder. Both puppets are standing on gold coins and have money bags at their feet.
According to a report, the author of the Aalst procession is Johan de Plecker, a former employee of the Education Ministry who has a Facebook page titled ”De Vismooil’n.”