Monday, 13 Jul 2020 - 21 of Tammuz, 5780

Brussels Mayor condemns calls for ‘war against the Jews’ heard during pro-Palestinian rally in Brussels, asks Police to investigate the incidents

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‘’It appears that during the demonstration, individuals took advantage of this rally to openly call for hatred while chanting anti-Semitic words. Such words are intolerable and do not reflect the spirit of our capital where 184 nationalities coexist,” Philippe Close said.

The Mayor of Brussels, Philippe Close, condemned calls for a ”war against the Jews” heard during a pro-Palestinian rally in Brussels on Sunday. He asked Police to investigate the incidents.

‘’It appears that during the demonstration, individuals took advantage of this rally to openly call for hatred while chanting anti-Semitic words. Such words are intolerable and do not reflect the spirit of our capital where 184 nationalities coexist.  As Mayor, I strongly condemn this type of slippage. I asked Police to investigate these incidents which have no place in Brussels,’’ he declared.

Around 500 people, some waving Palestinian flags, who rallied around Place du Trône, close to the King’s Palace,  to denounce plans to apply Israeli sovereignty to parts of the West Bank. They called for a boycott of Israel and the implementation of international sanctions against the country.

A video shared on Twitter showed a group of demonstrators chanting the slogan  “’Khaybar, khaybar, Ya ya’ud, jaysh Muhammad sawfa ya’ud (“Khaybar, Khaybar oh Jews, the army of Muhammad will return.”).

 This slogan, which refers to a symbol of Muslim domination over the Jews, had led  to a criminal conviction, confirmed on appeal, for similar acts in Antwerp in 2014.

Another slogan shouted during the rally aimed at “liberating Palestine” through the destruction of Israel (“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”).

The video led to angry reactions from readers. ‘’Scandalous; It is an incitement to hatred.’’ ‘’It is incredible that this is allowed to be screamed in total impunity in the capital of  Europe.’’ ‘’Under the pretext of anti-Zionism, they hate the Jews and call for their extermination.’’ .’’Is Belgium still a country or a caliphate?.’’

The Belgian League Against Antisemitism said they have decided ‘’to file a complaint against X for incitement to hatred on the basis of ethnicity, so that police identify the demonstrators who chanted anti-Semitic slogans and that justice does its job.”

The league also called on the Belgian-Palestinian Association, which organized Sunday’s demonstration,  to strongly condemn the abuses. “The ABP must also exclude the people behind these slogans from their next demonstrations. We hold them responsible on a moral level,’’ stated the league’s President Joël Rubinfeld.

The Belgian-Palestinian Association, for its part, denounced the ‘’slanders’’ against it. The group  recalled that ‘’it has always been intractable in the face of this type of excesses and that anti-Semitism also harms the Palestinian cause.’’

During the rally, flags of Intal, a ”solidarity organisation denouncing the occupation of Palestine” and that openly supports the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanctions) movement, were also displayed.

Belgium’s House of Representatives last week adopted a resolution calling on the government to prepare ”counter-measures” against the Israeli annexation plan.

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