Saturday, 16 Nov 2019 - 18 of Heshvan, 5780

Jewish group in Belgium to file complaint against author of antisemitic column

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BRUSSELS—The Forum of Jewish Organizations (FJO) in Antwerp is going to file a complaint against a Belgian writer and columnist after he wrote an antisemitic column in a newspaper.

In the column, published in Belgian leftist daily De Morgen on July 27, Dimitri Verhulst also accused Israel of “murdering” thousands of Palestinians.

The column begins with the words: “Because God has His favorites and they have their privileges, Palestinians were driven out of their homes in 1948 to make place for God’s favorites.” He writes that “talking to the Chosen is difficult” because they accuse him unjustly, he wrote, of racism for his anti-Israel views.

He stated that ‘’being Jewish is not a religion, no God would give creatures such an ugly nose.” He misquoted French-Jewish singer Serge Gainsbourg who said, “Being Jewish is not a religion. No religion makes you grow such a nose.”

According to the Forum of Jewish Organisarions (FJO), which represents the Jewish community of the Flemish region of Belgium,  Verhulst made anti-Semitic statements.

The FJO pointed out that in his insults, Verhulst is not limited to defamation of the state of Israel, but “directly and straightforwardly targets the entire Jewish people in an anti-Semitic manner.’’
“That is a step too far,” said Hans Knoop of the Forum of Jewish Organizations. “Criticism of Israel is legitimate. Anyone can criticize Israel. How far you can go in this is subjective. But with Dimitri Verhulst it is clear: he is targeting the Jewish people as a people.’’

In a comment on Verhulst’ column, Binyomin Jacobs, Chief Rabbi of The Netherlands called it ”pure antisemitism.””The fact that there is anti-Semitism, is not new to me. But the fact that this can be published more and more frequently, the fact that anti-Semitism is getting more and more common, this makes me worried.”

In 2016, Belgian Jews complained after daily De Morgen interviewed a Holocaust denier.

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