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Op-Ed: Brussels, Hotbed of Jew-Hatred

Belgium does not only support criticism of Israel. Its target is Jews.
Published: Saturday, May 24, 2014 11:00 PM


Three killed outside the Jewish museum of Brussels.

There is nothing shocking in this terror attack. The EU's capital is a factory for Jew-hatred.

The daily De Morgen published the results of a survey among young Muslims in Brussels high schools. It finds that fully half “can be described as anti-Semitic, which is a very high rate”, says VUB sociologist Mark Elchardus.

Meanwhile, Belgian authorities have declared war on Judaism. A Belgian court in the city of Antwerp has forced a Jewish Orthodox school for girls, affiliated with a hassidic sect, to admit the two sons of an anti-Zionist hareidi militant who attended the Holocaust denial conference in Tehran in 2006 and was photographed kissing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

And as the illiberal and coercive Belgian society presumes to strip Judaism of its ability to define itself in religious terms, Jewish students at the European school, the most prestigious in Brussels, where children of European representatives are sent, are harassed over their support for Israel.

It’s notֲ coincidental that the U.S. ambassador to Belgium blamed Israel for anti-Semitism among Muslims. Howard Gutman said “a distinction should be made between traditional anti-Semitism, which should be condemned, and Muslim hatred for Jews, which stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians”.


Most of the public comments on Israel by Belgian officials read like Hamas communiques.
This is the atmosphere which led to the attack in front of Jewish museum.

Most of the public comments on Israel by Belgian officials read like Hamas communiques.

But it is not only the Muslims.  Karel De Gucht, the European Commissioner for Trade and a former Belgian foreign minister, on Belgian Flemish public radio,ֲ launched intoֲ a tirade against the Jews:

“Do not underestimate the Jewish lobby on Capitol Hill”, Mr. De Gucht said. “There is indeed a belief—it’s difficult to describe it otherwise—among most Jews that they are right”, he said. “And it’s not so much whether these are religious Jews or not.ֲ Secular Jews also share the same belief that they are right. So it is not easy to have, even with moderate Jews, a rational discussion about what is actually happening in the Middle East”.

Belgian officials don't simply support “criticism of Israel” or “anti-Zionism”: Mr. De Gucht’s target was Jews.

Belgium, which became one of the first Western countries to grant the PLO an embassy - in Brussels, emerged as the most vociferous European demonizer of Israel. The day after his assassination, Shaykh Ahmad Yassin was represented in a popular Flemish daily (Nieuwsblad) in a Christ-like pose.

Belgium’s policies aren’t driven by pro-Arab realpolitik, but by deeply held anti-Semitic attitudes. Commerce with the Arab-Islamic world accounts for only a small fraction of Belgium’s trade balance. The Belgian hatred for Israel is denationalized, secularized, internationalist, universalist and third-worldist.

Belgium and Austria were the only two EU countries to vote in favor of a UN-led anti-Semitic investigation of “West Bank settlements”.

In a prominently displayed editorial in the Belgium newspaper Le Soir, a vice-president of the Senate foreign affairs committee asked: “Isn’t Israel’s intransigent rejection of a just peace glaring proof the Zionist project is bankrupt?”. The writer typically went on toֲ list similarities between “the Jews” and the Afrikaners’ Apartheid regime.

Local Jews also have a national responsibilityֲ for appeasing hatred instead of fighting it. The Umbrella Organization of Jewish Institutions of Belgium just hosted André Flahaut, president of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives, as a guest of honor at a gala dinner. Flahaut – a former defense minister and senior Socialist Party official – compared Israel to the Nazis. Why did the Belgian Jews honor such a self professed anti-Semite?

There is some hope that this will change after this horrible assassination in Brussels.

In Antwerp, the famous “Belgian Jerusalem”, a highly respected and government-funded Catholic school, the College of the Sacred Heart, hosted a “Palestine Day”, replete with anti-Semitic references and activities for youngsters. At one stall at the event titled “Throw the soldiers into the sea”, children were invited to throw replicas of Jewish and Israeli soldiers into two large tanks of water.

Belgians love to incite against Israeli Jews. They did the same before there was an Israel.

During the onset and aftermath of the Black Death (1348-49), Belgian Jews were slaughtered by the local populace and authorities who blamed them for poisoning the wells to cause the plague. Only a handful of families survived, most of whom were burned at the stake in 1370, charged with desecrating the Host (the wafers used in Christian communion).

In 1940, the Belgian Jews were burned in Auschwitz with the voluntary participation of the Belgian authorities. Seventy years later, Belgian pupils are learning how to target Israeli flags, effigies of an Antwerp Hassid, a synagogue, the Maccabi sports club – and ultimately, to kill Israelis.

Last year, while the Belgian authorities were opening the Jewish museum in the building that once served as a Nazi station, passengers on a train in Brussels got a shock as the following announcement came over the speaker, “Welcome to the train to Auschwitz. The Jews are asked to get off at Buchenwald”.

Then, during the Nazi era, Belgian Jews were used as guinea pigs in medical experiments. They are now targeted by Belgians as political and moral guinea pigs in terror attacks.

In Brussels as in Samaria.

The great poet Charles Baudelaire wrote in 1864: "The Belgians are fools, liars, and thieves... Here deceit is the rule and brings no dishonor... Don't ever believe what people say about the good nature of the Belgians. Ruse, defiance, false affability, crudeness, treachery - now all of that, you can believe.

He forgot to add anti-Semitism.