Two Jewish organizations slammed a report in a Belgian daily on last week’s private visit of Prince Laurent of Belgium to the Jewish state which, they say, '''is akin to a new demonization of the State of Israel,'' The European Jewish Press (EJP) reported.
Prince Laurent visited Israel last week as part of a delegation sponsored by the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF). He received a diploma for his initiatives in the sector of environment and planted a tree in the "Forest of Belgium" near Jerusalem.
However, the visit sparked controversy in Belgium. In the article in Le Soir, KKL is described as "a Zionist group which is subject to criticism for exploiting the villages deserted by the Palestinians.”
In a statement, CCOJB, the umbrella representative group of Jewish organizations in Belgium, and the European Jewish Congress (EJC) strongly condemned what they called “an attack against the reforestation in Israel and the Prince’s visit,'' the EJP reported.
“Moreover, the visit was agreed with the Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders,” they added.
They continue to state that, “For the record, KKL-JNF is an organization that has allowed Israel to reforest swamps and deserts across the country and continues its mission of planting trees."
The Jewish organizations further denounced this ''attack against Israel'' and the newspaper's ‘’militant attitude in delegitimizing’’ the Jewish State ‘’in total defiance with journalistic ethic,” according to the EJP.
In a press release, Prince Laurent regretted that "the work of many people of good faith is denatured" and denounced the raising of "imaginary problems."
He also said he has been ‘’discredited for over 25 years by some people whose motivation is not necessarily within the best interests of the state.’’
He further specified that during his visit he met with Jewish, Arab and Christian people ‘’whose work is systematically ignored by those who feel they must interfere in the normal and transparent course of the work by the Prince abroad,” EJP reported.