Game Pitted 'Little Palestinians' vs. 'Mean Jew'

Belgian university issues apology after philosophy and literature departments plan blatantly anti-Semitic game for orientation.

Tova Dvorin,

Anti-Israel protest in Belgium (file)
Anti-Israel protest in Belgium (file)
Flash 90

The University of Liege in Belgium has established a pedagogic team to sensitize students to race issues, university officials told Belga news agency Friday, after a "game" planned for philosophy and literature students had anti-Semitic overtones. 

The game, an orientation activity for freshmen planned for October 18, called the students "little Palestinians" and challenged them to “watch out for the big, mean Jew and to settle in safely and happily, if possible.”

After a pamphlet with the instruction leaked, sparking an uproar, the university’s rector, Albert Corhay, demanded the event be canceled and that organizers publicly apologize.

"We cannot accept this insult in the form of a folkloric activity," Corhay said, in a statement. "There can be no question of hiding behind satire or humor. The nature of this activity is simply ignominious.”  

The Union of Jewish Students of Belgium (UEJB) also condemned the activity.

"The student body has a tradition of humorous initiations," it said. "Here, however, we are dealing with something else: a Manichaean and anti-Semitic vision of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

On Friday, the committee responsible for planning the student event distanced itself from "any intention to express anti-Semitic sentiments" and condemned anti-Semitism, in a release attached to Corhay's statement. The union of Jewish Students in Belgium also signed off on the apology. 

Belgian Jewry has been shaken in recent months by a surge in anti-Semitism that has engulfed most of Europe.

In May, the community was rocked by an anti-Semitic terrorist attack in which an Islamist gunman, Mehdi Nemmouche, opened fire with an assault rifle in the Brussels Jewish Museum, killing four people.

And last month, visitors to a Holocaust memorial in Brussels were attacked by thugs who threw stones and bottles at them, according to media reports

One week later, a nearby synagogue was set ablaze in yet another anti-Semitic attack. 




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