Belgian Muslim resigns over comparing Israel, ISIS

Youssef Kobo resigns as a minister’s adviser on tolerance after his social media posts comparing Israel to the Nazis and ISIS were exposed.

Ben Ariel and JTA,

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Flag of Belgium
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A Belgian Muslim official who compared Israel to Nazi Germany and the Islamic State (ISIS) has resigned from his position as a minister’s adviser on tolerance, JTA reported Tuesday.

Youssef Kobo, the adviser on diversity for the minister in charge of equal opportunity in the regional government of Brussels, offered to resign after finding he could no longer fulfill his duties, a ministry spokesperson was quoted as having told the local HLN news website.

Kobo had apologized for his vitriol against Israel, which he said was a modern Nazi Germany and “an identical twin” of the ISIS terrorist group.

He said he was “young and stupid” when he wrote the Facebook posts in 2014, which he said he “regrets,” the La Capitale daily reported.

The newspaper had contacted Kobo, 28, following criticism by the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism.

However, in recent days Belgian media discovered earlier tweets, in which he proposed to slaughter activists working to prevent the ritual slaughter of animals, according to JTA.

“What if we compromise on slaughtering Gaia-activists instead of sheep?” he wrote, in what he later dismissed as an inappropriate joke. Gaia is the mythological spirit of Earth.

Kobo had referenced ISIS in posting a caricature of Israel cutting the throat of Gaza, where Israel in the summer of 2014 carried out strikes against the Hamas terrorist group as part of the counterterrorism Operation Protective Edge.

Kobo said of a video of Israeli troops: “21st century Nazis.”

He told La Capitale that he was “very emotional” following the strikes in Gaza, which followed rocket fire by Hamas on Israel.

Joel Rubinfeld, the president of the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, said Kobo’s statements make him unfit to advise on tolerance and especially on anti-Semitism.

“He can’t be both fireman and fire starter,” Rubinfeld told La Capitale, noting that Israel is connected to the phenomenon often called “new anti-Semitism,” in which anti-Israel sentiment becomes a veil for anti-Semitism.

The phenomenon of new anti-Semitism has been prevalent throughout Europe, and was particularly evident during the 2014 fighting in Gaza.

In France at the time, Muslim extremists attacked several synagogues, and leftist and Islamist rioters torched Jewish-owned businesses and clashed with police as authorities there have struggled to contain the wave of hate.

In Holland, anti-Israel marchers have called to "slaughter the Jews" and several violent attacks were reported, including one Jewish woman who was subjected to death-threats and firebombs for hanging an Israeli flag outside her home.

Germany as well saw vocally anti-Semitic demonstrations during the summer of 2014. During one such march, extremists called to "slit Jews' throats" and attempted to attack anyone visibly Jewish. At least one synagogue was firebombed, and a Berlin imam called to kill "Zionist Jews".

The incident involving Kobo marked the second time in recent months that a Belgian official has made remarks with anti-Semitic connotations.

In April, Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon compared the Muslim terrorists who were hiding in Brussels with the Jews who hid in World War II.

Asked in an interview how it was possible that the terrorist network which was behind the attacks in Brussels could hide for a long time in the heart of Brussels, Jambon replied, "Someone who is hiding and receiving support from the population, can remain hidden a long time.”

“There are Jewish people who went into hiding for years... and (the Nazi) regime never found them,” he added.




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