A Belgian daily newspaper fired one of its columnists after he praised Sunday’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem, in which four Israeli soldiers were murdered, JTA reports Monday.
De Standaard, a left-leaning Flemish-language daily, announced that it would no longer feature columns by Dyab Abou Jahjah, a Lebanon-born activist from Belgium who has called for violent attacks on Jewish Israelis.
A day earlier, Belgian Jews took to Twitter to condemn Abou Jahjah's remarks, which included: "By any means necessary, #freepalestine," following the attack in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood in which a terrorist plowed a truck through a crowd of soldiers.
Abou Jahjah also reportedly wrote on Facebook that the attack was "not terrorism but resistance."
Abou Jahjah, a Hezbollah supporter who has accused Israel of genocide, has written a weekly column for De Standaard for the past three years.
"Debate has borders and for us the border lies short of support of violence of any kind," De Standaard wrote in an editorial on Monday announcing the dismissal.
The Forum of Jewish Organizations of Flemish Jews said in a statement Monday that it was "shocked" by Abou Jahjah's remarks and called on "certain media offering him a platform" to stop publishing his writings.
The remarks on the attack in Jerusalem are not the first time that Abou Jahjah has attacked Jews, Israelis and their supporters.
In 2015, he called Antwerp's mayor “a Zionist c***sucker” on Twitter, according to JTA. He also founded a Muslim European group that published on its website a picture of Anne Frank in bed with Adolf Hitler as well as a caricature suggesting that Jews invented the Holocaust.
The Jewish Chronicle of London has described Abou Jahjah, who famously posed for a picture while holding an AK-47 assault rifle in his native Lebanon, as a former Hezbollah combatant.
After the 9/11 attacks of 2001 in New York, Abou Jahjah spoke of his “feeling of victory.” In an interview published last year in the Dutch daily Volkskrant, Abou Jahjah defended his claim that the Israeli flag is comparable to that of Nazi Germany “because both countries practiced ethnic cleansing.”
He rejected claims that the statement and others by him were anti-Semitic.
Abou Jahjah's remarks are not the first incident of anti-Semitism in Belgium. In September, a Belgian Muslim official resigned from his position as a minister’s adviser on tolerance after he compared Israel to Nazi Germany and the Islamic State (ISIS).
The official, Youssef Kobo, offered to resign after finding he could no longer fulfill his duties.
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”.
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 elaborated, causing a furor at the comparison between those hiding in fear for their lives to those hiding so they can have the opportunity to take innocent people's lives.