Belgian apologizes for comparing Israel to Nazis

Belgian Muslim official apologizes for saying Israel was a modern Nazi Germany and “an identical twin” of the ISIS.

JTA and Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Flag of Belgium
Flag of Belgium

A Belgian Muslim official in charge of promoting tolerance has apologized after saying Israel was a modern Nazi Germany and “an identical twin” of the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, JTA reported Tuesday.

Youssef Kobo, the adviser on diversity for the minister in charge of equal opportunity in the regional government of Brussels, said he was “young and stupid” when he wrote the Facebook posts in 2014, which he said he “regrets,” according to the La Capitale daily.

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

He 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.

He works for a minister in the government of one of the three autonomous regions that make up the federal kingdom of Belgium, according to JTA.

Bart de Wever, the mayor of Antwerp, which is the capital of Belgium’s Flemish Region, last month told the Joods Actueel Jewish monthly he finds Kobo’s appointment “troubling” also because Kobo, according to de Wever, recently published a tweet about the shooting of police officers in the United States in which he wrote “a shot for a shot.”

De Wever said it means Kobo justifies the shootings as retribution for perceived police brutality, especially against blacks.

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 was quoted as having told La Capitale.

The incident involving Kobo marks 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.