Belgian newspaper corrects anti-Semitic op-ed

De Morgen newspaper removes reference to Jews as land thieves with "ugly noses" following uproar.

Ben Ariel ,

Jewish quarter in Antwerp, Belgium
Jewish quarter in Antwerp, Belgium
Flash 90

A Belgian daily that published an op-ed describing Jews as land thieves with “ugly noses” and superiority complexes removed the facial feature reference on Wednesday amid international criticism, JTA reports.

The piece by Dimitri Verhulst, published by the De Morgen newspaper, inaccurately quoted the late French-Jewish singer Serge Gainsbourg as having said “Being Jewish is not a religion, no God would give creatures such an ugly nose.”

Gainsbourg had neither mentioned God nor called Jewish noses ugly.

Rather he is believed to have said that “Being Jewish is not a religion. No religion makes you grow such a nose.” The singer appeared to be joking about being ethnically Jewish rather than religiously.

Verhulst mustered his version to suggest that God doesn’t regard Jews as “chosen” people after all.

De Morgen came under fire over the op-ed. Earlier on Wednesday, six Jewish groups led by European Jewish Association sent a letter to the Editor in Chief of the De Morgen newspaper, Bart Eeckhout, expressing concern over the op-ed and urging him to retract the article immediately and issue an apology.

Similarly, Israel’s embassy in Belgium condemned the newspaper for printing and defending the op-ed.

In removing the controversial reference, De Morgen wrote that Verhulst’s quote was “not entirely accurate.”

The editor, Bart Eeckhout, defended the op-ed on Tuesday, telling JTA that its critics were trying to silence criticism of Israel.