Antwerp Mayor Bart De Wever attended the biannual convention of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) which is being held in his city this week.
Mayor De Wever said that it was an "honor" to host the CER.
"I see it as a token of trust of the Jewish community that they come here. We call ourselves the 'Jerusalem of the north.' We've had a Jewish community since the 14th century. Jews can call the city their home. We cherish their presence, and the fact that the Conference is coming here is a great honor," De Wever said.
He related an incident in which he was accosted by anti-Israel protesters who demanded that he support the BDS campaign against the Jewish State.
"They forced me out of my car, accusing me of being a friend of Israel," he recalled. "So anti-Semitism has found new expressions, new faces. It's to the left of the political spectrum We have to be aware of this and we simply have to stand together. We have to denounce it. We have to say no. Not here, not in Antwerp. Never again."
"I see myself as a friend of Israel. I have no problem whatsoever saying that.|"