We cannot remain silent when vicious displays of anti-Semitism and a mockery of Jews and other groups, reminiscent of the Nazi era, are tolerated!
On Sunday, the Belgian city of Aalst hosted an annual parade that included floats displaying bulbous-nosed Jewish puppets standing on money bags, marchers dressed in Klu Klux Klan costumes, and young Europeans donning blackface makeup.
A float called “Shabbat Year” included two giant puppets with massive noses, dressed in traditional Hasidic garb and surrounded by coins, money bags and rats.
The display was widely condemned. “It is unthinkable that such imagery is being paraded on European streets 70 years after the Holocaust,” the European Commission stated, according to JTA.
“The caricatures, like those of Der Stürmer, of Jews with a crooked nose and suitcases, are typical of the Nazism of 1939,” a spokesperson for Belgium’s Forum of Jewish Organizations said.
However, Christoph D’Haese, mayor of the Belgian city Aalst, which hosted the parade, said that “it should be allowed.”
“[I]t’s not up to [me] to forbid” such displays,” he added, arguing that the “the carnival participants had no sinister intentions,” reported Het Laatste Nieuws. On social media, the mayor praised the “wonderful” event.
The annual carnival at which the anti-Semitic float was displayed was honored back in 2010 by being added to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
UNESCO on Wednesday condemned Belgian authorities for tolerating the display.
“We call on the Belgian authorities to react to the recent transgressions that occurred at the Aalst Carnival, an element inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2010,” UNESCO said in a statement.
Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, UNESCO’s assistant director-general for culture, said that “the satirical spirit of the Aalst Carnival and freedom of expression cannot serve as a screen for such manifestations of hatred. These indecent caricatures go against the values of respect and dignity embodied by UNESCO and are counter to the principles that underpin the intangible heritage of humanity.”
We cannot remain silent! Make your voices heard!
Contact Mayor Christoph D’Haese and tell him his response was truly shocking!
Contact Justice Minister Koen Geens. Tell him the participants must be indicted!