Anti-Israel incitement and anti-Semitism were the triggers for the shooting of four innocent people on Saturday in Brussels, the Israeli leadership said. Belgian authorities also acknowledged that the attack was racially motivated.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “strongly condemns the murder that was perpetrated at the Jewish Museum in Brussels and shares in the grief of the families of the victims,” according to a press release sent on Saturday evening following the anti-Semitic terrorist act yesterday that claimed four victims.
Police are still hunting for the murderer, who entered the museum and began shooting at visitors.
The victims included Emanuel and Miriam Riba, an Israeli couple from Tel Aviv in their 50s, Israel’s Foreign Ministry confirmed. An employee and a volunteer at the museum were also killed.
Anti-Israel Incitement ‘on European Soil’ Persists, Israeli Leader Affirms
“This act of murder is the result of constant incitement against Jews and their state,” Netanyahu asserted. “Slander and lies against the State of Israel continue to be heard on European soil even as the crimes against humanity and acts of murder being perpetrated in our region are systematically ignored. Our response to this hypocrisy is to constantly state the truth, continue a relentless fight against terrorism and build up our strength.”
President Shimon Peres expressed his condolences Sunday morning in conversation with Belgian Jewish community leader Maurice Sosnowski.
“We are with you in this difficult time,” Peres said. “We share your sense of shock and profound sadness. If there is anything that we can do, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. Our heart is with you, the families and the community. Please convey my condolences to the entire community.”
Sosnowski told Peres:
“The museum is the only Jewish center not protected, as it is not exclusively a Jewish community building and so it was an easy target. This was a pre-planned attack, it wasn’t something that could be improvised. The victims were shot at the entrance to the museum. It seems that there were one or two shooters; the modus operandi reminds us of the shooting in Toulouse.”
He added that there is a great deal of worry among Belgian Jews and European Jews in general.
“Security has been increased to the highest level at all Jewish centers,” he said. “The local authorities are putting all efforts into solving this case.”
Peres, addressing European leaders, declared:
“We must act without hesitation against any form of anti-Semitism. The leaders of Europe should lead the struggle against anti-Semitism, which is rearing its head across the continent.”
European Union’s foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton “condemn[ed] unreservedly the dreadful attack today at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. I send my condolences to the families of the victims and express my solidarity with the Belgian authorities and the Jewish community. Everything possible must be done to find those who carried out this attack. There must be no impunity for terrorism.”
Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said that “while violence against Jews in Belgium is extremely rare, the attack on the Brussels Jewish Museum is another tragic reminder of the frightening atmosphere for Jews in parts of Europe.”
Foreign Minister Liberman Cites “anti-Israel Incitement and Anti-Semitism’
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman charged that the “terror attack…is the result of anti-Israel incitement and anti-Semitism expressed through, inter alia, calls to boycott Israel and Israeli products and activities against Israel in international forums and an automatic, one-sided position against Israel….
“Throughout history, anti-Semitism has taken many forms, but the basis is always the same: hatred of Jews, just because they are Jews, wherever they are, regardless of whether they live in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ariel, Hebron, Brussels or on Mars,” he continued, comparing the current Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activity against the Jewish State to calls to boycott Jewish businesses “in the dark days.”
“Aggressive action against the only democracy in the Middle East” is pure and simple anti-Semitism and “not part of a legitimate political debate” over territory, he stated.
“Recent anti-Semitic incidents in Kansas, Toulouse, and this evening in Brussels, should be a flashing warning signal to all those who cooperate with such anti-Israel incitement by rushing to condemn Israel and by comparing building a home for a Jewish family in the land of Israel with the cruel and murderous terrorist activity of anti-Semites,” the Israeli foreign minister declared.
Written by: Atara Beck
Staff Writer, United with Israel