BBUK and BBLBIA send an open letter to the Belgian Ambassador

Report by Alan Miller and Jeremy Havardi

Your Excellency

On behalf of B’nai B’rith UK, and its advocacy arm, the London Bureau, I am writing this open letter to express our shock and outrage at last Sunday’s float at Aalst Cranaval. Part of the float featured grotesque puppets of two religious Jews, one with a rat on his shoulder, sitting on bags of money, thus invoking some of the most negative antisemitic stereotypes found in modern times. We are particularly disturbed that the local Mayor, Christoph D’Haese, has defended the float, saying that “the carnival participants had no sinister intentions.”

At a time when there are innumerable antisemitic incidents being recorded every year, it is surely important that such blatant displays of prejudice are routinely condemned by the authorities. We welcome the statement by European Commission spokesman, Margaritis Schinas, who said that it was “unthinkable that these images are paraded in European streets.”

We now call on the Belgian government to follow his lead and denounce those who organised and sanctioned this display.

Yours sincerely

Alan Miller                                                      Jeremy Havardi

National President, B’nai B’rith UK              Director, London Bureau