Belgium’s recent local elections triggered “an unprecedented wave of manifestations of anti-Semitism,” according to the country’s organization of French-speaking Jews.
The Oct. 14 election and the campaign that preceded it “were characterized by a flood of anti-Semitic events the likes of which we have never before seen,” Maurice Sosnowski, president of the CCOJB, said in a statement on Wednesday.
In Schaarbeek, a municipality near Brussels, “candidates who belonged to the Jewish community were attacked for their affiliation” and the municipality saw a “hate campaign under the pretext of anti-Zionism,” according to Sosnowski.
On Oct. 8 Belgian Health Minister Laurette Onkelinx complained to police about a pamphlet naming Yves Goldstein, a Jewish member of her party who contended for a seat on the city council of Schaarbeek, an “enemy of Islam.” The Turkish-language pamphlet called him “an active Zionist and an enemy of Islam,” Onkelinx said at a news conference.
The pamphlet was preceded by email warnings to voters to cast ballots against Onkelinx’s and Goldstein’s Socialist Party. Doing so, the email said, would be like “stabbing Palestinians in the back.”
Local politicians have been less resolute than Onkelinx in condemning this “hate speech,” according to the CCOJB statement.