Furor Grows Over Belgian Journalist's Antisemitic Article

August 12, 2019

Journalist Dimitri Verhulst wrote in the Belgian daily, De Morgen, on July 27, that “Being Jewish is not a religion, no God would give creatures such an ugly nose.”

Belgian Jews have filed a police complaint after a Belgian journalist wrote in an opinion piece, “There is no promised land, only stolen land,” and commented on the stereotype of "Jewish noses."
Journalist Dimitri Verhulst wrote in the Belgian daily, De Morgen, on July 27, that “Being Jewish is not a religion, no God would give creatures such an ugly nose.”
He misquoted French singer Serge Gainsbourg who said, “Being Jewish is not a religion. No religion makes you grow such a nose.” Gainsbourg was the child of Russian Jewish immigrants to France.
Verhulst also accused Israel of murdering 10,000 Palestinians since 2002.
De Morgen Editor-in-Chief, Bart Eeckhout, attempted to defend the actions of the paper, saying, "We clearly do not view the text as antisemitic. Otherwise we wouldn’t have published it. Neither did the author intend it as antisemitic," JTA reported. "The op-ed surely is a harsh criticism on Israel’s politics toward the Palestinian people. It is written in a hard, sarcastic fashion and it foretells the current uproar, stating that any hard criticism on Israel will always be reinterpreted as antisemitism," Eeckhout is quoted as saying.
Verhulst constantly uses sarcastic language during his article, questioning the Jews status as the "chosen" people and wrote "Because God has His favorites and they have their privileges, Palestinians were driven out of their homes in 1948 to make place for God’s favorites."
The Simon Wiesenthal Center responded to the article by writing a direct letter to Eeckhout. The letter stated that, "The article blames the whole of the Jewish people collectively, making no distinction between Israel and Jewish people who live elsewhere, and furthermore it mocks their religion and equates being a Jew with creatures with 'ugly noses.'"
The letter continued, "Manipulating and misquoting Serge Gainsbourg in saying 'being a Jew is not a religion; there is not a single God who would give His creatures such an ugly nose' is misleading and wrong. In his article, Verhulst not only serves the stereotype of Jews’ nose, propagated by Goebbels and Streicher in "Der Stürmer", he deliberately distorted the irony in Gainsbourg's quote in order to justify his own anti-Semitism."
Eeckhout is also reminded that to blame all of the Jewish people for "real or imaginary wrongdoings committed by individuals or the State of Israel falls within the IHRA working definition of antisemitism," and he is asked to retract the article and apologize.
The letter was signed by Menachem Margolin, European Jewish Association and Shimon Samuels, Simon Wiesenthal Center among other signatories including B'nai B'rith Europe, Commissioner Against Antisemitism of Jewish Community of Berlin and the Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands.

The article was published on the JPost

Additional Articles

Serbia Joins Ranks of Countries Who Have Adopted International Antisemitism Definition

Serbia has become the latest country to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.
The Israeli Embassy in Belgrade tweeted on Monday, “We welcome the decision [of the] @SerbianGov to accept the working definition of anti-Semitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance @IHRA which will help Serbia in recognizing and prosecuting cases of this dangerous phenomenon.”
Before World War II, Serbia had a Jewish population of over 30,000 people. The community was decimated by the Holocaust, with 2/3 of its members murdered by the Nazis.
After the war, most of the survivors emigrated from the country, largely to Israel.
Fewer than 1,000 Jews live in Serbia today.
The IHRA definition says, “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
The article was published on the Algemeiner

“You All Say ‘Never Again’, Make It So”, Urges Rabbi Menachem Margolin

AHEAD OF MUNICH AUCTION TOMORROW, EUROPEAN JEWISH CHIEF CALLS ON GERMAN POLITICAL LEADERS TO BAN SALE OF NAZI MEMORABILIA
AND PUT BUYERS ON WATCH LIST
“You all say ‘Never Again’, make it so”, urges Rabbi Menachem Margolin .
At 10am today morning (CET) a major Munich based auction house Hermann Historica is conducting an online sale of personal items such as cutlery sets, jewellery and signed letters and photographs belonging to the leadership of the Nazi Party – Himmler, Goring and Hitler himself among them.
European Jewish Association (EJA) Chairman Rabbi Menachem has written to the leadership of all of Germany’s mainstream political parties to put in place legislation that will ban the public sale of such items and - in the meantime - compel sellers to divulge the names of buyers so that they can be kept on government watch lists in the interests of public safety.
In his letter to all the political leaders, the EJA Chief suggested that the authorities would want to know who was buying the personal items of Osama Bin Laden, Anders Breivik or Stephan Ernst for public safety reasons, and those glorifying, sentimentalising or adulating the Nazis are every bit as dangerous.
Rabbi Margolin wrote,
“Almost every week we at the European Jewish Association are having to respond to attacks on community buildings and more worryingly still, physical or verbal attacks on Jews themselves. Alarmingly, it is Germany that leads Europe in the sheer volume of reported anti-Semitic incidents.
“Selling such items should be no different to selling the personal items belonging to Osama Bin Laden, or Anders Breivik. The argument of historical interest is pure semantics. As political representatives concerned with the wellbeing and safety of your citizens, we cannot help wonder if you would not want to know who was buying Bin Laden’s fruit bowl or Stephan Ernst’s photographs and why they would even want them.
“In waiting for a ban to be put in place, we urge the German authorities to compel auction houses to divulge the names of those who are buying such material, in order to know whose hands they have fallen into. The names should then be put on a government ‘watch’ list, for public safety.
“Six Million Jewish lives were lost during the Nazi regime. Today an increasing number of Jewish lives are being lost and more are threatened because of the “oldest hatred”.
“Politicians are wont to say ‘never again’. We urge you to make it so.”

Federal Chancellor of Austria Blessings for Rosh HaShanah

The EJA warmly thanks Federal Chancellor of Austria, H.E. Sebastian Kurz for His Excellency's kind wishes to the European Jewry in light of the recent holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

Ambassadors are Like Rabbis: Reflections from Our Advisory Board Member Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (NL) writes a diary, on request of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam,  which is published on the website of the NIW, the only Jewish Dutch Magazine. Rabbi Jacobs is the head of Inter Governmental Relationships at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. We will be regularly publishing a selection of his informative, sometimes light hearted, but always wise pieces.
For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl and then: scroll down.
Ambassadors are like Rabbis…
Today was all about abroad. The Ambassador of Hungary had invited me to lunch at his embassy. We have known each other for a few years, meet from time to time and so again today. Reason for the visit? No. Just catching up again about kosher slaughter, which was threatening to become a problem in Poland and the relationship between Hungary and Israel.
Because it would not be exactly easy to arrange a kosher meal at the Hungarian embassy, ​we (my wife and I) invited him to lunch with us.
So,the ambassador came to Amersfoort and we not to The Hague. Not wanting to come empty-handed, he brought a huge bouquet of flowers and a bottle of kosher wine.
How did he get that wine? The ambassador called his friend Naor (the ambassador of Israel) and he arranged for a bottle of kosher Israeli wine from the IPC - the Israel Products Center - in Nijkerk to be delivered to the Hungarian embassy that morning. And because the Ambassador of Hungary did not know about the existence of the IPC, which is ten minutes from my house, I took him there after lunch. Of course I made sure that in addition to the tour and explanation about the objective of IPC and Christians for Israel, he also received a pack of cookies. Because: tomorrow the ambassador of Israel will visit the Hungarian ambassador and then it seemed nice that I then pay back the bottle of wine via a roll of kosher Israeli biscuits.
Apart from that, I gave the ambassador a mask with “I love Israel” on it, so that the Hungarian ambassador can wear it when the Israeli ambassador comes to make his appearance.
Networking is something like that. Usually it does not deliver on the spot, but is important nonetheless. Ambassadors do no different, and are a bit like rabbis, at least my kind of rabbis.
Because I believe that the rabbi is of course primarily there for the Jewish community in its full breadth. But for that Jewish community, contact with outside that community is also of vital importance, because we are part of the wider society: Noah had to leave the Ark by order of Gd!
Apart from the importance for the Jewish community, we also have a duty, in my opinion, to contribute to the well-being of the surrounding society. Yesterday I had a visit from another kind of ambassador, namely Dr. Pieter de Boer, member of the deputy Church and Israel of the CGK-Christelijk Gereformeerde Kerken- and spokesperson of the Interkerkelijke Werkgroep. That Working Group had drawn up a statement of guilt on the attitude of the churches during and shortly after the war. Today, that statement of guilt was officially released.
Although for me such a debt declaration is not really necessary, I was especially touched by the comment about what went wrong after the war. My grandfather and grandmother's nephews and nieces were not allowed to be raised with my grandfather and grandmother, but were to remain in the Christian homes where they had been in hiding. Of course, those parents had bonded with the kids, saved their lives, but ... they really hadn't given up their murdered parents with the intention of being raised as Christians.
And whilst with the ambassador: a phone call from Ukraine. One of the rabbis was in a conflict with Christians for Israel supporting him with an adoption project. People in the Netherlands adopt a poverty-stricken Jewish family in Ukraine for € 25 per month. In Kirovograd, communication between the Dutch donors and the local rabbi did not go well. And so I get a call from the rabbi and start mediating or solving, as a kind of ambassador of whom I really don't know, but I am somewhere in between.
After the necessary phone calls, I hope that I have been able to straighten everything out again and that it also runs smoothly in Kirovograd. What is difficult here is that the local rabbi speaks fluent Russian, but no Yiddish, poor English and not optimal Hebrew, and certainly no Dutch! But I believe I've been able to tie things together again. In the meantime, I am waiting for the results of an archival investigation to confirm someone's Jewishness. I feel that it can be checked that way, but not everyone shares my opinion that (almost) everything should be tackled immediately. In principle, I always answer e-mail immediately.
As a result, I sometimes spend late at night behind that stupid computer that has been controlling my whole life!
But Good news! At least in my opinion. Because, of course, it is really not the case that a hundred listeners are more important than ten at a lecture, and the same goes for the number of readers of my diaries, still, I have to admit my weakness in this, I like that my diaries are getting wide read. And so: Good news for me! Coincidentally (although I really believe that coincidence does not exist) the EJA –European Jewish Association- saw one of my diaries, translated it with Google and asked permission to post this diary a few times a week on their website and their Facebook. And thus more readers. My diary is going European!

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