US/World News

The Belgium parade antisemitism controversy continues

(JTA) – Back in March, a parade in Belgium provoked international uproar for a float that featured giant Orthodox Jewish figures grinning on top of bags of money. Revelers there danced to a song about money composed by the organizers, who said the float was a protest of rising living costs. An array of Jewish groups condemned it as classically antisemitic, but the float’s designers and the mayor of Aalst, the city in which the parade was held, defended the display, saying that it was not created with malicious intent. So far, the organizers behind the 2020 parade have already hurt their cause: they have printed out mocking caricatures of Jews on ribbons meant to be worn at the event. One of the ribbons shows a red-headed Orthodox Jew with golden teeth and is captioned: “UNESCO, what a joke” – a reference to the United Nations group, which condemned the float at the parade in March.

The annual parade was added in 2010 to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. UNESCO is currently deliberating over whether to remove the event from its list over the float.

Other ribbons show Orthodox Jews with red, hooked noses.

Hans Knoop, spokesperson for the Forum on Jewish Organizations of Belgium’s Flemish Region, called the 2020 caricatures “pure provocation” and a “manifestation of antisemitism.” 

The 2013 event featured prisoners and Nazis holding canisters of poison gas.

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