Toronto (October 31, 2019) - Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) has reached out to the Belgian Embassy in Canada to communicate its outrage over the antisemitic theme of an upcoming Belgian parade.
Jewish caricatures complete with ringlets, fur hats, hooked noses and gold teeth are featured on a series of ribbons created to promote the Carnival parade, which will be held in the Belgian city of Aalst in March 2020.
In a letter to Belgian Ambassador Johan Verkammen, FSWC asked him to put pressure on his government to “put an end to the shameful and dangerous display of hatefulness and antisemitism at the Aalst Carnival.”
Last year, the Aalst Carnival featured a float that depicted huge puppets of dancing Hasidic Jews standing on bags of money and covered in rats. In 2013, the same Carnival featured a float that depicted a Nazi train on its way to a death camp, with marchers dressed alternately as Jews or SS officers carrying canisters of Zyklon B, the poison used by Nazis to murder Jews in the gas chambers.
“This parade is nothing less than a grotesque celebration of antisemitism,” said Avi Benlolo, president and CEO of FSWC. “We call on the political leaders of Belgium to ask themselves whether this is really the cultural contribution they want their country to be known for around the world.”
The Aalst Carnival receives funding and other cultural support from UNESCO, the cultural organization of the United Nations. FSWC has also reached out to Canadian Ambassador to the UN Marc-André Blanchard asking him to speak out against the use of the organization’s resources to support an antisemitic event.