Is Aalst Carnival’s Theme for 2020: “UNESCO Controlled by the Jews”? Intangible Cultural Heritage Status Must Not Be A Camouflage For Hate

October 24, 2019

Paris - In a letter to Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, recalled his denunciation, in 2013, of the Aalst Carnival float “for antisemitic stereotypes in portraying actors as SS and their victims in the blue and white striped garb of concentration camp inmates,” adding, “the 2019 float was even worse in displaying Jews in Orthodox dress grasping gold coins and carrying rats, redolent of the scenes of Nazi propaganda films and publications.”
The letter continued, “Our Centre, together with other anti-racist organizations, protested the vicious nature of the float and called for the Carnival to be stripped of its UNESCO Intangible Heritage status. The Bureau for Intangible Cultural Heritage met at UNESCO headquarters to discuss this travesty and several member-States ruled that the issue be put on the Agenda of the next Committee meeting in Colombia in December.”

We understand that representatives of the Carnival and of the Aalst municipality came to Paris to argue the validity of their float, stating that “it would always offend someone.”...“Meanwhile the government of Belgium has postponed a promised position paper on a matter that raises the shadow of Belgian WW2 collaboration in the deportation of its Jews to their deaths in Auschwitz and other extermination camps,” argued Samuels.
The Wiesenthal Centre expressed shock that, “This week, the Aalst Carnival organizers demonstrated their lack of remorse by releasing preview images for the 2020 edition on, ‘UNESCO and the Jews,’ under the slogan ‘UNESCO, What a Farce’.”
Apparently, 150 different carnival ribbons are being distributed on this theme, most portraying Jewish stereotypes - scullcaps, ringlet side curls, hooked noses and even gold teeth, all standing on an imitation of the UNESCO logo.

For further information, contact Shimon Samuels at +33 147 237 637, join the Center on Facebook,, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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