Wiesenthal Centre Urges Newly Appointed Belgian Prime Minister to Condemn Aalst Antisemitic Float

October 29, 2019

Paris - In a letter to newly appointed Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, congratulated her appointment, bringing to her attention, "the international outrage at the antisemitic floats at the Aalst Carnaval," describing the pernicious situation :

"- In 2013, actors playing SS with their victims in blue and white striped concentration camp garb with cannisters marked Zyklon B gas.

- In 2019, the float displayed Jews in Orthodox garb grasping gold coins and carrying rats, redolent of Nazi propaganda film and publications. 

- Last week, the Aalst Carnaval organisers expressed their lack of remorse by releasing preview images for the 2020 edition, which will focus on 'UNESCO and the Jews', under the slogan, 'UNESCO, What a Farce'.

- Here is the array of carnival ribbons distributed as a foretaste for next year's float of Jewish stereotypes: skull caps, Hasidic hats and clothes, pronounced noses and even gold teeth - recalling 'zahngold' (gold teeth taken from the mouths of Jewish corpses between the gas chambers and the crematoria."

The letter explained, "The campaign against UNESCO is due to the Intangible Cultural Heritage status of Aalst and its carnival, a status that the Simon Wiesenthal Centre considers undeserved, demised by this travesty."

"We are calling for Aalst to be delisted at the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Assembly in Bogotá Colombia in December."

The Centre advised the Prime Minister, "While most of the Bureau member-States have recommended delisting, we are aware that Belgium officials are, reportedly lobbying for a simple rebuke."

"As the first woman and Jewish Prime Minister of Belgium, we know of your commitment to fight antisemitism and Holocaust."

We urge you to direct your Foreign Ministry to encourage the Intangible Cultural Heritage member-States to delist Aalst at the Bogotá assembly and to take appropriate punitive measures against apparent recidivist incitement at home," concluded Samuels.

For further information, contact Shimon Samuels at +33 147 237 637, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, 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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