Belgium Stuns Before It Kills Jews

The annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium will take place today and will likely feature Jews in antisemitic poses as it has in years past. Event organizers were said to have handed out “rabbi kits” with over-sized noses, beards, sidelocks and black hats. Last year’s event featured Orthodox Jews sitting on piles of money which even offended UNESCO (no easy feat) so the organization withdrew the parade from its heritage list.

A parade float at the Aalst Carnival in Belgium featuring caricatures of Orthodox Jews atop money bags, March 3, 2019. (Courtesy of FJO, via JTA)

Aalst Mayor Christoph D’Haese said it is “unavoidable” that Jews will be mocked again this year, saying “we are neither antisemitic nor racist. All those who support this [attack on the parade] are acting in bad faith. Aalst will always remain the capital of mockery and satire.” In other words, stop being so sensitive and enjoy the joke. It’s the larger than life form of French magazine Charlie Hebdo walking down the street. A bit of light fun. A poke. A zinger. It’s not really antisemitic. It’s a light punch in the arm or tweak on the cheek. Shame on you Jews for missing the bigger picture and being offended.

The government of Belgium did not weigh in on the parade. The prime minister, Sophie Wilmes, said it was an “internal affair.”

But the government of Belgium did weigh on another zinger to the Jewish and Muslim community at the end of 2018 when it banned the production of kosher and halal meat.

The government felt that it was inhumane to slaughter an animal while it was conscious, which is required for the production of kosher and halal meats. The government passed a law which went into effect in 2019 that animals be stunned first before killed. That such edict only and directly impacted the Jewish and Muslim communities was considered beside the point. That little zinger to the animal was deemed essential.

The United Nations didn’t weigh in. The world didn’t pause on the cause.

Because for them, animal rights are human rights, just like free speech. If Jews and Muslims are offended, then they must be the parties with the problem.

One sting is a small zinger which makes no difference (free speech) and one which makes all of the difference (animal rights). To Belgians anyway.

Or maybe its actually the opposite; it’s the key to understanding the European approach to antisemitism: a sting makes the slaughter – of Jews or animals – kosher. Antisemitism only exists when it goes for the jugular outright.

Belgian authorities have made clear that the country’s culture demands the stunning of Jews and Muslims, and if they don’t like or appreciate the environment they are free to leave the country.

In 1948, after the Holocaust of the Jews in Europe, there were 34 countries with over 25,000 Jews. Today, there are only 17. Expect that number to drop to 16 very soon, as the Jews of Belgium take flight, as they recognize a desensitized environment better than anyone.


Related First One Through articles:

The “Unclean” Jew in the Crosshairs

Is Antisemitic Graffiti a Hate Crime?

Active and Reactive Provocations: Charlie Hebdo and the Temple Mount

“Protocols of the Elders of Zion – The Musical”

Uncomfortable vs. Dangerous Free Speech

I’m Offended, You’re Dead

I See Dead People

The Antisemitic Youth

The Selfishness, Morality and Effectiveness of Defending Others

Related First One Through videos:

Jewish Migration Since 1900 (music from Diana Ross)

1001 Years of Expulsions (music from Schindler’s List)

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