Anti-Semitic caricatures, symbols appear at Belgium carnival for 2nd year in a row

The Aalst Carnival parade included stereotypical depictions of Jews for the second year in a row and the Belgian government said that the anti-Semitism in the three-day festival embarrassed the nation and endangers society.

The Carnival was kicked off the United Nations’ UNESCO heritage list last year after a float rife with anti-Semitic symbols raised worldwide condemnation. Yet despite all the warnings, some again targeted Jews.

“Even though Aalst Carnival is much more than that, these facts detract from our values and reputation of our country,” Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said in a statement.

Festival committee chair Dirk Verleysen said floats or individuals “that exceed all limits” of decency would be taken out of the parade, but offensive elements did appear.

Earlier this week, Israel called on Belgium to scrap the annual Aalst parade. Yet one group on Sunday walked around the parade dressed up like insects with fur hats worn by some ultra-Orthodox Jewish men.

Wilmes suggested that authorities would see if they could take action.

“Belgium is a state of law. It is for the Justice Department and concerned authorities to see if the events during Carnival are in contravention of the law.”

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