Organisers of Belgian parade mired by antisemitism print caricatures of Jews
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Organisers of Belgian parade mired by antisemitism print caricatures of Jews

One caricature shows a red-headed Orthodox Jew with golden teeth and is captioned: “UNESCO, what a joke.”

A caricature of an Orthodox Jew distributed by organisers ahead of the Aalst 2020 carnival. (Courtesy of FJO via JTA)
A caricature of an Orthodox Jew distributed by organisers ahead of the Aalst 2020 carnival. (Courtesy of FJO via JTA)

Organisers of a parade in Belgium that this year provoked international uproar over alleged antisemitism published 150 caricatures mocking Jews ahead of the 2020 event.

The caricatures, some featuring Orthodox Jews with red, hooked noses and golden teeth, were printed on ribbons intended for participants in the annual event, which was added in 2010 to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, or UNESCO.

The condemnations in March over this year’s parade came from Jewish groups as well as UNESCO for featuring a float with giant Orthodox Jewish figures holding money and grinning. One of them had a rat on his shoulder. Revellers danced to a song about money composed by the organisers, who said the float was a protest of rising living costs.

The designer of the 2020 caricatures told Het Laatste Nieuws daily that they target UNESCO’s criticism of last year’s display and are “not against Jews.” He was not named.

A carnival float, which was paraded through the centre of a Belgian city, is accused of being guilty of Nazi-style antisemitism. (Credit: Pen News)

One caricature shows a red-headed Orthodox Jew with golden teeth and is captioned: “UNESCO, what a joke.”

Hans Knoop, spokesperson for the Forum on Jewish Organisations of Belgium’s Flemish Region, called the 2020 caricatures “pure provocation” and a “manifestation of antisemitism.”

Aalst Mayor Christoph D’Haese and organisers dismissed criticism over March’s display, saying it reflected the spirit of irreverence at the event.

UNESCO is currently deliberating over whether to remove the event from its list over the float.

The 2013 event featured prisoners and Nazis holding canisters of poison gas.

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