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February 21, 2003

The Belgians as true Europeans
An article in israelinsider that had first appeared in Jerusalem Post, written by former Belgian.
Feb. 20, 2003.

My grandparents and many members of my family in Belgium were deported and gassed in Auschwitz. As in most Nazi occupied countries in Europe, the state bureaucracy and Belgian collaborators cooperated with the Nazis in apprehending Jewish citizens. I was fortunate to arrive in Australia as an infant with my parents on the last boat to leave Antwerp on the eve of the war.

When the World Jewish Congress held a meeting in Brussels last April, I insisted on the right to address Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt who was scheduled to speak but cancelled his acceptance at the last moment. He was substituted by the president of the Belgian Senate but the prime minister did subsequently respond to my remarks by correspondence.

I spoke at a luncheon in the presence of delegates and guests. Suspending diplomatic niceties I confessed to the Belgians that I had strongly opposed holding a World Jewish Congress meeting in a city which had become the capital of the new anti-Semitism in Europe.

Here is what I said: "Your government, and particularly your foreign minister, Louis Michel, have employed such outrageous double standards against Israel that they warrant being described as anti-Semitic."

"Some of the allegations of atrocities against Israel were so outlandish that they were reminiscent of the Middle Ages when Jews were being accused of poisoning the wells and utilizing the blood of Christian children to make unleavened bread." [more]