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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 20, 2003

Blood Stained Belgium

A very personal j'accuse by a former Belgian Jew: The Belgians as true Europeans, By Isi Leibler

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.

"Would you tolerate a neighboring territory orchestrating, funding, and blessing as 'holy martyrs' suicide murderers targeting your civilian population? Would you tolerate a situation in which Belgian women and children were terrified at being blown to pieces in your cafes and shopping centers? Would you tolerate street side celebrations by your neighbors sometimes just a few kilometers away, frequently displayed on your TV screens, rejoicing at the carnage that they had inflicted on your people?"

.."It is a mark of shame," I said "for your country - most of whose Jews were exterminated by the Nazis - to now stand at the forefront of actions designed to undermine the only democratic state in the Middle East; the state which also provided a haven to survivors of the Holocaust.

..THE RELATIONSHIP with Belgium has deteriorated considerably since the meeting described above. But the Ariel Sharon issue was the last straw. For a government whose predecessors were responsible for the murder of literally millions of Congolese citizens, to give the green light for a court to sit in judgment on Sharon is simply beyond belief.

Only a fool or a charlatan would suggest that this initiative was motivated by a na ve desire to promote human rights, especially having regard to the fact that this act was initiated 20 years after the events and conducted without reference to the Phalangists who actually carried out the massacres.

And of course this action must be seen in the context of a country which has effectively been leading the pack in demonizing Sharon while simultaneously defending Palestinian terror and extolling Yasser Arafat as a noble statesman fighting for human rights.
Keep reading.

Belgium refused to investigate suspected Nazi war criminals

Belgium, whose Supreme Court ruled that after he leaves office Prime Minister Ariel Sharon can be tried for war crimes stemming from the Sabra and Shatilla massacre in 1982, turned down requests to investigate alleged Nazi criminals in 1990 because of a statute of limitations.

Efraim Zuroff, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Israel office, said that in 1990 he submitted a list of 14 suspected Nazi war criminals who emigrated to Belgium after World War II, most of them from the Baltic states, to the Belgian Justice Ministry.

..The list of suspected Nazi war criminals Zuroff gave the Belgian authorities included Petras Kazlauskas, Jonas Vosylius, and Antanas Laurinavicius, who according to the Wiesenthal Center served in the 12th Lithuanian Auxiliary Police Battalion which murdered thousands of Jews in Byelorussia. They left for Belgium in 1947.

In addition, the list included Jurgis Deksnis, who "played an active role in the murder of the Jews of Vilkaviskis [Lithuania]"; Jonas Kuzmickas, who "played an active role in the murder of the Jews of Alytus [Lithuania]"; Vaclovas Meskauskas, who "participated in the murder of the Jews of Kelme [Lithuania]"; Bronius Sprindys, who was a "participant in the murder of the Jews of Ukmerge [Lithuania]"; and Antanas Taujauskis, who "participated in persecution and murder of civilians in the Kaunas district [Lithuania]."

According to the Encyclopedia Judaica, when the Germans invaded Belgium on May 10, 1940, between 90,000 and 110,000 Jews lived there, of whom some 20,000 were German Jewish refugees; 25,631 of them were deported to extermination camps during the war, and only 1,244 returned.