Belgian carnival town renounces UNESCO title over antisemitic float

The famed Belgian carnival town of Aalst is renouncing its place on the U.N. cultural heritage list, saying it is sick of widespread complaints that this spring’s edition contained blatant antisemitism.

Town officials say the float objected to was “making a joke” and contend no one should try to muzzle humour of any kind.

Aalst mayor Christoph D’Haese said on Sunday that city officials “have had it a bit with the grotesque complaints and Aalst will renounce its UNESCO recognition.”

UNESCO, Jewish groups and the European Union have condemned as antisemitic a parade float at the Aalst Carnival that featured stereotypical depictions of Jews sitting on piles of money and grinning. One of them had a rat on his shoulder. Revelers danced to a song about money composed by the organisers, using an antisemitic slur.

UNESCO already was planning to consider at its December 9-14 meeting in Bogota, Colombia, whether to kick Aalst off the list.

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