Jüdische Allgemeine: “Belgian Minister compares Israel to Nazis”

“In Germany’s neighboring country Belgium, the tone regarding the Middle East conflict is becoming increasingly shrill. Now, Federal Development Aid Minister Caroline Gennez has spoken out and is causing outrage with a Nazi comparison. The politician also shot arrows in the direction of Berlin.

In an interview with the Flemish news magazine “Knack,” Gennez accused the federal government of allowing itself to be “harnessed to Israel’s cart.” While the Jewish state is pursuing “a shameless policy of colonization,” Germany is allowing itself to be deceived by Israel, the Social Democrat claimed.

Gennez went even further and drew a comparison between Israel and the crimes of the Nazis. Turning to her “German friends,” she asked: “Are you really going to be on the wrong side of history twice? Will we continue to watch to see if ethnic cleansing occurs?” She asked, then expressed her hope that “Germans will look deep into their own hearts and not be disturbed by their own historical traumas. You should always try to overcome trauma, no matter how difficult it is. She didn’t openly say that she meant the Nazi past.

Germany hardly tolerates criticism of Israel within the European Union. “I have always admired Germany for its ability to face its own war past. It thus formed the basis of the European project,” said the minister. It is, therefore, “difficult to understand that Germany allows itself to be so wrapped up by this Israeli government, which pursues a shameless settlement policy.”

“Remarks are hurtful and scandalous” However, she praised her politics. Belgium stands with all civilian victims, emphasized Gennez. She put the actions of Hamas and Israel’s military operation on the same level. She literally said: “Hamas murdered, kidnapped or raped 1,200 Israelis. This is a violation of international law and the laws of war. But Israel, as an occupying power, has also been violating international law in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for years. It’s always the common people who are the victims.”

The now 48-year-old was the party leader of the Flemish sp.a party from 2007 to 2011, which was later renamed “Vooruit”. Gennez has been the federal minister for development cooperation for just over a year.

MP Michael Freilich from the largest opposition party in the Belgian parliament, the Flemish NVA, called on the minister to retract her statements. »I understand that emotions can run high when discussing this conflict. But these statements are hurtful, and it is scandalous to equate Israel with Nazi Germany. I ask Minister Gennez to take back her words,” said the Jewish parliamentarian.

According to Gennez, there is not a single European member state that questions Israel’s right to exist. “But that shouldn’t mean that we should simply stand by and watch disproportionate violence against the civilian population – even if it is in retaliation for an act of terrorism,” said Gennez.

The development aid minister is far from the only top politician in the country who has targeted Israel. The Green Petra De Sutter, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, wants to sue Israel at the International Court of Justice. “We cannot stand idly by and watch the enormous human suffering in Gaza; we must act against the impending genocide,” Sutter wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday.

»I would like Belgium to take action following South Africa’s lawsuit at the International Court of Justice. I will propose this to the Belgian government,” she added.

De Sutter has long been calling for a tougher line from Belgium. It is now time to boycott Israel and called on the Belgian government to introduce trade sanctions against the Jewish state to protest against the “daily deaths of children in Gaza.” However, it is still unclear whether this will happen. In November, the multi-party federal government agreed to allocate 5 million euros to investigate possible war crimes in Gaza.

AJC: “Incitement against Israel is increasingly taking on anti-Semitic traits” Daniel Schwammenthal, executive director of the Transatlantic Institute, the representative of the American Jewish Committee in Brussels, expressed outrage to this newspaper about the statements made by De Sutter and Gennez. »The Belgian government’s anti-Israel incitement is increasingly taking on anti-Semitic traits. Within a few hours, a Belgian minister indirectly draws unspeakable comparisons between Israel and Nazis, while the deputy prime minister accuses Israel of genocide,” said Schwammenthal.

It cannot be surpassed in terms of perfidy when one compares the Jewish state with the greatest criminals against the Jewish people or misuses the UN Genocide Convention of 1948, which was passed as a result of the Holocaust against the Jews, in order to demonize Jews. »These anti-Semitic statements according to the IHRA definition come just at a time when Belgium is taking over the EU Council Presidency. In order to avert damage to the reputation of Belgium and the entire EU, these two ministers must immediately apologize for their statements and the other coalition partners must distance themselves from them,” demanded the AJC representative.

The European Jewish Congress (EJC), of which the Central Council of Jews in Germany is a member, condemned Caroline Gennez’s statement “in the strongest possible terms.” »The trivialization of the Holocaust violates the fundamental values of European democracies and undermines the IHRA working definition against antisemitism, which Belgium has signed since 2018. Using the Holocaust, the systematic and planned slaughter of the Jewish people that resulted in the deaths of six million Jews, as a point of comparison is a scandal and has no place in the discourse of any politician, let alone the minister of a country that chairs the Council of the European Union,” said the EJC.”


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