Belgium: Politician criticized for justifying Holocaust
Two Belgian Jewish associations are planning to contact police regarding statements by a local politician that they believe amount to justifying the Holocaust. The Times of Israel daily reports that Hassan Aarab of the Christian, Democratic and Flemish Party (CD&V), who indiscriminately laid into the Jewish community this week on Facebook, has already apologized for his words.
"I believe the Germans intentionally didn't kill all the Jews so we would now be able to understand why he [Adolf Hitler] did his best to destroy them," Aarab wrote on the social networking site. He first defended his statement by saying it was a provocative expression of his anger over Israel's operation in the Gaza Strip and did not constitute incitement to hatred.
After Ariane Van Dooren, the leader of his party in Antwerp, criticized Aarab for his remarks, he apologized. "I want to apologize for what I said. I strive to achieve cooperation and dialogue between various communities. I have realized that what I said does not contribute to that but does the exact opposite," Aarab said.
Various anti-Jewish incidents have been on the rise in Belgium since the start of the offensive in Gaza. One member of the Orthodox Jewish community in Antwerp was refused service in a clothing store, while in Lutych police had to remove signs from a café saying dogs were allowed but Jews and Zionists were not.
The media also reported the case of a Belgian doctor refusing to visit a Jewish patient in Antwerp. The doctor recommended that the patient's relatives send her to Gaza.
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