Man gives Nazi salute .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Stefan Grech, the president of an EU labor union called Generation 2004, has resigned from his position after he is alleged to have physically and verbally attacked a co-worker, calling her a “dirty Jewess” during an anti-Semitic diatribe.
The Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism (LBCA) said Thursday that it had filed a complaint against the 45-year-old Maltese official.
A 50-year-old Italian complainant had reached out to the organization, providing it with copies of her complaint, as well as testimony by a friend and witness.
"The board of Generation 2004 takes note of the resignation of Stefan Grech as chair and member of the board of Generation 2004 with immediate effect," Generation 2004 announced.
"We have learnt with deep concern about press articles, according to which he has been accused of having assaulted a person while voicing anti-Semitic statements. Generation 2004 condemns any form of violence, racism and discrimination and will not tolerate members who do not live up to these principles. At the same time, we trust the competent authorities will establish the exact course of events and will respond accordingly."
The incident dates back to July 16 and occurred at an Italian cafe in Brussels, near EU headquarters. LBCA president Joel Rubinfeld told The Jerusalem Post that the rampage was triggered by the woman’s surprise at seeing a man carrying a metal placard engraved with Mussolini’s name. She asked him why he was promoting the infamous leader, stating, “Mussolini was still a dictator.”
This sparked a slew of allegedly anti-Semitic insults. Though the woman is not actually Jewish, she did not feel obliged to state her religion and simply replied “I could be a Jew.” The man then allegedly took the metal sign and hit her in the face with it, before taking her neck between his hands and attempting to strangle her.
“He was talking about Nazis and Jews,” a Spanish friend of the victim told police, “They were racists comments, that was very clear.” The man was also allegedly heard saying, “Hitler should have killed all the Jews.”
Grech’s Facebook page displays a number of anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian posts.
The victim of the attack went to the police that evening to file a complaint against her co-worker, whom she had not been acquainted with previously, but whose name witnesses at the cafe gave her. The woman told Rubinfeld that she checked herself into hospital the next day after waking up with a headache, and a doctor found that she was suffering from a head injury, concussion and shock.
Following the attack she has been seeing a psychologist and needs to take anxiety medication, and has said she is afraid that her co-worker will want to “finish off the job.”
The LBCA denounced the incident, which was apparently captured on surveillance cameras, though this has yet to be confirmed. Rubinfeld described the occurrence as “a violent anti-Semitic incident which shows once again that today you don’t need to be Jewish to be a victim of anti-Semitism.”
He expressed confidence that the conclusion of the investigation would result in the dismissal of the EU official, but called on the Union to suspend the alleged perpetrator until then.