Israeli ambassador slams Belgian daily for 'anti-Israel drivel'

The piece claimed that Palestinians, "who did not participate in the massacre of European Jews by the Nazis have to pay the price for that crime or are accused of antisemitism."

A Belgian paratrooper stands guard outside a Jewish school in Antwerp. (photo credit: YVES HERMAN / REUTERS)
A Belgian paratrooper stands guard outside a Jewish school in Antwerp.
(photo credit: YVES HERMAN / REUTERS)
Israel's ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg Emmanuel Nahshon condemned the leading Flemish-language daily de Standaard for publishing an opinion piece that claimed that Zionists have "played the Holocaust card uninhibited," according to the Algemeiner.
The piece, titled "How the Zionists 'Discovered' the Holocaust," was authored by Johan Depoortere and timed to coincide with commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Nahshon read the piece while he was in Israel attending the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem and called the piece "cheap, distorted and devious antisemitism and anti-Israel drivel" in a tweet on Thursday. "Shame on you @destandaard!" wrote Nahshon.
 
Depoortere wrote that the millions of Jews killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust cannot "protest if they are used to justify another injustice: a regime [Israel] that has imposed discrimination and apartheid in law."
The piece claimed that Palestinians, "who did not participate in the massacre of European Jews by the Nazis have to pay the price for that crime or are accused of antisemitism."
Jerusalem's Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. He encouraged riots and pogroms against Jews in Jerusalem, Hebron and elsewhere in 1929. Pictures released in 2017, show the mufti touring Nazi concentration camps with a smile.
Depoortere added that the Holocaust has a "central place in the propaganda of the Zionist state" and is used as a response to criticism about its presence in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem after the Six-Day War in 1967.
 
This isn't the first time that De Standaard has published pieces featuring antisemitic statements.
 
In 2013, De Standaard published a claim reminiscent of old blood libels, alleging that Jews sometimes poison Palestinian wells, according to JTA. In 2010, the daily reported that Jews were leaving Antwerpen and that in fifty years there would be no more Jews in the city due to an increase in antisemitism. "Only the poor Hasidic Jews stay and they refuse to adapt," wrote De Standaard, according to The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism (CFCA).
Dyab Abou Jahjah, a Lebanese activist and Hezbollah supporter from Belgium who has called for violent attacks on Jewish Israelis, was a columnist for three years at De Standaard until he was fired in 2017 for praising the killing of four Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem, according to the European Jewish Congress.
"Debate has borders and for us the border lies short of support of violence of any kind," wrote De Standaard concerning Dyab's dismissal.
In an op-ed in December, the editor in chief of Belgian daily De Morgen accused a Jewish lawmaker of spying for Israel in parliament in an op-ed titled "Anti-Semitism," according to JTA.
About 35,000 Jews live in Belgium. According to an ADL study from last year, antisemitic beliefs are held by 24% of the population.
Seth J. Frantzman contributed to this report.