Giant figures depicting Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel (C) and other politicians are seen during the 87th carnival parade of Aalst February 15, 2015. The Aalst Carnival, which is inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, often shows informal groups .
(photo credit: YVES HERMAN / REUTERS)
After the Carnival in Aalst, Belgium, featured caricatured Jewish figures with money and rats, UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre (SWC) requested that UNESCO remove Aalst from its List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The Carnival at Aalst has been recognized on the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2010.
A petition urging the removal of the Carnival from the list has received over 14,000 signatures.
“UNESCO should not continue to endorse this repeated violation of its values by retaining the Carnival on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”, Jonathan Turner, chief executive of UKLFI commented.
“The date of the Bureau’s meeting, 21 March, is the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This will be a good opportunity for the members of the Bureau to show that they really mean it,” Dr. Shimon Samuels, SWC’s Director for International Relations, said.
The Ambassador of Poland to UNESCO has endorsed the request.
UKLFI is an association that fights anti-Israel and antisemitic activity. The SWC is a global human rights organization that researches the Holocaust and hate in a historic and contemporary context. The SWC is accredited by UNESCO and an Associate Partner NGO.
The Dutch Chief Rabbi, Binyamin Jacobs, said that the portrayal at the Aalst Carnival was “shocking” and contained “typical, antisemitic caricatures from 1939.”
UNESCO’s former Director-General, Irina Bokova, condemned another antisemitic float at a previous Aalst Carnival, calling it an “unacceptable act that is an insult to the memory of the 6 million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust.”
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