The Aalst Carnival, a three-day event in the Belgian city of Aalst, was removed from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the organization announced on Friday.The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity cited “the recurrence of racist and antisemitic representations” in the carnival as the basis for its decision, UNESCO wrote in a press release.The town of Aalst decided to renounce its UN cultural heritage status after facing accusations of racism and antisemitism, the German publication DW reported on December 1.Aalst Mayor Christoph D’Haese also said it is “unavoidable” that Jews will be mocked again in the 2020 edition.“We are neither antisemitic nor racist. All those who support this are acting in bad faith. Aalst will always remain the capital of mockery and satire,” Belga news agency reported, quoting a statement by D’Haese.The carnival, which featured antisemitic figures, including caricatured Jews with money and rats, garnered criticism from the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) and other organizations. The center, alongside UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI), requested that UNESCO remove the carnival from its list in March.“I applaud the right and moral decision to remove this carnival from the list,” said Foreign Minister Israel Katz. “In the 21st century, when antisemitism is trying to rear its ugly head, there is no room for tolerance towards this phenomenon.”“UNESCO status brought thousands of tourists to the carnival. Delisting is no guarantee for a hate-free Aalst Carnival,” said SWC director for international relations Dr. Shimon Samuels. “We will be monitoring and, if necessary, take measures to inform our worldwide membership and other friends of the dangers in visiting a hate-fest.”“Unfortunately, Belgium and its civil liberties NGO, UNIA, remained unhelpful in their defense of ‘freedom of expression,’ even when serving as camouflage for racism,” the center wrote in a statement praising the carnival’s status removal. “UNESCO Committee understood clearly that racism was a violation of its objectives, thus permitting the precedent of delistment.”SWC congratulated UKLFI and the Brussels-based IMPAC, calling them its “partners in this process,” and noting that they “brought a 22,500 signature petition against Aalst’s antisemitism to the Committee meeting in Bogotá.”The World Jewish Congress (WJC) also praised UNESCO’s decision.“I would like to thank UNESCO and its director-general, Audrey Azoulay, as well as the committee members, for taking a principled stance against antisemitism and ensuring the removal of the Aalst Carnival from the Cultural Heritage List,” WJC president Ronald S. Lauder said in a statement. “This list is meant to preserve traditions for future generations, but parading larger than life puppets of hooked-nose Jews through the streets of European cities is one we should soon forget.“The use of antisemitic imagery, whether knowingly or not, has long been deeply ingrained in many cultures. We all must work together to ensure that this type of behavior is nothing more than a distant memory and a footnote in history books,” Lauder wrote.The UN organization concluded its statement by saying that, “UNESCO stands by its founding principles of dignity, equality and mutual respect among peoples and condemns all forms of racism, antisemitism and xenophobia.”Rossella Tercatin and Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.