In 2013, a float resembling a Nazi rail cattle car used to transport Jews to their death was on display.
By World Israel News Staff
A town in Belgium is removing its place on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) cultural heritage list rather than getting rid of its anti-Semitic parade floats, reports Antwerp’s HLN news outlet.
Aalst mayor Christoph D’Haese made the announcement on Sunday just a few weeks before UNESCO was expected to vote on it’s removal.
“ [We] have had it a bit with the grotesque complaints and Aalst will renounce its UNESCO recognition,” D’Haese said in a statement. “It was clear that we had to go, so we kept the honor to ourselves.”
“I want to give Aalst Carnival back to Aalst,” he added.
The Aalst Carnival is an annual satirical parade that takes place three-days before the Roman Catholic days of Lent. What attracts thousands of people to the parade, is that no topics are off-limits to poke fun at, whether it be religion, race, politicians, or celebrities.
During this years Aalst Carnival, a float depicting puppets of hook-nosed Orthodox Jews with rats sitting on money bags was on display.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the head of the European Jewish Association, condemned the D’Haese’s abhorrent decision.
“Despite the widespread criticism, despite the clear grotesque anti-Semitic imagery, despite the opportunity to at least acknowledge the wrong and hurt caused, the Mayor of Aalst has consistently remained defiant and mocking,” he said.
“It is sad that when given the opportunity to put things right and return the carnival to universal values of decency, they instead prefer to put themselves outside of the pale. So be it.”
This is not the first time that an anti-Semitic float was seen at the carnival.
In 2013, a float resembling a Nazi rail cattle car used to transport Jews to their death was on display. Walking beside the float were people dressed as Nazi SS officers and Haredi Orthodox Jews. A poster on the wagon depicted Belgian politicians dressed as Nazis whom were holding Zyklon B canisters, the poison that killed millions of Jews in the Nazi gas chambers.