Belgian mayor: Antisemitic carnival display ‘should be allowed’
Aalst – “In [our city], it should be allowed,” declared Christoph D’Haese, the mayor of Aalst, a Belgian city thrust into the spotlight after a recent parade included bulbous-nosed Jewish puppets standing on money bags, marchers dressed in Klu Klux Klan costumes, and young Europeans donning blackface makeup.
The mayor’s comments were specifically connected to a float called “Shabbat Year,” festooned with two giant puppets with massive noses, traditional Hasidic fur hats and long side-locks, surrounded by coins and several rats.
The float also featured dancers in costumes mirroring the puppets whose routine began with a shout of “shalom” and included a move in which a pocket was opened, exposing something that was not clearly visible in a video of the event.
After widespread condemnation by Jewish groups such as B’nai B’rith International and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, in addition to other organizations and governmental bodies, including the European Commission, D’Haese responded, “[I]t’s not up to [me] to forbid” such displays,” arguing that the “the carnival participants had no sinister intentions,” reported Het Laatste Nieuws.