Israel’s Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, praised UNESCO’s decision to remove the carnival of Aalst, from its list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
He called on the Belgian government to raise its voice against the carnival, after the presence of a cart caricaturing orthodox Jews with hooked noses, standing on bags of gold, in the recent edition in March.
“I welcome the moral and principled decision to remove the Aalst carnival from UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity,” said Katz in a statement.
“In the 21st century, as anti-Semitism shows its ugly face again, there can be no tolerance for this hideous phenomenon,” he added.
“We expect the Belgian government to speak out clearly (…) against the inclusion of anti-Semitic support during the carnival.”
Aalst carnival takes place in Flanders. In 2010, UNESCO included it in its list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
The decision to remove it was taken on Friday during a meeting of the organization in Bogota, Colombia.
“Unesco is faithful to its founding principles of dignity, equality and mutual respect between peoples and condemns all forms of racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia,” said the organization, announcing its decision.
It is the first time that Unesco has removed the list of intangible cultural heritage.