European Commissioner Margaritis Schinas, in charge of promoting the ‘European way of life’ and fighting against antisemitism, on Monday strongly condemned floats and disguises caricaturing Jews at the Aalst Carnival the day before.
“It is clear to me: the Aalst Carnival is a shame. It needs to stop. No place for this in Europe,” Schinas tweeted in reference to carnival groups who, surfing on last year’s controversy, on Sunday again depicted Jews with hooked noses, sometimes dressed as ants.
The commissioner recalled the reaction he had had last year to the Aalst Carnival as the Juncker Commission’s Chief Spokesman.
Commenting on a float depicting caricatures of Orthodox Jews standing on coin filled coffins, he had noted that it was “unthinkable” for such images to be paraded on European streets 74 years after the Shoah.
The float had caused a furore internationally and led UNESCO to withdraw the Carnival from its World Heritage list.
“Our Union was built on the ashes of the Holocaust,” Schinas stressed, quoting former Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
“Remembering it and fighting antisemitism is our duty towards the Jewish community, and it is indispensable to protect our common European values.”
On Monday, Commission spokespersons recalled that, from a strictly legal standpoint, it was up to the State concerned to take action in such cases.
The Council of Europe, which hosts the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, also condemned all types of antisemitism.
It said it was aware that Belgium’s federal government was very concerned by the incidents and was reflecting on the legal measures that needed to be taken.