Belgian charity accuses 'Israel's allies' of 'inflating' claims of anti-semitism

Ms Herremans comments follow a series of anti-Semitic incidents in Belgium this year

Jacob Furedi
Saturday 17 September 2016 14:38
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Flowers are laid outside Brussels' Jewish Museum after a terrorist attack left four dead in 2014
Flowers are laid outside Brussels' Jewish Museum after a terrorist attack left four dead in 2014

An employee of a state-funded charity in Belgium has accused “Israel’s allies” of “inflating” the country’s anti-Semitism problem to distract from its treatment of Palestinians.

Brigitte Herremans, who works for Catholic organisations Broederlijk Delen and Pax Christi, made the comments on Flemish Radio 1.

Earlier in the year, she was refused entry into Israel at Ben Gurion Airport while travelling with a group of activists to experience life in the West Bank.

Ms Herremans was refused entry after refusing to provide airport security with details of her contacts in the country, which are needed to obtain a visa.

Her suggestion that pro-Israeli activists exaggerate the state of anti-Semitism in Belgium arrives two years after four people were killed during a terrorist attack at Brussels’s Jewish museum.

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“When you sometimes hear criticism from certain pro-Israel circles, also in Belgium, then I think that mostly they try to vastly inflate this business to distract from the heart of the matter: Israel tolerates no criticism and wants to do only as it pleases in the Palestinian territories,” she said.

Ms Herremans claimed that, whereas her employers “take into account Israel’s security needs”, Israel “feels it can afford to persecute human rights activists… because no sanctions are applied against it, as they are in Russia.”

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