Friday, September 16, 2016

Belgium: King's advisor posts anti-Israel/Jewish comment

Rafike Yilmaz is the Deputy-Director of Media and Communications department which "manages H.M. King Philippe of the Belgians' and the Royal Family's communication and media policy at strategic and operational levels". She previously worked in the Cabinet of Minister Monica De Coninck (Flemish Socialist Party).

She is also active on social media.

When Brigitte Herremans, an anti-Israel activist for organizations such as the Flemish Catholic organisations 'Broederlijk Delen' and 'Pax Christi', was recently prevented from entering Israel, Rafike Yilmaz was not happy.

On her Facebook account, she linked to an article published by the Flemish newspaper De Morgen quoting Emmanuel Stein, an anti-Israel activist, whose views are only shared by a very tiny fraction of the Jewish population in Belgium, and quoted him: "I feel deep shame at the despicable response by Freilich".   Michael Freilich is the Joods Actueel editor-in-chief, a Jewish publication based in Antwerp.  Freilich had dared to defend Israel's position.

Yilmaz added "Recognizable ... ' Obviously disapproving of Michael Freilich's stance and approving Stein's.  The quote under the snapshot carries a clear political message.

The King's staff members have the right to express their views. But they should do so within a strict framework because of their association with the monarch. Staff at the Royal Palace communications department should be fully aware that they should not be posting this type of message - and they don't.

A few hours after the publication on Slideshare of an article on this matter by 'Royalty watcher' Thierry Debels', Yilmaz erased the link and the quote from her Facebook account. According to a well-placed and reliable source, the post was taken down because it could be "misinterpreted" - indeed it looks as though it was open to interpretation, but the caption below removed any doubt about what she had in mind. So much for her competence as a communications and media expert.

It has further emerged that Youssef Kobo is a 'friend' of Rafike Yilmaz.

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