Monday, March 28, 2016

Belgium: "The climate we are experiencing today has been going on for 15 years"

Via Jewish Week:
“On the one side, it is awful and shameful; on the other side, it was not surprising to me,” he said by phone Thursday, one day before conducting a special briefing for Jewish leaders at UJA-Federation of New York.

Such an attack, he said, “is what we expected in Brussels. Life there has changed in the last 15 years. At the end of September in 2000, the second intifada began and the very next day Jews in Belgium were attacked. My rabbi became a victim of insults, with young people spitting on him and throwing stones all because he a rabbi with a synagogue in a Muslim neighborhood.”

Rubinfeld noted that fully one-third of the city’s population of 1 million is Muslim and that Jews number just 20,000.

At the time of the second intifada, “From Friday night to Saturday night [the rabbi] walked three times back and forth to the synagogue, and he was an easy target,” he said. “This continued for one to two years and then things calmed down for a little bit. Then Molotov cocktails were thrown at synagogues and the attacks culminated in 2014 when a French Algerian terrorist killed four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.”

Each time Israel is forced to go to war with Hamas or Hezbollah terrorists, Rubinfeld pointed out, “you saw hundreds and thousands in the street with anti-Israel demonstrations, hold anti-Semitic banners, waving the Hezbollah flag and shouting, ‘Death to Jews’ in Arabic. This is why what is happening today is very logical. The climate we are experiencing today has been going on for 15 years.”

Asked if the authorities were aware of it, Rubinfeld said he had personally warned about it for years.

“I said if you do not tackle this anti-Semitism, it will spread and tomorrow everybody will be a target. I said, ‘If you don’t do it for my kids, what we are experiencing will happen to your kids. … There are some people who don’t see red when Jewish blood is spilled.

“They have to understand that Jews are the canary in the coalmine, and when the canary is dying it means bigger problems are coming. So it starts with killing and harassing Jews, and if not stopped, this movement becomes uncontrollable.”

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