Friday, June 17, 2016

Belgium: Antwerp Red Star Line Museum features writer who has posted anti-semitic/anti-Israel material

The President of Israel Reuven Rivlin will be visiting the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp on Tuesday June 21.  The Museum is "dedicated to telling the story of the two million immigrants who passed through Antwerp on their way from Europe to North America".  A large part were Jewish and as a result the Museum attracts many American Jewish visitors whose ancestors fled persecution in Europe before the rise to power of Adolf Hitler. 

The fact that a man, Youssef Kobo's (real name Youssef Aouriaghel),  who has compared Israel to the Islamic state, thus implying that Rivlin is on the same moral level as arch-terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and made derogatory remarks about the Jewish community in Antwerp, features on the Museum's website, is deeply disturbing.  All the more so because the Museum will be hosting the President of Israel and is visited by many Jews whose ancestors were victims of European deeply-rooted antisemitism which led to the extermination of six million European Jews. 

This blog has reported on Youssef Kobo's outrageous remarks about Israel: Museum features antisemitic "Israel = ISIS" writer.

Kobo is an advisor on communications and diversity (multi-culturalism) to Bianca Debaets (the Flemish Christian democrat (CD&V) Brussels regional Secretary of State responsible for IT, the digital agenda, equal opportunities, animal welfare, and development aid and road safety).

Youssef Kobo posted this antisemitic cartoon last year.

To stress the point, Kobo added:
JSIL the crazy twin brother of ISIS, aka the Jewish State in the Levant aka Israel.  The evil, murderous Jews, twins of Islamic State, carving up Gaza.   

But there is more.  When two prominent Belgian politicians Bart De Wever and Kris Peeters visited a synagogue in Antwerp, Youssef Aouriaghel (aka Youssef Kobo) was outraged by Mr. De Wever's behaviour.  This is what he posted:

Look, this is what I found. Bart De Wever [the Mayor of the city of Antwerp] is wearing a kippah and singing an hymn to Zionism at a synagogue in Antwerp. We now know why the N-VA [his party] stubbornly defends Israel while it perpeptrates one massacre after another in Gaza.

When will this Mayor pay a visit to a mosque in his city, wearing a djellaba? Or is it the case that the Antwerp Muslim community doesn't matter for him? It is much larger than the Jewish community. [The last point made by Kobo is absolutely spot on.  It is estimated that the Muslim population in Belgium stands at 800,000 while the Jewish community barely stands at 30,000.  The Jewish community is ageing and dwindling.]
It is reported that Kris Peeters (Flemish Christian democrat party, CD&V, like Bianca Debaets) addressed the congregation during the same visit at the Chabad Synagogue in Antwerp and also wore a kippah, but this fact doesn't seem to have caused any outrage as far as Youssef Kobo is concerned.

Both Facebook posts were promptly removed by Youssef Kobo after Minister Debaets was apprised of their offensive content by a Jewish media outlet.

The Museum and the city Alderman in charge, Philippe Heylen, have also been made aware of Kobo's remarks but, typically, see no reason why he and his article should not feature on the Museum's website.

In Belgium, this type of talk is acceptable discourse.

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