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Belgian Jewish cemetery vandalized with swastikas

“We don’t know if there’s a link with the conflict in the Middle East,” said the mayor of Kraainem, near Brussels.

The Jewish cemetery in Antwerp, Belgium, on July 26, 2019. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90.
The Jewish cemetery in Antwerp, Belgium, on July 26, 2019. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90.

Antisemitic vandals spray-painted swastikas and Stars of David at the Jewish cemetery in Kraainem, near the Belgian capital of Brussels. The symbols were found Tuesday morning, the European Jewish Press reported

“We don’t know if there’s a link with the conflict in the Middle East. Nor do we know who the perpetrator or perpetrators are. Steps have been taken to find out,” said Bertrand Waucquez, mayor of Kraainem.

“This is clearly an antisemitic act,” stated the Jewish Mutual Burial Society, a nonprofit in charge of the cemetery.

“We expect our national and regional authorities to strengthen citizenship education in our schools and to punish any antisemitic act very severely,” it said.

“The Jewish cemetery in Kraainem, Belgium, covered with swastikas. In November, 85 Jewish graves were desecrated at another Belgian cemetery in Marcinelle,” wrote Alina Bricman, director of European affairs at B’nai B’rith International and the Romanian delegate to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

“Antisemitism, whatever its form—in this case, the desecration of graves in the Jewish cemetery of Kraainem—is an unacceptable act,” wrote Carine Thibaut, director-general of Amnesty International Belgium, in French.

Idit Rosenzweig-Abu, Israel’s ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg, also posted about the cemetery desecration on social media.

The prior day, she noted that Nadia El Yousfi, a member of the Belgian Senate, said during an official hearing that “Rabbis call for rape of Palestinian women.”

“I was so shocked I thought it was a mistranslation,” Rosenzweig-Abu wrote. “But no, she said that. During past discussions in Parliament and Senate, I have had confrontations, difficult discussions, heard many libelous accusations. But this is a new low.”

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