European Jewish Association

Furor Grows Over Belgian Journalist’s Antisemitic Article

Journalist Dimitri Verhulst wrote in the Belgian daily, De Morgen, on July 27, that “Being Jewish is not a religion, no God would give creatures such an ugly nose.”

Belgian Jews have filed a police complaint after a Belgian journalist wrote in an opinion piece, “There is no promised land, only stolen land,” and commented on the stereotype of “Jewish noses.”

Journalist Dimitri Verhulst wrote in the Belgian daily, De Morgen, on July 27, that “Being Jewish is not a religion, no God would give creatures such an ugly nose.”

He misquoted French singer Serge Gainsbourg who said, “Being Jewish is not a religion. No religion makes you grow such a nose.” Gainsbourg was the child of Russian Jewish immigrants to France.

Verhulst also accused Israel of murdering 10,000 Palestinians since 2002.

De Morgen Editor-in-Chief, Bart Eeckhout, attempted to defend the actions of the paper, saying, “We clearly do not view the text as antisemitic. Otherwise we wouldn’t have published it. Neither did the author intend it as antisemitic,” JTA reported. “The op-ed surely is a harsh criticism on Israel’s politics toward the Palestinian people. It is written in a hard, sarcastic fashion and it foretells the current uproar, stating that any hard criticism on Israel will always be reinterpreted as antisemitism,” Eeckhout is quoted as saying.

Verhulst constantly uses sarcastic language during his article, questioning the Jews status as the “chosen” people and wrote “Because God has His favorites and they have their privileges, Palestinians were driven out of their homes in 1948 to make place for God’s favorites.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center responded to the article by writing a direct letter to Eeckhout. The letter stated that, “The article blames the whole of the Jewish people collectively, making no distinction between Israel and Jewish people who live elsewhere, and furthermore it mocks their religion and equates being a Jew with creatures with ‘ugly noses.'”

The letter continued, “Manipulating and misquoting Serge Gainsbourg in saying ‘being a Jew is not a religion; there is not a single God who would give His creatures such an ugly nose’ is misleading and wrong. In his article, Verhulst not only serves the stereotype of Jews’ nose, propagated by Goebbels and Streicher in “Der Stürmer”, he deliberately distorted the irony in Gainsbourg’s quote in order to justify his own anti-Semitism.”

Eeckhout is also reminded that to blame all of the Jewish people for “real or imaginary wrongdoings committed by individuals or the State of Israel falls within the IHRA working definition of antisemitism,” and he is asked to retract the article and apologize.

The letter was signed by Menachem Margolin, European Jewish Association and Shimon Samuels, Simon Wiesenthal Center among other signatories including B’nai B’rith Europe, Commissioner Against Antisemitism of Jewish Community of Berlin and the Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands.

The article was published on the JPost