Belgian prosecutors drop case against cafe owner who welcomed dogs, but not Jews
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Belgian prosecutors drop case against cafe owner who welcomed dogs, but not Jews

Turkish business owner put up sign in 2014, weeks after a terrorist killed four at a Belgium Jewish museum

Members of the Belgian Jewish community seen walking on the streets in the Jewish quarter in Antwerp, Belgium, August 7, 2014. (Johanna Geron/FLASH90)
Illustrative: Members of the Belgian Jewish community seen walking on the streets in the Jewish quarter in Antwerp, Belgium, August 7, 2014. (Johanna Geron/Flash90)

Prosecutors in Belgium dropped criminal complaints against a Turkish cafe owner who put up a sign banning Jews.

A cafe in the town of Saint-Nicolas had displayed a sign saying dogs are welcome at his business, “but Jews are not.”

The La Dernière Heure newspaper on Friday reported that the Prosecutor’s Office in Liege dropped discrimination charges filed in 2014 against the owner, who was not named in the report.

Joel Rubinfeld, the president of the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism told the paper that he was “disgusted and deeply disappointed” by the decision, which a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office confirmed to the newspaper but declined to explain.

The sign prompted protests internationally and in Belgium, where an Islamist had killed four people at the Brussels Jewish museum just weeks earlier.

The Turkish text of the sign read, “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Jews are not under any circumstances.” The French text replaced “Jews” with “Zionists.”

The window display, put up while Israel was fighting Hamas in Gaza, also included a Palestinian flag, an Israeli flag crossed out with a red “X” and a kaffiyeh, or Palestinian shawl, draped around it.

Saint-Nicolas Mayor Jacques Heleven dispatched police to the cafe when word of the display got out. He said that such anti-Semitism was “unacceptable.”

But Rubinfeld told La Dernière Heure that the case’s closing shows that “the fight against racism, including anti-Semitism, remains in the rhetorical realm.”

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