JTA — Belgian Jews accused a Dutch daily of “whitewashing anti-Semitism” after it published an interview with an author who last week said Jews steal land and have ugly noses.
On Friday the NRC Handelsblad daily published a 3,500-word interview with author Dimitri Verhulst that did not address Verhulst’s statements about Jews in a July 27 op-ed in another paper. Belgian and Dutch Jews called the op-ed anti-Semitic.
Hans Knoop, a spokesperson for the Forum of Jewish Organizations of the Belgium’s Flemish Region, asked NRC Monday to take down the interview or address the controversy.
But NRC sees “no reason” to delete the interview, deputy editor Marcella Breedeveld to Skoops in an email.
Knoops’ group last week complained to police that Verhulst had committed incitement in his July 27 op-ed in the Belgian De Morgen paper.
In the op-ed titled “There is no promised land, only stolen land,” Verhulst misquotes a self-deprecating joke by the late French Jewish singer Serge Gainsbourg. Verhulst quotes the singer as saying: “Being Jewish is not a religion, no God would give creatures such an ugly nose.” The quote attributed to Gainsbourg speaks neither of God nor ugliness, reading: “Being Jewish is not a religion. No religion makes you grow such a nose.”
In the op-ed, Verhulst sarcastically calls Jews “the Chosen” and accuses Israel of “murdering” 10,000 Palestinian since 2002. The essay concludes, “There is no promised land. There is stolen land. There are stolen lives.”
“For the first time since the 1940s, pure anti-Semitism is displayed and kept in the op-ed section of a mainstream Belgian daily,” Knoops said.
Verhult and De Morgen have not responded to queries by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.