Anti-Zionism has become a kind of modern religion in Belgium, says Professor Joel Kotek, a leading expert on anti-Semitism in Europe today. Professor Kotek speaking at a meeting with Israeli journalists in Brussels.
According to him, today, in Belgium, there is such a thing as a "pragmatic anti-Semitism" that is associated with many factors, ranging from the traditional Catholic opposition to the Jews, post-colonial guilt complex, the desire to get rid of the Flemish leaders spots of collaboration with the Nazis and ending electoral considerations. Left-wing politicians who want to attract the votes of Muslim voters, an increasing number are using criticism of Israel and Zionism for its own purposes. The professor said that the demonstrations, which were anti-Semitic, was attended by all the politicians, except the Liberal Conservatives.
The Arab-Israeli conflict is a part of this complex of factors may have a significant, but not the main one. The professor believes that the promotion of the peace process will reduce the tension, but is unlikely to completely eliminate anti-Semitism.
Professor Kotek noted that, in principle, the Jews in Belgium feel safe without demonstrating affiliation to Judaism. Hasidim in Antwerp sometimes face of anti-Semitism, such as insults, often by young Muslims.
According to the professor Kotek, the situation in Belgium is complicated by the uncertain future that awaits the country on the brink of collapse.
Joel Kotek also said that in recent years there is a new trend, which he calls a very dangerous: the extreme right forces are beginning to attack the Muslim community and to show sympathy for the Jews.
Prepared by Michael Borodkin