Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz on Saturday welcomed UNESCO’s decision to remove an annual Belgian carnival from its heritage list over persistent charges of anti-Semitism.
He also urged the Belgian government to clamp down on the Aalst carnival in the country’s Flemish-speaking region, which in March included a float caricaturing Orthodox Jews with hooked noses sitting on bags of gold.
“I welcome the moral and principled decision to remove the Aalst Carnival from UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity,” Katz said in an English-language statement.
“In the 21st century, during a time when anti-Semitism is once again rearing its ugly head, there cannot be any tolerance for this ugly phenomenon,” he wrote.
“We expect the Belgian government to come out clearly and concisely against the inclusion of antisemitic displays in the carnival.”
The carnival was added to the UN cultural body’s heritage list in 2010 but was removed on Friday at a UNESCO meeting in the Colombian capital Bogota.
“UNESCO is faithful to its founding principles of dignity, equality and mutual respect among peoples and condemns all forms of racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia,” it said in a statement announcing the decision.