A garage owner in Antwerp published a letter saying that he will no longer provide service to Jews due to “Israel’s unacceptable position on Russia.”
The letter, sent last month to various Jewish organizations, the Israeli embassy in Belgium, and media outlets, stated: “As of today, our Jewish customers are no longer welcome for vehicle maintenance or electrical problems.”
The Forum of Jewish Organizations in Belgium, which said it was shocked by the letter, issued a statement saying: “Belgian Jews don’t have Israeli citizenship and have no influence on Israel’s decisions.”
Over the past week, members of the forum tried to reason with the owner, saying that there’s a fundamental difference between religion and nationality, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy himself is Jewish but not an Israeli citizen.
Additionally, the accusations against Israel are “fake news” since Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid publicly condemned Russia several times and called the massacre in Bucha a war crime. Furthermore, Israel voted against Russia several times in the UN, including last week’s vote to remove Russia from the Human Rights Council.
The forum added in its response to the owner that Israel offered the most humanitarian assistance per capita of all countries in the world that don’t share a common border with Ukraine, including the field hospital in western Ukraine.
However, the garage owner, obviously motivated by anti-Semitism, refused to revoke his letter and the forum filed a complaint against him to Belgium’s state prosecutor.
Chareidi Belgian MP Michael Freilich told B’Chadrei Chareidim that “discrimination on the grounds of religion and origin is criminal. This is repugant discrimination and based on ‘fake news.’ I hope it will not be without consequences. We cannot tolerate this in society.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)