The Coordinating Committee for Jewish Organizations in Belgium (CCOJB) has vehemently condemned the calls for violence against Jews sounded by protesters at demonstrations held Sunday in Brussels against the State of Israel’s plan to annex certain Palestinian territories.
The CCOJB said it was shocked by the cries of demonstrators who shouted “khaybar, khaybar, ya ya’ud, jaysh Muhammad sawfa ya’ud” (Khaybar, Khaybar oh Jews, the army of Muhammad will return), a slogan that refers to a battle between the early Muslims and the Jews in the 7th century. The CCOJB immediately reacted to the use of the slogan, which it denounced as a “symbol of Muslim denomination over the Jews”, and recalled that similar manifestations in Antwerp in 2014 had led to a criminal prosecution and conviction.
"These slogans have nothing to do with freedom of expression. They are incitement to hatred that shame us and concern us," said CCOJB Chairman and WJC Vice President Yohan Benizri. "We will work with every necessary player, including in the judiciary, to put a stop to these unacceptable abuses. We as citizens will mobilize against this. Silence is violence.”
Demonstrations that have arisen of late, protesting both government restrictions against the coronavirus, as well as Israel’s annexation plan, have paved way for overt antisemitic expressions and calls to incitement. In Paris earlier this month, protesters hijacked an anti-racism demonstration to demonize Jews and the State of Israel, drawing strong condemnation by the WJC and its regional affiliate, the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF).
The WJC continues to stand with its communities across the globe in declaring that such expressions of hatred must never be tolerated on any level.