NEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress (WJC) joins our affiliated community, the Committee for the Coordination of Jewish Organizations of Belgium (CCOJB), in condemning the antisemitic Aalst festival and welcoming the support of all proponents of democracy who have acted collectively to sound the alarm over the dangers of this shameful celebration.
The Aalst Festival embraces antisemitic propaganda and caricature, dehumanizing Jews into images of cockroaches and spreading conspiracy theories to manipulate public opinion and incite hatred. This year, in the wake of UNESCO’s withdrawal of support, the festival’s organizers were free to go even farther to heighten their disgusting imagery of stereotypes, showing their true colors to any who had doubt. That reaction only underscores just how critical it is for international organizations and partners to mobilize in support of Jewish communities, showing that we are not alone in this battle against antisemitism.
In December, the World Jewish Congress welcomed the delisting of the Aalst carnival celebrations from UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The decision to delist the carnival came following deliberations during a meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage on Friday in Bogota, Colombia.