Israel hails UNESCO’s rejection of Belgian carnival over anti-Semitism

Foreign Minister Israel Katz on Saturday welcomed the UN cultural body’s decision to remove a Belgian carnival from its world heritage list over its anti-Semitic displays.

“I welcome the right and moral decision to remove the carnival from the Intangible Cultural Heritage list,” Katz said in a statement.

“In the 21st century, as anti-Semitism attempts to rear its ugly head, there is no place for tolerance on the phenomenon,” he said. “We expect the Belgian government to voice a clear and decisive position against the inclusion of anti-Semitic displays at the carnival.”

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on Friday withdrew an annual carnival in the Belgian city of Aalst from its heritage list.

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage said it was removing the carnival “over recurring repetition of racist and anti-Semitic representations” at the event.

The carnival of Aalst, in the Belgian Dutch speaking region of Flanders, was initially added to UNESCO’s list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2010.