The war in Gaza continues to be used as a pretext for violence (or attempted violence) against Jews in Europe. Our Flemish correspondent VH has translated a series of articles from various Dutch-language news sources in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Belgian synagogue attacked, tensions are rising
Because of the fighting in Gaza tension is rising between the Jews and Arabs in the Belgian cities of Antwerp and Brussels. During demonstrations in recent days there been destruction. Also an attempt was made to set a synagogue on fire.
Arson attempt on synagogue in Vorst, Brussels
Unidentified people have tried to set fire to the synagogue of the Brussels municipality Vorst [the synagogue Beth Hillel]. The damage was confined to scorched front doors, local police report. The perpetrators and their motives are still unknown.
Access door on fire
The incident at the synagogue in the Vroegegroentenstraat [by the Wallonian colonizers called “Rue des Primeurs”] occurred around 8:30 pm Monday when a fire was detected at the heavy front door of the synagogue. The fire was quickly extinguished and caused little damage, except that the entrance door was scorched black.
The initial findings showed that the door was deliberately set on fire, though it is still not clear how that happened. It was first thought by a Molotov cocktail, but that now seems out of the question. The local police suspect that gasoline was poured and lit or that a pile of paper was set on fire. The perpetrators and their motives are still unknown, but a link with the Israeli offensive in Gaza is not excluded.
Illegal Gaza demonstration in Antwerp
Today [Wednesday] at 15:00 in the vicinity of the Antwerp Central Station [note: that means right next to the “Diamond District”, also known as “Jerusalem of the North”], an unpermitted demonstration by pro-Palestine youngsters will take place. This is what press agency Belga was told by a “reliable source”.
Islamic youngsters would have sms’d each other today to demonstrate. It is not impossible it will come to riots after an attack today on a refugee camp in the Gaza strip, in which forty people died.
The police report that are ready to intervene, if incidents occur. The AEL (Arabic European League) would have nothing to do with the demonstration.
Turkish basketball fans jeer at players Israeli team
The conflict in the Gaza Strip has now also moved to the sports arenas. A match in the Basketball Eurocup games between the Turkish “Turk Telekom” and the Israeli “Bnei Hasharon” in Ankara was canceled after Turkish supporters threatened the Israeli players. The police, who were present with around 1500 troops, had to intervene to restore the calm. [see pictures]
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The offenses occurred when the two teams went into the arena to greet the fans. Suddenly the supporters of the home team, of whom some carried Palestinian flags, started to berate and threaten the Israeli players. They screamed, among other things: “Israelis murderers, leave Palestine.”
The “fans” also threw coins and lighters and tried to get into the arena. The police intervened and the Israeli players escaped to the dressing room. A few minutes later it was decided to cancel the match.
Increase of violence against Jews in Europe
Attacks on Jews and arson at Jewish meetings seem to increase in European cities since Israel began the attack on Hamas in the Gaza strip. Such incidents occurred in Belgium, France, Sweden, Denmark and Great Britain.
Arson at Jewish meetings
Last night a burning car rammed the door of a synagogue in Toulouse in the South West of France. A group of people were inside the building taking a course, but nobody got hurt. The damage to the building where the meeting took place was “limited” to a scorched black door.
In the Swedish city of Helsingborg yesterday, a meeting by Jews was disturbed when someone destroyed a window of the building where the meeting took place, and threw in a burning object. The rescue service arrived in time and was able to get the fire under control.
Shooting in Denmark
Last Wednesday, in a shopping center in the Danish city Odense, two Israeli citizens were shot. They were repeatedly harassed in the pervious days. The police arrested a 27-year-old Danish citizen of Palestinian descent.
Dozens of incidents in Great-Britain
In Great Britain, some twenty to twenty-five anti-Semitic incidents occurred. Amongst those was an attempt to set fire to a synagogue in North London. […]
The Belgian government asked the police to be extra alert after resent pro-Palestinian demonstrations resulted in violence and arrests. A letterbox of a Jewish residence in Antwerp was set on fire, and in Vorst [Brussels] a synagogue was set on fire.
France wants unity to prevail
The prime minister of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, said today not to tolerate violent acts in connection with the situation in the Gaza strip. Monday the minister of internal affairs Michèle Alliot-Marie held a meeting with important representatives of Jewish and Muslim groups, hoping to maintain national unity.
France has the largest Jewish and Muslim communities in Western Europe. In the past, anti-Semitic violence occurred more often when the tensions rose in the Middle East. In 2002 about 2,300 Jews left France, because they didn’t feel safe there anymore.