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Belgian Carnival Float Features Puppets of Grinning Jews, a Rat and Money Bags

A parade float at the Aalst Carnaval in Belgium features caricatures of Orthodox Jews atop money bags, March 3, 2019. PHOTO: Jewish Telegraphic Agency/Courtesy of FJO

By Cnaan Liphshiz | 4 March 2019

JEWISH TELEGRAPHIC AGENCY — Participants in a street celebration in the Belgian city of Aalst paraded giant puppets of Orthodox Jews and a rat atop money bags.

Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs condemned the float Sunday at the annual Aalst Carnaval street celebration as “shocking.” It contains “typical, anti-Semitic caricatures from 1939,” he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The umbrella groups representing Flemish and French-speaking Jews in Belgium, FJO and CCOJB respectively, complained to the federal UNIA watchdog on racism about the display. “In a democracy like Belgium, there is no room for such things, carnival or not,” they wrote.

The group Vismooil’n created the two puppets as their 2019 theme for the Aalst carnival, the local edition of celebrations that take place throughout parts of Europe and Latin America annually in anticipation of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter. Participants prepare floats and dance routines, parading them through town on Carnaval. […]

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