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March against anti-Semitism planned for 10 December

15:00 03/12/2023

A national march against anti-Semitism will take place in Brussels next Sunday, 10 December, organisers have confirmed.

The Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organisations in Belgium (CCOJB), the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism and the Forum of Jewish Organisations are organising the protest due to what it described as an increase in anti-Semitism since violence erupted in the Middle East.

“In recent weeks, actions against anti-Semitism have taken place in many cities around the world, including in the United States, France and the United Kingdom,” said Yves Oschinsky, president of the CCOJB.

“We too want to make this point. We are organising a national march in Belgium to show the Jewish community that it is not alone.”

Since Hamas's attack on Israel on 7 October and the subsequent Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip, incidents of anti-Semitism have been on the rise, according to Oschinsky.

“Both abroad and here, we notice a growing number of reports of anti-Semitic acts,” Oschinsky said.

“The most significant in our own country was the desecration of at least 85 Jewish graves in the Marcinelle cemetery.”

Joël Rubinfeld, president of the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, echoed concerns in an interview with French-language news channel LN24, pointing out that the threat level in Belgium has been raised by OCAM, Belgium’s counter-terrorism authorities.

“If OCAM – which is usually very reticent – raises the alarm, I think this shows that there is danger,” Rubinfeld said, going on to criticise the lack of action from Belgian politicians.

Rubinfeld also described statements from climate minister Zakia Khattabi, who in early November did not want to label Hamas as a terrorist organisation but later retracted the remarks, as “extremely worrying”.

More than 30 personalities have already expressed their support for a march against anti-Semitism on 10 December, including singer Salvatore Adamo, film directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, actor Dany Boon and actress Cécile de France.

“The date of 10 December is not insignificant, as it’s also Human Rights Day,” said Oschinsky.

“We hope that many citizens will show their solidarity with our community on that day.”

The march will leave at about 14.00 from the Place de la Chapelle and proceed to Place Poelaert where speeches will be made.

Written by Helen Lyons