Joel Rubinfeld, president of the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, told JTA “the trip meant to inoculate teens against anti-Semitism ended up possibly infecting them with it.”
Belgian anti-racism groups condemned a public broadcaster’s airing of a video showing a guide at Auschwitz telling visiting youths that she is pro-Palestinian and anti-Semitic because of Israel.
The video was aired by the Flemish VRT network on May 8 as part of the program Terzake. It was about a trip organized by the “Trein der 1000” nongovernmental group for 1,000 teenagers from Belgium to the former Nazi death camp in Poland. The program is meant to teach adolescents about the Holocaust in order to educate them about the dangers of racism.
At the camp, the group’s Jewish guide, Lydia Chagoll, 84, is seen saying: “I am pro-Palestinian. I’m anti-Semitic.” Chagoll made the statement while talking to 18-year-old Fida’a Temraz, a Belgian high school student of Palestinian descent, and several other students. Referencing Israel, Chagoll added: “I am an anti-Semite, because I think it is a scandal that cannot be permitted. It cannot happen.”
In a statement, the Flemish Forum of Jewish Organizations wrote that Chagoll’s statement about being anti-Semitic was probably sarcastic, but that because of her actions, “an activity meant to be educational turned into a disgusting and historically incorrect statement.”
Termaz said in an interview for VRT: “The situation now in Palestine, the occupation and the Holocaust, and Jewry, all is interconnected.” She added: “Hadn’t they [Jews] experienced it, I would have never come to Belgium, I would have been born and raised in Palestine.”