Brussels mayor bans anti-Semitic gathering

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — A mayor from Brussels banned an event that Jewish groups have called a “summit meeting for anti-Semites.”

Eric Tomas, mayor of Anderlecht— one of 19 municipalities that make up the Brussels autonomous region of the federal Belgian state, on Sunday said he would ban the “European Congress of resistance,” saying it was a serious risk to public safety due to planned protests against the meeting, the BBC reported.

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The event, which was scheduled for Sunday, was organized by Laurent Louis, a Belgian lawmaker with a record of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements. In January, he said in parliament that “the Holocaust was set up and financed by the pioneers of Zionism.” Last year he posed for pictures outside parliament while standing on an Israeli flag.

One of the speakers invited was the French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, who has seven convictions for inciting racial hatred against Jews and whom French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has termed a “professional anti-Semite.” Other speakers include Alain Soral, the author of several anti-Semitic books, and several people who collaborate with Dieudonne.

The Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, or LBCA, on Friday filed a complaint with the Brussels prosecutor against the event, saying that it would be “a day of hate, that would serve as a platform for the worst gathering of anti-Semite authors, theorists and propagandists that our country has seen since the end of World War II”.

“The Belgian authorities ultimately reacted positively and promptly to our requests,” Joel Rubinfeld, president of the LBCA, told JTA Sunday. His organization, he said, has been monitoring the planned gathering for the past two weeks.
Organizers kept the location of the congress secret until Saturday, when it was announced on Facebook as scheduled to take place at the Akdeniz book store in Anderlecht.

Rubinfeld said his group is continuing to monitor the situation. “In the past, we’ve seen organizers of banned events switch venues at the last minute or shortly after the scheduled time and date and we are preparing for such a prospect,” he said.

Louis on Sunday continued to urge participants of the event to show up at the planned venue.

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