Anti-Semitic caricature removed from Belgian textbook
Two months after Ynet made public appearance of anti-Semitic caricature in Belgian geography textbook—depicting alleged inequality in water distribution between Israelis, Palestinians residing in West Bank—Belgian Education Minister Hilde Crevits announced caricature will be removed starting with book's next edition.
A letter forwarded by Belgian Education Minister Hilde Crevits Thursday to attorney Yifa Segal, director of the International Legal Forum—who first exposed the story—notified the lawyer that after a probe and a talk with the book's publisher, the caricature will be removed starting with the book's next edition.
The minister added that, "One of the education system's goals is to bring up the younger generation to become respectable, informed citizens" and that the Flemish government only set a bar on academic achievement, leaving selection of appropriate books to each school.
The matter initially came to light in late March, when the International Legal Forum NGO was informed by parents from Bruges of a geography textbook intended for 15 year olds and approved by the country's education system.
The chapter in which the caricature appeared dealt with purported inequality in water distribution between Israelis and Palestinians residing in the West Bank. The caricature showed an overweight Jew with traditional Jewish payos (or sidelocks) asleep in a bathtub filled with water, contrasted with an old Palestinian woman with an empty water bucket.
The cartoon—which may have come from the international human rights group itself—carried a caption that read, "Amnesty International: Israel is denying Palestinians access to adequate water … While settlers enjoy lush lawns and swimming pools!"
Attorney Segal, who is deeply involved in the international struggle against the worldwide Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, was astounded by a copy of the textbook she obtained and consequently sent a scathing letter to the Belgian education minister demanding the anti-Semitic caricature be removed summarily.
With her struggle succeeding, Segal welcomed the education minister's decision. "The publication of the anti-Semitic caricature was undoubtedly appalling and regrettable," she added. "We welcome the minister's understanding of the gravity of the matter and her action to expunge it."
"Hateful, inciting or anti-Semitic materials are against the law of the European Union, and we cannot but hope that such serious incidents will not recur, and will continue to combat them if they do," she vowed.