A Belgium protest against Israeli military action turned into an anti-Semitic rally last Sunday, after Muslim demonstrators began chanting “gas the Jews” at Jewish bystanders.
The 300 Islamic protesters, mostly young and from both the extreme left and right, were demonstrating outside an Antwerp concert hall where the Israel Defense Forces Orchestra was performing.
Sometime during the protest, a chant of “Hamas, Hamas, gas the Jews!” broke out, apparently directed at a bystander who appeared to be Jewish. Soon the entire crowd was marching down the street, chanting the hate slogan. Video of the incident was shown on national television and put online.
The protesters did not have permission to demonstrate, reports Your Jewish News. Five were arrested for insulting and ignoring police orders.
Belgium, which has a 25.5-percent Muslim population according to a 2008 study, has increasingly become a scene of conflict. Government officials in Brussels have reportedly banned a popular Christmas tree exhibit out of concerns that the local Muslim population found it “offensive,” while two Muslims elected to local councilor seats in Brussels last month have vowed to turn the country into an Islamic state ruled by Sharia law.
The IDF Orchestra began its tour of Belgium and the Netherlands two days before Operation Pillar of Defense was launched. The conflict has continued for the last week.