The editor of a prestigious Belgian daily defended an op-ed described as anti-Semitic, saying its critics were trying to silence criticism of Israel.
The column, written by Dimitri Verhulst, was published July 27 in De Morgen and quickly drew outrage. It describes Jews in Israel as land thieves with a religious superiority complex and says they have “ugly noses.”
“We clearly do not view the text as anti-Semitic. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have published it. Neither did the author intend it as anti-Semitic,” Bart Eeckhout, De Morgen’s editor in chief, wrote in response to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “The op-ed surely is a harsh criticism on Israel’s politics towards the Palestinian people. It is written in a hard, sarcastic fashion and it foretells the current uproar, stating that any hard criticism on Israel will always be reinterpreted as anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is a very serious allegation, which we think is used too easily in this case, in a way to silence the debate about Israel’s policies.”
Titled “There is no promised land, only stolen land,” the op-ed charges through sarcasm that Israeli Jews and their supporters regard themselves as “chosen” and God’s “darlings,” and they use the ambiguous biblical concept to justify the subjugation of the Palestinians.
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