Published on Monday, 19 November 2012 23:14 Written by JTA
Approximately 150 demonstrators gathered Sunday afternoon outside the Provinciehuis, a concert hall in the Flemish capital, to protest the Israel Defense Forces Orchestra’s performance there, according to the online edition of the Flemish-Jewish magazine Joods Actueel.
Several demonstrators can be heard chanting “Hamas, Hamas, all Jews to the gas” in recordings from the demonstration, which Joods Actueel posted on its news website. They will be filed to police along with an official complaint over hate speech, the paper reported.
One wing of the demonstration comprised members of center-left and extreme-left movements, including Fouad Ahidar, a Brussels alderman and member of the Socialist party SP-A. One of the protesters there carried a sign reading: “Tzahal, you are stinking murders (sic).”
Another wing of the demonstration comprised activists from the extreme right, including Eddy Hermy, an activist of the N-SA movement, Joods Actueel reported. He has been twice convicted of racist speech. His articles are regularly published on the neo-Nazi website solidarisme.be.
A commentary by Joods Actueel on the incident read: “We are not surprised by this. When it comes to anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiments, we find these groups together.”
The IDF orchestra’s tour in the Netherlands and Belgium began two days before Israel launched operation Pillar of Defense against Hamas on Nov. 14.
Several European cities, including The Hague and Brussels, have seen protests against the IDF offensive against Hamas, which Israel launched in response to the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel.