New York, NY, January 31, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today condemned the anti-Semitic remarks of Laurent Louis, a member of Belgium’s lower house of parliament who asserted during a parliamentary debate that Zionists had organized and financed the Holocaust and subsequently gave the Nazi-like “quenelle” salute.
ADL welcomed the strong and immediate reaction from the President of the Chamber of Representatives, André Flahaut, who condemned the gesture and remarks made on January 16, and proposed to “take up a collection” to pay for a trip to Auschwitz, so that Louis will “understand the reality of what happened there.”
“Laurent Louis is a hardcore, repeat-offending anti-Semite, whom no Belgian political party will accept,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor. “The parliament reacted appropriately, making clear that Louis is an isolated figure and that such hate speech will not go uncontested.”
At the opening of the following session on January 23, Mr. Flahaut again condemned Louis’ remarks and received widespread applause from the members of the Chamber.
“Mr. Flahaut’s remark about sending Louis to the memorial museum at Auschwitz underscores the continuing necessity for Holocaust education, not as a cure for Louis’ bigotry but to ensure that his hateful Holocaust denial is always rejected by the public,” Mr. Foxman said.
In testimony to Congress in December 2011, the League noted Louis’ previous anti-Semitic remarks.
The “quenelle” salute, which ADL said has become a “disturbing fad” in France, has called on public figures to refrain from using it due to its intended creation to express anti-Semitism.