New York, NY, May 1, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel’s commitments to provide adequate funding for security measures at Jewish institutions and to adopt a zero-tolerance law enforcement policy on anti-Semitic incidents, two policies long-sought by the Belgian Jewish community.
Prime Minister Michel made the promises in an interview on April 29 with Joods Actueel, a prominent Jewish weekly paper in Belgium.
“For too long, Belgian leaders have paid lip service to concerns of the Belgian Jewish community in the critical areas of security and prosecution of anti-Semitic incidents,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “Prime Minister Michel announced his government has found both the budgetary resources and the political will to implement these much needed reforms.”
Mr. Foxman added, “Prime Minister Michel publicly recognized that ‘perpetrators of anti-Semitic acts are not always prosecuted’ and said ‘it is unacceptable that one of our communities must pay for its own safety.’ We look forward to the quick fulfillment of these commitments.”
In September 2014, ADL called on Belgium - prior to the October 2014 formation of the current government - to adopt a national strategy against anti-Semitism, following a series of disturbing anti-Semitic incidents, and urged Belgian authorities to include anti-bias education, counter-radicalization programs, law enforcement training to better recognize hate crimes, strict enforcement of hate crime laws, and an adequate level of protection for Jewish synagogues and communal institutions in its plan.
Serge Rozen, President of the Coordinating Committee of Belgian Jewish Organizations (CCOJB), praised Prime Minister Michel for his “commitment to the security and the well-being of the Belgian Jewish community.”
A recent ADL poll in 100 countries found that 27 percent of those surveyed in Belgium harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, including one of three Belgian respondents agreeing with the statement, “Jews don't care what happens to anyone but their own kind.”