A Belgian physician refused to treat a Jewish woman Wednesday, saying the woman suffering from a fractured rib should “go to Gaza to get rid of the pain.”
According to a JTA report, the physician made the remark while manning a medical hotline in Flanders, discerning that the patient was Jewish because her grandson had an American accent. Antwerp, the capital of Belgium’s Flemish region, has a sizeable Orthodox population.
JTA did not name the doctor, but said that a local Jewish newspaper, Joods Actueel, confirmed the exchange, saying he had an “emotional reaction.”
Hershy Taffel, Bertha Klein’s grandson with the American accent, filed a complaint with police for discrimination. “It reminds me of what happened in Europe 70 years ago,” Taffel told Joods Actueel. “I never thought those days would once again be repeated.”
The incident was the latest in a series of anti-Jewish attacks in Belgium: On May 24, a Muslim man opened fire at the Jewish Museum on Brussels, killing four. More recently, European media reported that a Orthodox woman was refused service at a clothes store in Antwerp, and police removed a sign in French and Turkish from a café near Liege which said dogs were allowed but Zionists and Jews were not.
JTA reported that a Jewish woman who displayed an Israeli flag from her balcony in Amsterdam was targeted with a firebomb and death threats. A firebomb landed on the balcony of neighbors of Leah Rabinovitch, a Mexico-born Jewish woman who flew the Israeli flag on Amsterdam’s Kruger Square, located in an eastern neighborhood heavily populated with Moroccan immigrants, Het Parool daily reported Wednesday. The report did not say whether the firebomb ignited and whether it caused any damage, but according to the FokNews website, it landed on a neighbor’s balcony.
Fok also reported that a stone that was hurled at Rabinovitch’s apartment smashed a window and that one of the death threats sent to Rabinovitch read: “Heil Hitler, Hitler is coming back, Jews must die.” Rabinovitch and her partner put out the flag several weeks ago as a sign of solidarity with Israel’s assault on Hamas in Gaza. Their downstairs neighbors displayed on their balcony a Palestinian flag, and demanded that Rabinovitch remove her flag. Complaints by the downstairs neighbor led the Rochdale housing association that manages the apartments to send letters to both apartments ordering them to remove the flags and warning that they would be held accountable for damages resulting from vandalism, Het Parool reported. Rochdale defined the conflict as an “ongoing neighbor quarrel.”
Rabinovitch told Het Parool she had no previous conflicts with the neighbors prior to hanging the flag. “They present it as though I was trying to provoke with my flag but it wasn’t about making a statement,” she said. “We find it difficult to understand why Rochdale, the police and the neighbors want us to remove our flag. Should I feel afraid in my own house? If I remove the flag it means tolerating anti-Israel-Semitism.”
In Madrid, Jewish groups said they would file suit over an anti-Semitic article in the national daily El Mundo. Renowned Spanish author Antonio Gala wrote on Tuesday that “The Jewish People could have done much good for mankind” but “it is a thought they were not made to coexist.
Gala also said the Gaza operation justified the explosion of Jews from Spain in 1492. “It’s not strange that they have been so frequently expelled,” Gala continued. “What is surprising is that they persist….Now you have to suffer their abuses in Gaza,” he wrote.
In Sydney, Australia, a Jewish reporter covering an anti-Israel protest for the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) was targeted by a man of Middle Eastern appearance shouting: “Shame on you! Ya Jewish! You are Jewish! Shame on you!” The rally was attended by several members of parliament, mainly from the radical Greens Party, including Senator Lee Rhiannon, who accused Israel of “war crimes” in Gaza but couldn’t seem to find the words to address the Judeophobic nature of pro-Palestinian activism. The incident was followed several days later by a vicious anti-Semitic cartoon, published in the Sydney Morning Herald, picturing a hook-nosed Jew enjoying an afternoon’s entertainment by sitting in his armchair overlooking Gaza and using a television remote control to attack residents of the Strip.