Belgian Minister Equates Islamic Terrorists Who Hid In Brussels To Jews During WWII

Belgium's Interior Minister Jan Jambon addresses a news conference in Brussels, February 23, 2016.
Reuters /Francois Lenoir

A Belgian government minister has drawn an unlikely parallel between Muslim terrorists who evaded capture in Brussels after the Paris terror attacks and “the Jews who hid here during the Nazi occupation.”

Jan Jambon, the country’s interior minister, aroused a storm of controversy in the country when, in a television interview on Saturday, he equated the Muslim terrorists who used a network of connections to escape authorities in Brussels with “the Jews who hid here during the Nazi occupation.” According to Haaretz, he later sought to clarify his comments by adding they related to “the mechanism of hiding” rather than Jews escaping the Holocaust.

Mr. Jambon, a member of Flemish party N-VA (New Flemish Alliance), was speaking on the Flemish VTM channel in Antwerp. His views attracted no attention until Antwerp City Council member Claude Marinower chose to respond on Wednesday. He posted them on various social networks and the reactions began.

Mr. Marinower, a former MP, told the Jewish news website Regards: “At first when they told me about it I didn’t believe it was possible. I asked to watch the video – and realized that Jambon really did make this dubious comparison… It’s inconceivable, it’s shocking for all those who hid Jews during the occupation while endangering their lives. How can you compare the jihadist criminals who are hiding today with the innocent Jews who wanted to flee from the Nazi manhunt?”

In an initial response Wednesday, the interior minister’s spokesperson said, “Jambon had no intention of offending the Belgian Jews, on the contrary. He isn’t comparing Jews and terrorists, he was only referring to a factual element of Belgian history: that providing a refuge, hiding people, was something positive, but what is happening today in Brussels is not. Jambon’s statement refers only to the technical aspect of finding the refuge.”

This is not the first time a Belgian government has been drawn into conflicting opinions on Jews in Belgium.  As Breitbart London reported, an operator working on Belgium’s federal hotline established after the Brussels terrorist attacks told a Jewish caller that Israel does not exist and is in fact called Palestine.

According to a transcript of the exchange posted on the website of Joods Actueel, a Belgian Jewish monthly, a representative with the Jewish Coordination Committee was trying to secure permits to repatriate Jews wounded in attacks back to Israel.

The call to the Belgian Interior Ministry’s hotline, which came in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on Brussels airport, was recorded and the operator refused to acknowledge the state of Israel, instead refering to Palestine during the entire exchange.

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