Newspaper in Belgium Publishes Cartoon Calling Jewish Neighborhood ‘Coronavirus Village’

August 14, 2020

A daily newspaper in Belgium is facing scrutiny for publishing a cartoon that readers say labels Antwerp’s Orthodox Jewish neighborhood as “coronavirus village,” the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.

The cartoon in question was published in Le Soir on August 7th by artist Pierre Kroll, who has been accused of fomenting anti-Semitism in several of his previous cartoons. The drawing depicts a tour bus under the banner “Go Visit Antwerp.” An Orthodox Jewish man is seen cycling behind the bus without wearing a face mask, while multiple face masks are drawn on the ground surrounding the bus. A speech bubble coming from the bus driver’s microphone reads in French, “After the zoo, we’ll go tour ‘Coronavirus Village’.”

The president of the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, Joel Rubinfeld, commented that the cartoon “again shows that Kroll obsessively returns to Jews in his works,” and that the caricature is “subtle in comparison to previous Kroll works.” One previous cartoon by Kroll depicted an ornately dressed Jewish diamond dealer smiling during a visit to the tax office amid unhappy and poor visitors.

The Jewish community of Antwerp consists of about 18,000 mostly orthodox members. The Orthodox Jewish community in Antwerp has experienced fewer than 20 coronavirus-related deaths, mostly attributed to an early and stringent adherence to anti-contagion measures.

To learn more about the spate of recent anti-Semitic incidents in Belgium, watch the video below.

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