Re: Paranoia or Persecution?, it should be noted that Vlaams Belang (under whatever name it currently operates) is Flemish, and thus operates mainly in the northern half of Belgium. The Jewish population, according to the report, is to be found largely in the southern, French-speaking half. The likelihood of Vlaam Belang having any success in the southern part of Belgium is remote, which is not to dismiss it as being of no political significance: see Searchlight, passim. Nevertheless, like the BNP, let’s keep it in proportion.
Brian, Belgium is a complex country. Just want to put the record straight here:
The Belgian Jewish population is concentrated mainly in Antwerp (that is situated in the Flemish speaking “North”) and in Brussels (also geographically situated in the Flanders, but a region in itself, politically bilingual, but in fact 85% to 90% of the people in Brussels speak French).
For some reason a significant majority of the Jews in Antwerp consider French as their mother-tongue. This contributes somehow to the sense of isolation of the Antwerp community in the Flemish region that focuses on language to promote what it considers to be its National emancipation.
I have a different recollection (than Stephanie) of what happened on the Sharon case. The charges were dropped _after_ Verhofstadt and his government had the law changed so that such indictments can only occur if the person is present on Belgian soil.
Furthermore, the Vlaams Belang is the only Belgian party with a clear pro-Israel political position. Polls expect that they are losing influence in favour of an outright populist party “LDD”(that is vigorously anti-Israel) and another party, the NVA, that is no less inationalistic and indepentist than the VB, but has a more politically correct way to present itself.
The Jewish communities are particularly upset by the refusal of all the parties to clearly and publicly distance themselves from their presence at a post Gaza rally (in Jan 2009) where anti-Semitic slogans were shouted.
I would recommend the article in last week’s Der Spiegel which looks at the level of collaboration of Europeans with the Nazi Endloesung programme. It reveals the stark contrast between Denmark, where 95% of the Jewish community survived the war, and the Netherlands where only 9% survived. Is it any surprise that antisemitism is re-emerging in Europe when no one apart from the Germans has had to face up to the crimes committed against the Jews in the Holocaust? Until there is a full recognition of the extent of antisemitism and the extent of involvement in the Holocaust within the whole of Europe, there is no way that antisemitism today will ever be successfully combatted.