BRUSSELS (EJP)—A prominent figure of the Jewish community of Belgium has resigned from the Board of Free University of Brussels (ULB) after denouncing several grave anti-Semitic incidents within the institution.
Jacques Brotchi, an internationally renowned neurosurgeon and honorary professor at the ULB, told EJP: “I resigned from the Board of the University Foundation which collects funds for research because I deeply deplored the absence of a strong and appropriate reaction from the university authorities to a succession of anti-Semitic incidents.”
In his letter of resignation addressed to the ULB Rector, he wrote: “I don’t feel at home anymore at ULB.” He added, “I asked if the university of free-examination has not become the university of free anti-Semitism.”
The incidents, which have been repeatedly denounced by the Union of Jewish Students of Belgium (UEJB), included the staging of an Israeli military checkpoint on the university campus, the invitation of anti-Semitic French comic Dieudonne to a conference and the absence of reaction to the comments he made, a Nazi-style student feast and the publication of an article in the magazine of Solvay, the economics and management school, in which the author used anti-Semitic stereotypes and prejudices comparable to those of the Protocols of Elders of Zion.
As one student put it, “the situation at the university has become particularly difficult for Jews.”
The Union of Jewish Students urged the academic authorities to take measures against the “deteriorating climate” on the campus.
Brotchi, who is also a member of the Belgian Senate for the Liberal party, has met the university authorities to explain his decision but he didn’t had the impression they understood the gravity of the situation.
“I explained them that I know Jewish families who prefer to send their children study at UCL, the Catholic university,” he told EJP.
In an interview published last month by the Belgian weekly Le Vif-L’Express, the Rector, Didier Viviers, flatly denied that his university has become anti-Semitic “because of several regrettable incidents”, and spoke of a “smear campaign.”
According to Brotchi the situation at Brussels University is not isolated. “It is comparable to what is happening in other universities in Europe and elsewhere with the academic boycott of Israel campaigns where anti-Zionism takes the form of anti-Semitism.” “But this is no reason to stay without reaction,” he added.