Belgian Carnival Removed From UNESCO List For Mocking Hasidic Jews

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    A parade float at the Aalst Carnaval in Belgium features caricatures of Orthodox Jews atop money bags, March 3, 2019. (Courtesy of FJO)

    BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A famous Belgian carnival was removed from the U.N.’s cultural heritage list on Friday following complaints that last year’s edition contained blatant displays of anti-Semitism.

    The Aalst carnival was taken off UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list during a meeting in Colombia’s capital city, becoming the first cultural tradition stricken from the U.N.’s global inventory of cultural practices.

    The carnival was criticized by anti-discrimination groups after this year’s edition included a float depicting Jews with sidecurls and oversized noses atop piles of money. A document filed by UNESCO’s committee for the safeguarding of cultural heritage said the event violates the organization’s principles.

    The Aalst carnival is held each year before Lent and was added to the cultural heritage list in 2010. UNESCO describes it on its website as an event with a “slightly subversive atmosphere” that celebrates the unity of Aalst.


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