Aalst Carnival parade. Image: Anndegeest, WIkimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0

Belgian town of Aalst sheds UNESCO status over anti-Semitism row

The northern Belgian town of Aalst has decided to withdraw its annual carnival from the UN cultural heritage list, saying it is fed up with allegations of anti-Semitism. The town was widely condemned after one of the floats at its carnival parade in March featured offensive caricature depictions of Orthodox Jews with hooked-noses and sitting atop bags of money. 

Aalst mayor Christoph D’Haese said Sunday that city officials “have had it a bit with the grotesque complaints” and no longer want the UNESCO designation.

“We are neither anti-Semitic nor racist. All those who support this are acting in bad faith. Aalst will always remain the capital of mockery and satire,” he said in a statement quoted by Belga news agency.

Read more about the controversy at DW.com.

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