Society

Anti-Semitic Incidents Rise Across Europe In Response To Israel-Palestine Conflict

| by Jared Keever

A Belgian doctor reportedly refused to treat a Jewish woman with a fractured rib and suggested she instead visit Gaza to get rid of the pain.

Haaretz reports the physician made the comment Wednesday while working a medical hotline in Flanders, the Flemish region of Belgium whose capital, Antwerp, has a large Jewish population. 

Bertha Klein said she asked her son, who is an American citizen, to call the hotline for her at 11 p.m.

“I’m not coming,” the doctor told the man and hung up the phone.

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“Send her to Gaza for a few hours, then she’ll get rid of the pain,” the doctor said when the son called back.

Frustrated, the family called a local alderman to register a complaint. Health ministry officials are now looking into the incident. 

The doctor reportedly confirmed the exchange and described himself as having an “emotional reaction.” He said he knew the woman was Jewish because her son had an American accent.

“It reminds me of what happened in Europe 70 years ago,” Klein’s grandson, Hershy Taffel said. “I never thought those days would once again be repeated.”

Anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise across Europe, according to a story from Reuters.

Spikes in such incidents are common in Europe during periods of unrest involving Israel and Palestinians, according to reports from the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University.

News reports from Belgium in the past two weeks tell of similar disturbing incidents.

In Liege, police removed a sign from a cafe that said dogs were allowed but Jews and Zionists were not. 

Recently in Antwerp, a Jewish woman was refused service at a clothing store.

That woman, who remained unnamed in the story published by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, reported the incident to police.

“When I came to the cash register to pay for a few items I was told, ‘We currently don’t sell to Jews out of protest,’” the woman said.

The owner of the shop, when pressed by a reporter, would not say what he was protesting.

When a reporter asked a shop employee if the owner had a policy of not selling to Jewish people, the employee said, “Yeah, that’s what he says.”

The owner denied that accusation.

“On the contrary, we have many Jewish clients and we buy our products from a Jew,” the owner said. “Why would we not sell to Jews? We’d only be hurting ourselves.”

Sources: Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post (Reuters Story), Jewish Telegraphic Agency

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