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December 18, 1981 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-12-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, December 18, 1981 15

`Kristalmorgen' in Antwerp Puts European Jews on Edge

By SHIMON SAMUELS

Director, European Office
Anti-Defamation League
of Bnai Brith

ANTWERP — The shat-
tered glass and diamonds,
strewn outside the Antwerp
synagogue and the
Diamond Exchange in the
wage of the recent terrorist
car bombing in Antwerp,
have been compared to the
night of broken glass"
(Kristalnacht) perpetrated
by the Nazis against
synagogues and Jewish
businesses in Germany in
1 .938.
Jews in Europe no longer
ask themselves if, but
where, will the "Anti -
Semitic Terror Interna-
tional" strike next?
While Belgian Television
was warning against loot-
ing among the debris, Euro-
pean Jewry learned the
street name of yet another
synagogue marked for mur-
der and destruction. Last
year, it was Rue Copernic in
Paris, this year Seitenstet-
tengasse in Vienna, and
now Hovanierstraat in
Antwerp:
It was the holiday of
Simhat Torah, one year
to the day since the
bombing of the Rue
Copernic synagogue. The
parallels are striking.
Once again, there was a
parked vehicle laden
with over 200 pounds of
explosives and a timing
device set to coincide
with Jews going to
prayer. As in Paris, the
vehicle had been purch-
ased with a false
passport.
Once again, a police in-
vestigation leading to
Malta and Cyprus resulted
in speculation about a pos-
sible Libyan connection.
Again, as in Paris, more
non-Jews than Jews were
among the fatalities and
100 wounded in Antwerp.
As in France, the attack
took place in an election pe-
riod in which security was a
campaign issue. Once more,
the demonstration follow-
ing the bombing was an op-
portunity for political
sloganeering, by trade un-
ions and such disparate

left-wing groups as the
Trotskyite AMADA ("All
Power to the Workers"), the
Communist Party and even
anti-Pinochet Chileans.
The Antwerp demonstra-
tion, organized by the local
ADL commission of Bnai
Brith as a "March against
Terror," attracted 5,000
participants and termi-
nate I at City Hall where
the marchers were received
by the City Council.
Mayor Mathilde
Schroyens stated that
Antwerp was a free and
open city permitting all
forms of expression. With
reference to the
synagogue bombing, she
said, "Despite all security
measures that we may
take, we must learn to
live with terror and must
content ourselves to hope
to be spared in the fu-
ture." Speaking to the
Jewish community, the
mayor exclaimed, "Many
Jews live in my
neighborhood. I am
shocked that they allow
their children to walk the
streets alone. The Jews
should think of more
than their own security.
Everyone must help to
ensure security."
In some quarters it was
felt that a bomb deliber-
ately placed on Simhat
Torah was directed against
non-Jewish victims to fo-
ment public fury against
the Jews, since the Jewish'
business establishments
were closed for the holiday.
Yet, the car bomb had
been placed outside a small
Sephardic synagogue due to
open only 23 minutes after
the explosions.
Moreover, there is a con-
sensus among the leaders of
Antwerp's Jewish commun-
ity of 17,000 that whoever
the victims may have been,
the Jewish Quarter was
clearly the target. After all,
this was the fourth violent
incident in a period of two
years in Belgium against
Jews, including two attacks
against air traffic to Israel
at Zaventum International
Airport and the grenade
outrage in July 1980, by a
Palestinian terrorist

against a children's excur-
sion bus in Antwerp that
left a 15-year-old French
boy dead and several others
wounded.

Pierre Havelange, au-
thor of "Racism in Brus-
sels," claims that. Bel-
gium has become "the
European political
center for espionage,
drugs and an interna-
tional ghetto of terrorist
networks." The annual
summer international
rally of neo-Nazis on Bel-
gium soil at Dixmude,
hosted by the extreme
right VMO, has been a
further source of incite-
ment.

The greatest danger for
Jews is the warped percep-
tion in some quarters of
anti-Semitic incidents.
Seen as an extension of the
Arab - Israel conflict to
European soil, the bomb-
ings are viewed by these
persons as an extraterrito-

* *

Terrorist Trial
Starts in Belgium

BRUSSELS (JTA) — The
trial of two Palestinian ter-
rorists charged with killing
a 15-year-old Jewish boy
and wounding 12 other
youngsters and adults in
front of a Jewish youth cen-
ter in Antwerp July 29,
1980, opened this week in
that city's Criminal Court.
One of the terrorists, Said
Al-Nasser, 26, is charged
with murder after he admit-
ted to police that he threw
two hand grenades at the
crowd of Jewish youngsters
who were waiting to take a
bus to a summer camp.
The other terrorist,
Mohammed Hassan, 27, is
charged with complicity.
The two terrorists face life
sentences if convicted,
which in Belgium means
they may be released after
20 years.

I am apt to think that men
find their simple ideas
agree, though in discourse
they confound one another
with different names.
—Locke

rial issue beyond the limits
of national criminality.
Thus, insurance companies
in Antwerp are apparently
claiming that the material
losses of up to $25 million
are not recoverable, as they
were not the result of a
crime, but "an act of war."
Justice Minister
Moureaux insisted that the
police inquiry will exhaust
all possibilities, "even if, in
the end, it might affect our
economic interests."
When pressed as to
whether, as a result, Bel-
gium might close the PLO
office in Brussels, the
minister replied: "If the
truth points in that direc-
tion with positive proof, we
shall pursue it to the end."
Yet, as a time when Moscow
and Athens have endowed.
the PLO offices in their
cities with diplomatic
status, Moureaux added
cautiously, "It would be
dangerous to link all terror
with the Middle East . . . or
to think that by closing the
PLO office there would be
less terror in Europe.
"In any case, this is a
question to be dealt with
at the European and not
the national level ... As
Antwerp was an act of in-
ternational terrorism, we
shall work with other
security services com-

paring details with the
synagogue attacks in
Paris and Vienna.
Further answers must
come from abroad."
Despite the general pub-
lic's indignation and sym-
pathy for their Jewish
neighbors, press reporting
on attitudes of the man-in-
the-street revealed wide-
spread apprehensions about
living near a synagogue.
Justice Minister
Moureaux's parting words
were hardly encouraging:.
"The Jewish community
needs to make a conversion
to security consciousness. It
- — –

CLOSE THE CASE

must think security and
take precautions From day
to day and from hour to
hour."

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