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Monday, February 11, 2008

Haaretz: U.S. Jew says kicked out of Belgian cafe for wearing kippah

A U.S. professor who was born in Auschwitz just before the concentration camp's liberation in 1945 said he was kicked out of a restaurant in the Belgian city of Bruges two weeks ago because he was a Jew, according to European news reports.

Marcel Kalmann said that a waiter at the Le Panier d'Or, a renowned café-restaurant located on the main city square, saw his skullcap under his hat and shouted at him "We are not serving Jews, out of here," according to the reports.

Kalmann told the Antwerp Jewish magazine Joods Actueel that when he went down to the police station to file a report, the officers did not believe him at first and heckled him throughout the complaint.

An officer told him that the complaint had to be filed in Flemish, not English, and then told him that the incident would not be considered an anti-Semitic offense, according to a report in the European Jewish Press (EJP).

The owner of the restaurant told Joods Actueel that Kalmann was indeed kicked out of the restaurant due to "strange behavior." He said he was ready to apologize for the incident, according to the report.

Kalmann said he would file a complaint against both the police and the restaurant, according to the magazine...


4 Comments

I live in Bruges, and have to say that I'm embarrassed about this. The city of Bruges (Brugge) is a very touristic city (our main industry), and we welcome about 3,5 million visitors each year. This is the very first time I heard of such an outrageous thing. I have been to establishments on the market square on many occasions, and have never seen such behavior towards anyone, be they Jewish, Muslim, Chinese, American... It doesn't make sense to discriminate against people, when your economy depends on welcoming everyone to your city no matter what religion, race or country they are from. I can only conclude that this would be a sad incident, at one place. I would suggest avoiding this place.
About the reaction of the police, I can't say I'm surprised. Last time I had to deal with them, I wanted to report my bicycle stolen. They never even allowed me in the building to declare it stolen. I felt to me like they felt that it was too much effort to do the job, that people like me (the taxpayers) pay them for. So no, I cannot say I'm surprised that the police was not very helpful.

I would really be surprised if this were an every-day event, so thanks for that. I'm actually surprised about what you say about the police. That's interesting.

I have heard similar stories.

I have been to Brugge several times and I have been to this restaurant. I am not saying this incident did not occur but I am having a hard time believing it happened the way it is being reported. I wish that we could hear the waiters version of the story.

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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