Belgium university to address race issues following Gaza-themed student game


(JTA) — Following the cancellation of a Gaza-themed students’ game with anti-Semitic overtones, the University of Liege in Belgium set up a pedagogic team to sensitize students to race issues.

The game, which had been planned for Oct. 18, was an initiation ceremony for students of the university’s philosophy and literature faculty. Themed around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the pamphlet of the ceremony warned the students seeking to be initiated, whom the invitation called “little Palestinians,” to “watch out for the big, mean Jew and to settle in safely and happily, if possible.”

The university’s rector, Albert Corhay, condemned the event and demanded it be canceled and that organizers publicly apologize. The university, he said in a statement, “cannot accept this insult in the form of a folkloric activity. There can be no question of hiding behind satire or humor. The nature of this activity is simply ignominious.”  

On Friday, faculty from the university told the Belga news agency that they have set up the team for sensitizing students to ethnic issues.

In a statement issued Oct. 24, the committee responsible for planning the student event distanced itself from any intention to express anti-Semitic sentiments and condemned anti-Semitism. The rector and the union of Jewish Students of Belgium also signed the statement.


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