UK

'Dogs Allowed, Jews Stay Out' Says Belgium Cafe

26/07/2014 14:44 BST | Updated 26/07/2014 14:59 BST

A Belgian cafe that displayed a sign saying: 'Dogs allowed but Jews are banned' is facing legal action from an anti-Semitism monitoring group.

The sign was written on the widow of the cafe in the Liege suburb, in both French and Turkish.

In French it said: "Dogs are allowed in, but Zionists are not in any circumstances." But in Turkish, the sign specifically said that Jews were banned, using the word 'Yahudi'.

A Palestinian flag can be seen hanging in the window, next to an Israeli flag with a red cross through it.

The Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism wrote on its Facebook wall that it had reported the cafe to the local mayor, and would also file a criminal complaint.

“LBCA will file in the coming hours a criminal complaint with the Liege prosecutor over the actions of those responsible for this violation of the July 30 law against racism and xenophobia of 1981,” LBCA said in a statement on their Facebook page.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a Jewish news agency, reported that Saint-Nicolas Mayor Jacques Heleven sent police to give a warning to the cafe, and the sign was removed.

Jews in Europe have reported a huge surge in anti-Semitic rhetoric and vandalism in the past fortnight, because of Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Last weekend, extremist groups burned and vandalised Jewish shops and businesses in the Sarcelles suburb of Paris, with police fighting back demonstrators with tear gas and rubber bullet. Clashes also took place between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Germany and Italy, as well as France and Belgium.

Israel's ambassador to Germany, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, said he had seen categorically anti-Semitic statements on banners held at pro-Palestinian protests. "They pursue the Jews in the streets of Berlin… as if we were in 1938," he said in an article for the Berliner Zeitung.

Hadas-Handelsman said he had heard chants of "Jewish pigs" and "Gas the Jews" at a protest in the capital. "Since March 2012, I am ambassador of Israel in Germany. If someone had told me that I witnessed such hateful, incites hatred and anti-Semitic phenomena would be in public in this country, I would not probably have thought it possible," he wrote.

There are around 42,000 Jews currently living in Belgium, with almost half residing in Antwerp, mostly strictly Orthodox Hassidic Jews.

In May, a random gunman killed four people outside the Jewish museum in Brussels with a handgun and a Kalashnikov, three of whom died at the scene with the fourth dying later in hospital. Mehdi Nemmouche, a French citizen widely believed to have spent time training in Syria, is suspected of the murders, arrested in possession of weapons, ammunition, and a video of himself claiming responsibility for the May 24 murders.