U.S. Jew says kicked out of Belgian cafe for wearing kippah
Prof. Marcel Kalmann: Waiter told me 'we don't serve Jews, get out;' restaurant owner: Customer had 'strange behavior.'
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.
Kalmann was born in Auschwitz three days before the liberation of the Nazi camp by the Russian army, according to the EJP.
There are about 40,000 Jews living in Belgium today, most of them in Antwerp or Brussels.
Last year saw a substantial rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany, Austria and the Scandinavian countries, according to the Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism.
The Global Forum - a joint effort of the Jewish Agency, the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office - counted 360 anti-Semitic incidents in France in 2006, compared to 300 in 2005. In the United Kingdom, the report listed a yearly decrease from 321 incidents in 2005 to 312 incidents in 2006.
Russia recorded 300 incidents in 2006 compared to 250 the preceding year, and Austria saw a jump from 50 incidents to 83 last year.
The Scandinavian countries saw 53 incidents in 2006, substantially more than the previous year's 35.
The report cited a 60-percent rise in incidents in the Berlin area, although it did not include figures for all of Germany