His name's Christoph D'Haese. He's Burgomeester (mayor) of the Belgian city of Aalst in old East Flanders, and a member of the Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie, which, being translated, means New Flemish Alliance.
Once upon a time, in another city in what is now Belgium, live cats were thrown from a belfry tower to their deaths on a carnival day held during Lent. That vile barbarism, a product of the Middle Ages, apparently persisted until 1817.
In Aalst during Lent there is also a carnival day.
No, they don't sacrifice cats.
Here's how a senior American academic, Eliot A, Cohen, calling it out for the antisemitism that it is, described the obnoxious spectacle from last year:
"On Sunday, a float rolled down the streets of Aalst, a Belgian town, for carnival. It featured two grotesque caricatures of Hasidic Jews, hooked noses, hands reaching out for money, and a rat sitting on money bags. That’s 2019. A second float ... —in Marburg, Germany, in 1936—featured celebrants dressed as Orthodox Jews. The only real difference is that the former was more elaborately and professionally executed, and if anything more grotesque."
[Photos of the two floats at source]
To quote The Independent newspaper at the time:
'A carnival parade which featured Jewish caricatures standing amid piles of money has been compared to Nazi antisemitic propaganda and provoked fierce criticism in Belgium. One float in the city of Aalst’s annual feast on Sunday was decorated with two huge figures of men with large sideburns, crooked noses and wearing shtreimels, a fur hat worn by some Orthodox Jews. One had a rat on his shoulder.
It was followed by several trucks on which dozens of dancing people wore similar outfits....
“The caricatures, like those of Der Stürmer, of Jews with a crooked nose and suitcases, are typical of the Nazism of 1939,” a spokesperson for Belgium’s Forum of Jewish Organisations said. ”This has no place in 2019, carnival or not. The Jewish community naturally accepts humour is very important in a society, but there are limits that cannot be exceeded.” ....
[T]he Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organizations in Belgium called on organisers to condemn the float.
“At best it is a lack of discernment, especially given the rising context of antisemitism in our country and in the world,” a spokesperson said. “At worst, it is the reproduction of antisemitic caricatures worthy of the Nazi era.“We will contact the organisers and the competent authorities to join our denunciation of these acts for the coming years.”
The European Commission, meanwhile – which is headquartered just 20 miles from Aalst in Brussels – called on the Belgian authorities to take action....'As reported there, and more fully here, the group responsible for the antisemitic depictions were unapologetic, and Christoph D’Haese was quoted as saying the group “had no offensive intentions”.
Now, ahead of next year's Aalst carnival, as reported here, the group
'have published 150 caricatures mocking Jews ahead of the 2020 event.The caricatures, some featuring Orthodox Jews with red, hooked noses and golden teeth, were printed on ribbons intended for participants in the annual event, which was added in 2010 to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO....
One caricature shows a red-headed Orthodox Jew with golden teeth and is captioned: “UNESCO, what a joke.”
Hans Knoop, spokesperson for the Forum on Jewish Organizations of Belgium’s Flemish Region, called the 2020 caricatures “pure provocation” and a “manifestation of anti-Semitism.” ...'And the Burgomeester? Well, his fame, or rather his infamy, for tolerating, may, for not only tilerating but excusing these antisemitic manifestations, is spreading. Is it any wonder, Virginia, that on social media he is attracting such robust condemnations as these?