(JTA) — In explaining how terrorists in hiding could avoid capture, Belgium’s vice prime minister compared their situation to that of Jews who hid from Nazis.
Jan Jambon made the analogy last week during an interview with VTM, a Flemish-language television station, the news website Knack reported Wednesday.
Claude Maroniower, a Belgian-Jewish alderman in the city of Antwerp, complained earlier this week on Facebook that Jambon’s comparison was inappropriate, prompting Jambon’s spokesperson to issue a statement saying he “did not mean to equate in any way” Holocaust victims and terrorists.
During the VTM interview Jambon said: “Someone who hides and receives support from the population can stay hidden for a long time. I sometimes make the comparison of a large number of Jews during World War II. There are Jews who stayed hidden for four years, and it was a horrible regime that was constantly searching for these people. Luckily they never found them.”
Jambon has strong ties to Jewish groups in Belgium and recently spoke at a Jewish event in the Netherlands about street celebrations in Belgium following the slaying of 32 people in terrorist attacks in Brussels on March 22. His reference to Jews in hiding was in response to a question on how suspects implicated in the attacks could avoid capture for weeks and detection for many months.