Belgian Jews want top EU official fired for 'anti-Semitism'
The European Union's trade chief faced a fresh attack for alleged anti-Semitism on Wednesday when a spokesman for Belgium's Jewish community demanded he be fired.
European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht is under a barrage of criticism from all sides after referring to the power of a "Jewish lobby" in US policy.
He suggested it was difficult to have a "rational" conversation with most Jews about the Middle East conflict
"I consider he is inciting hatred," the head of Belgium's Jewish groups, Maurice Sosnowski, told the daily Le Soir.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso "if he has a sense of responsibility about the moral values he stands for, should fire De Gucht immediately," he added.
Last week the European Jewish Congress demanded an apology and a full retraction from De Gucht, whose comments came on the heels of a German central banker's controversial statement that "all Jews share a certain gene."
"Once again we hear outrageous anti-Semitism from a senior European official," EJC President Moshe Kantor said in a statement.
The European Commission distanced itself from the remarks, saying they were "personal views" that in no way reflected the position of the EU regarding the Middle East peace process.
De Gucht expressed regret about the way his remarks had been interpreted, but said he had not meant to offend Jews.
© 2010 AFP