Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More Disturbing News from the European Scene: Jewish Tourist Ejected from Brussels Cafe for Being Jewish

Updated: 2/18-19
Story removed because it seems that this incident did not happen as originally reported. I had some doubts and had written,
"If this report is accurate, then it is extremely disturbing. " Then later in the post I wrote, "the Belgium incident, if it happened as reported, occurred in a well known and prestigious place."

Thanks to a very energetic correspondent, Dan, who sent me this information. For more of Dan's legwork go to "About this Blog" under my picture above or click here. Quite impressive on his part. I should have followed up on my suspicions. I am glad he did.


Epaminondas said...

plus ca change.....
2000 years, same old, same old..

dan said...

it is important to track that down and find out if it really happened. I doubt very much that so called news story is true. can you verify it now with a link and a newspaper story link. if not, please take this down. i am 99 percent sure it is a fake story. please find out

danny bloom

dan said...

posted online:

"Now I had to get that from google's cache because if you go to the Engage site you get this:"

We've removed this story for the moment because we've been informed that it isn't true.

dan said...

You called it right. If you ever need anyone to track info down, email me. I control the Internet!

Kidding. But I can smell a rat from miles away, and that original JTA story, while very interesting, did sound fishy, as you yourself felt too.

Sad story. Unfortunately, many antisemities will use that story and the many of hundreds of blog posts to once again make antisemitic comments about poor professor Kalmann, who maybe was just having a bad hair day, that's all. I am sure he is a good man, and regrets what he did now. I think the Atlanta Constitution Journal, his paper, is tracking this "professor" down. I wish him well, and a good recovery.

dan said...

I have one question now. How come I was the only Jewish person on the face of this planet to actively seek out the truth of this non-story and try to reach bloggers with the truth? How come very few Jewish bloggers blogged the real story, which was between the lines so to speak. And now that there are hundreds of blogs repeating this JTA false story, will any of those blogs, other than yours, recant the story, or take it down, or add an update? No, my guess is the damage has been done. But why was just one lone single fact checker in Taiwan doing this work of tracking down the story? Shouldn't there be more Jewish bloggers with eyes wide open? SMILE.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

Thanks so much for your work on this. I smelled a rat but was not as aggressive as you or at all in tracking down the information. I still wonder what exactly happened and who this man is....

Deborah Lipstadt

dan said...


I am trying to find Professor K. He is known as Marc Kalmann in Sharpsburg, Georgia, his name is listed in phone books online as Marc not Marcel, but I assume his given name is Marcel. I cannot find what he is a professor of and where he was a professor, since at 64 he is prob retired now. I do want to contact him just to get his side of the story, in a gentle way. Maybe he was not the one who made the story so big, maybe the reporter or editor at Jewish Currents made the story bigger by qyoting the prof out of context and writing the headline they he did. But that story sure had legs on the Internet, with many headlines such as "Man kicked out of Belgian cafe for being Jewish" and "Professor kicked out of cafe for wearing yarmulke" and things like that. Which was NOT the case. He was kicked out for causing a scene, but it does seem one of the waiters targeted the kippa after the argument was dying down and the professor remembered that detail. So there ARE two sides to the story, but the main thing is that he was NOT kicked out for being Jewish or wearing a kippa. but the blogosphere is already saturated with this news. Google "Marcel Kalmann" under the google blogs news area, and you will see. The story got blogged to high heaven. SIGH. and it was not even a true. A lesson learned....

PS: I also think the JTA should issue a correction, and I have asked editor Ami Eden to do so. But he does not reply my emails. I guess JTA doesn't care about little details like this. SMILE


Deborah Lipstadt said...

I admire your wanting to find him and hear what he had to say. Why don't you wait until you do or until JTA or Haaretz do and then reach a decision about what actually happened.

As your digging indicates, the story has two sides and seems a bit more complicated than what was originally posted on JTA.

However, let's not immediately assume, as you seem to now be doing, that the professor is a charlatan who completely made this up.

Let's hear how he responds to the cafe's side of the story.

p.s. I recall that when i was at a wedding in Brussels a few years ago a group of us planned to walk back and forth from the synagogue over Shabbat [it was close to our hotel]. The family, very sober folks, provided security for us.

I said: is this really necessary. They said: it may be a bit over the top but there are a lot of people here who would have no compunction about bothering a group of Jews.

So it is entirely possible that some antisemitic things were said.

Maybe yes.... maybe no.

dan said...


I agree, let's wait and see what JTA or Haaretz do in their corrections, if they ever issue one. Point well taken.

But when you say: *"However, let's not immediately assume, as you seem to now be doing, that the professor is a charlatan who completely made this up."*

Please tell me where in my posts I said he is a charlatan who completely made this up? I never said that and you know that. Why put words in my pen I never wrote?
I am surprised at you doing this!

All I said is that the story might not have happened the way the good professor said it did. As the letter from the cafe seems to say as well. In others, yes, he was Jewish, he was wearing a kippa under his hat at first before he took his hat off, and yes, he was kicked out of the cafe. But it appears he was not kicked out because he was Jewish or wearing a kippa. It does appear he was ushered out of the cafe because he had caused a scene over money, over the bill, over the ridiculous tourist trap prices which were three times the normal price! So yes, he was angry. I don't blame him. But to say I said he was a charlatan, where did I say that? Please tell me....

I also never said he made the story up. When a person is angry and wants to get even, they often remember details that are important to them, such as the waiter telling him after seeing his kippa, "We don't serve Jews here!" Yes, the waiter said that. But Professor K was not kicked out because he was Jewish or wearing a kippa. That is is his paranoi.

How am I saying he made it all up. I just said he gave his own reasons for being kicked out, reasons that made sense to him. Sure, that's understandable.


I'm outta here. You deal with this... mesguggah!

dan said...

Daniel Kalmann, the man's brother, has posted this at Deborah's blog. More light:

"Let me quickly shed some light on Marc Kalmann, my brother. He was born in 1948 in Amsterdam and not in Auschwitz in 1945. He lives in the Netherlands and is fluent in Dutch. He lived in the USA for 22 years and was sometimes employed as a teacher of languages at community colleges. He liked the title professor and has used it since. He tends to believe his own fantasies. I love him but I am concerned that his fantasies take over his world. And through the magic of the Internet it is taking the world by storm. I wanted to set some part of the record straight. I have no knowledge of what did or did not happen at the restaurant in Bruges."