Lawyer wears kippah to show support for Israel

A lawyer wearing a kippah. It is not an everyday occurrence in Belgium. But since the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October, lawyer Hans Rieder has been wearing one with an Israeli flag pin.

Rieder, who is not Jewish himself, is defending Dries Van Langenhove, who is on trial for negationism. It was during this trial at the Court of First Instance in Ghent that he wore the kippah with an Israeli flag pin for the first time.


Rieder had not consulted Langenhove before wearing the kippah. "If my client had said I could not wear the kippah, I would have told him to find another lawyer", Rieder told Flemish public television on Wednesday evening.

I doubt this will go down badly with the Jewish community

"I am doing this because I think Israel deserves support after what happened on 7 October. I doubt this will go down badly with the Jewish community," the lawyer stressed.

"I discussed it with my Jewish friends, who all thought it was a good idea. Many Jews feel that they are being left alone in public opinion and the press with the suffering they have gone through and are still going through".


Michael Freilich, a Flemish nationalist N-VA politician and former editor-in-chief of Joods Actueel magazine, was among those who criticised the wearing of the kippah. "Is he doing this to support Israel or to make a statement in this trial?" he asked on Wednesday.

"Reasonable people make a distinction between what a lawyer does and what someone thinks in their philosophical community life," Rieder said. "I always give the example that many Jewish lawyers defended collaborators after the war. My work as a lawyer is entirely separate from what I do as a human being".




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