His poems are reprehensible, and (like the antisemitic play Seven Jewish Children) they are written from a grotesque caricature of a "Jewish" point of view - how a twisted Jew-hater imagines that Jews think. So while the themes are the same lies that we are used to hearing from antisemites (Jews are bloodthirsty killers who use the Holocaust as an excuse to act as monsters, Jews are quite happy making Arabs suffer, Jews use the Torah to justify massacres and ethnic cleansing) - the faux first person perspective makes the poems that much more powerful, and that much more disgusting.
Together with Lucas Catherine, Ducal co-authored "Gaza - The History of the Palestinian tragedy". The book includes his poetry titled "After Auschwitz", a group of poems with names like "Tel Aviv 1948–2008", "Nakba" and "A Poet in Sderot". Lest you think he might actually be sympathizing with the Jews who are constantly being bombed by their Gazan neighbors, rest assured: the song has a little note that Sderot was "formerly Najd", and is all about how 'we' kicked out the rightful owners.
The poems do not mention Jews, Israel, Nazis or Holocaust, and yet they're full of accusations against the Jewish people.
Here are some of them.
for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand;
and thou shalt drive them out before thee.
One does not scrawl fate in the wind.
We seek sanctuary behind
the wall, full of words on our side,
stamped with the holy number, this
stubborn plurality of a faith, in search of a voice
that can unite us in a common song,
a hymn and history to which we belong,
from the ashes of a tongue we rejoice.
The other side of the wall is ours too,
though scarred by signs of enmity.
We simply wipe it clean, unread.
Those who find a hole are blown back
into the void.
LET US TALK
First, we will bury you in the sand,
with your head free to speak
about mutual understanding, about peace;
first, we will make your field our own,
station soldiers between mine and thine,
direct the camera from our side;
first, we will count our dead
from the past two thousand years
and justify the beating,
and wipe the spit from our hands
and declare – it's clear as day;
you want no peace in this land.
Most readers of poetry don't have the same filters they might have when reading or watching the news. Poems need to be interpreted and understood, and that extra effort makes it easier for the reader to trust that the poet - whom he learns to respect during the interpretation process - is being truthful.
Very few casual poetry readers would be able to distance themselves from these works enough to realize how bigoted it is for a man to put himself in the minds of people he hates and relay their supposedly disgusting thoughts. Ducal is an antisemite, and these works prove that beyond a doubt. Saying that Jews are religious fundamentalists who enjoy acting like Nazis is no less offensive and no less a lie when it is written as poetry.
Like fiction and film, poetry can be a powerful tool for brainwashing, and that is Ducal's goal in these examples. Belgium should withdraw this honor; Ducal should be shamed, not feted.
Ducal, or his lawyer, wrote me a letter. A followup post on January 27. Link when it is available.