Anti-semitism in the Netherlands...
Gee, the Dutch aren't as tolerant as we think...
Today, there is a popular misconception that the Dutch are an easygoing, tolerant, multi-cultured people.
In truth, Dutch society has become polarized as a consequence of the massive influx of non-Western immigrants, predominantly Muslim, who have shattered social stability. Muslims currently comprise one million out of a 16 million population, a disproportionate number of whom have police records.
Together with indigenous anti- Semites, some radical Muslims have effectively exploited the culture of permissiveness to violently promote their objectives.
Verbal and physical violence has escalated, climaxing in November 2004 with the brutal public street murder in Amsterdam of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh who was shot and stabbed to death by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Muslim radical.
Although this had a major impact on Dutch society, it did not become the watershed one may have expected. However the status of the 30,000 members of the Jewish community, already subjected to increasing anti- Semitic incitement and violence primarily emanating from the Moroccan Muslim community, continued to deteriorate.
The leading daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad published an article in June stating that anti- Semitism in areas of Amsterdam has become the norm rather than the exception. It identified areas in Amsterdam in which Jews with skullcaps or distinctive garb cannot walk in the streets without being affronted, spat at or even attacked.
In May, an outdoor commemoration ceremony for the last transport of 3,000 Jewish children deported during the Holocaust was disrupted by bikers shrieking “Heil Hitler” during the recitation of Kaddish.
Anti-Semitism also manifests itself in anti-Israel demonstrations where cries of “Hamas Hamas – Jews to the gas”; “Jew cancer”; and “Hitler let one get away!” are frequently heard. Football stadiums have become notorious arenas for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic chants. About half of the registered criminal utterances reported on the internet throughout Holland in 2009 were against Jews. It is believed that if full records were accessible, the proportion would be much higher.
LAST MONTH, the 280-year-old synagogue in Weesp became the first Jewish house of worship in Europe since the war obliged to cancel Sabbath services after the police had warned congregants of threats of violence.
In a recent letter to members of Parliament, the Jewish community stated that anti-Semitism was rampant, noting that the Jewish community is obliged to provide its own security at schools and all public functions, the costs for which have become unbearable.
Surveys among teachers in the major cities indicate that one out of five teachers have difficulties in relating to the Holocaust because of the hostile response from Muslim students. The Chairman of the Orthodox Rabbinate, Binyomin Jacobs, protested that “today there are many schools which simply stop providing lessons relating to WWII and the Holocaust due to fear of negative reactions from pupils from Muslim backgrounds”.
Jewish schoolchildren feel intimidated and the school authorities are either indifferent or unable to assist them. To avoid harassment, some children are obliged to change schools and even hide their Jewish identity.
A few weeks ago a local Jewish TV station (Joodse Omroep) broadcast scenes of anti-Semitic harassment in the streets recorded by a hidden camera which followed a rabbi accompanied by two students. This provided chilling testimony of the intimidation to which Jews are subjected.
In response, the Dutch police announced that they might use “decoy” Jews – police dressed in traditional Jewish garb – to entrap anti-Semitic hooligans. Rabbi Jacobs responded by stating that such initiatives would be futile unless accompanied by greater emphasis on education, stressing that not only Muslims were engaged in anti-Semitic agitation.
“I witness Dutch non-Muslim youngsters also shouting at me in the street” he stated.
Ironically, the major escalation of anti-Semitism in Amsterdam took place between 2001-2010, when Marius Job Cohen, a Jew, was mayor. Cohen’s grandparents were murdered in the Holocaust but he frequently expresses indifference to his Jewish origins. Now as leader of the Dutch Labor party he participates in attacks demonizing Israel as exemplified in the party’s platform in the recent elections.