Examples of anti-Semitism in the Netherlands
By Gerrit Roos, The Netherlands
through 2002, the in the Netherlands well-known Centre for Information and
Documentation Israel (CIDI) concluded that the number of anti-Semitic expressions
in 2001 has gone up. This is the message of the annual report of CIDI. Not
only the number but also the seriousness increased. The incidents have a
different ‘face’. It once occurred that someone threatened a
Jewish man with a pistol. On other occasions people have been menaced with
death, physical violence, there have been chanting mobs in the street and
anti-Semitic e-mails, calls, letters and faxes.
The annual report of CIDI informed the reader that more Dutch people are
getting accustomed to anti-Semitic utterances. In the Netherlands a growing
kind of tolerance comes up, for instance, towards a chanting of the words:
”Kill all Jewish people.” The effect is that, in the city of
Amsterdam, an increasing number of Jews avoid wearing a kippa while walking
in the street. They don’t like confrontations.
According to CIDI the increase of anti-Semitic expressions is a result of
the ongoing violence between Israel and the Palestinians. Especially Moroccan
people become guilty of this, says CIDI. People from that country and culture
have not really integrated in Dutch society so far. They are easily affected
by the anti-Jewish rhetoric of Arab media.
In 1998, 216 cases of discrimination have been registered at the Dutch
public persecutor’s department. 47 of theses affairs (22 percent)
concerned anti-Semitism. In 1999, 193 facts of discrimination have been
registered. 34 of these affairs (18 percent) were labelled as anti-Semitism.
And in 2000 48 affairs (23 percent) of the 214 registered cases proved
to be anti-Semitism. In its annual report, CIDI concluded that anti-Semitism
has been growing ever since 1997. This tendency is continuing in 2001
It is true that no synagogues have been daubed in 2001 and 2002. This
happened only on the steps of the Portuguese Synagoge in Amsterdam. But
some people did desecrate three Jewish cemeteries in this period. At one
of these burying places the graffiti was very grievous. Twice people smashed
the windows of the small house on a Jewish cemetery. Till now 7 memorials
have been daubed. For example with swastikas. This disgusting Nazi symbol
was also painted on signs near the former Westerbork concentration camp.
The Central Office to report discrimination on Internet (MDI) has registered
no less than 87 notices of anti-Semitism in the first four months of 2002.
In 2001 the total number of reported facts of discrimination on Internet
was 197. Many notices concerned anti-Semitic expressions on neo-Nazi sites.
Now, I will give a few detailed particulars. In January 2002, an English-speaking
man from the Dutch village of Reeuwijk quarrelled with the driver of a
car who neglected some traffic-signs. Both went out of their cars. The
Dutch transgressor abused the other. After a few minutes, he saw a small
star of David (Magen David) on the car of the English-speaking man. He
noticed that this man was a Jew. He then cried: ”Bin Laden was the
best that could ever happen.” And: ”We will murder the Jews.”
The Jewish man went back to his car. But in the meantime, the other driver
punched him on his head. After this, he received several severe and painful
In April 2002, a foreigner – an inhabitant of the Netherlands, but
originally not Dutch – threatened a Jewish market merchant with
a weapon. The delinquent asked the Jew: ”Did you participate in
the demonstration for peace?” The merchant affirmed that he had
done so. The person with the weapon said: ”You are a murderer. And
your family and relatives too. I will come and shoot you” After
that he threatened the Jew with his pistol. People standing around and
other merchants on the market protested and helped their colleague.
of abusive language
In January 2002 people who visited the Liberal Jewish Congregation in
Amsterdam reported insults by a group of young Arab people. Visitors and
children, going to the Jewish lessons regularly, were confronted with
catchwords as ”Cancer-Jew” and ”Hamas, hamas, Jews to
An obviously Jewish man told CIDI that people call him: ”Cancer-Jew.”
Not every day, but often. Especially at the railway stations. When children
of a primary school started abusive language, he entered the school for
a discussion with the teacher. After a short while, he succeeded. The
teacher showed understanding of his grief. The man said that young Arab
people are the delinquents most of the time. He added that in his opinion
this kind of misbehaviour is increasing.
from the schools
A Jewish girl goes to the non-Jewish school for her little brother every
day. In the class-room she once asked where her brother was. One of the
children answered: ”He is in the gas chamber.” The principal
expressed her apologies to the mother of the girl and the boy. But she
said it is impossible to prevent such bad behaviour. This was April 2002.
At the same time, the Jewish primary school Rosh Pina had its yearly school
trip to an archaeologic park named Archéon. One of the women that
accompanied the group noticed that other people looked oddly to the boys’
kippas. A few times she picked up the words ”Jews” and ”gas”
quite near the Jewish children. Suddenly a boy and two girls cried clearly:
”Hamas, hamas, Jews to the gas”. It came to a quarrel between
this woman and the teacher of the boy and two girls. At the end of the
day, all visitors of the park came together in the arena. One of the Jewish
children asked a pupil of another school to remove her bag so that there
would be room for her to sit down. The answer is: ”Not for such
Cancer-Jews.” During the program people of the park imitated the
Roman greetings for Caesar in the arena. The speaker explained that these
greetings began with ”ave”. Children behind the Jewish boys
and girls then started to call: ”Ave Hitler, heil Hitler”
and "cancer-Jews.” Back near the bus, boys and girls threw
stones at the Jewish children and teachers.
we doing? CIDI
In April 700 football-supporters had been sent back from Utrecht. They
travelled by train. Their intention was to be present at the match between
Ajax and FC Utrecht. After arriving at the stadium, they called: ”Hamas,
hamas, Jews to the gas” and: ”to the concentration camp”.
This event was the reason for the announcement of some mayors that they
will not tolerate this kind of chanting in the future.
At the same time the Platform “Stop the war against the Palestinians”
organized a national demonstration with 20,000 participants. 90 percent
were not native Dutchmen. This manifestation finished with bad rows. American,
Israeli and English colours were burned. The police levied a distress
upon banners. Slogans had not only an anti-Israeli character, but also
anti-Semitic. Like: ”6 million were not enough”; and: ”Sharon
is Hitler”; ”Stop new holocaust in Palestine” and so
After publishing the annual report in mid 2002, CIDI wrote a letter of
protest, concern and worry to several political leaders. With this letter
the Centre tried to increase pressure on the government. The Centre asked
to take measures against anti-Semitism and to take other expressions of
intolerance seriously. But with this letter, Dutch people of good will
are not able to finish anti-Semitism.
Germany prohibited the al-Aqsa foundation because of the connections with
Hamas. But there is still an office in Rotterdam. From Rotterdam the foundation
is busy with fundraising for the terrorists of Hamas. This happened, among
other things, during a pro-Palestinian meeting in September with Gretta
Duisenberg, wife of the president of the European Bank. She wrote history
by hanging out the Palestinian colours from her balcony. She has a leading
role in a pro-Palestinian committee. This committee asks the Dutch government
to demand that the Israeli army is withdrawn from the would-be occupied
areas. A petition has been signed by well-known Dutchmen such as former
Prime Minister Van Agt, the leader of the socialist party in the parliament
Van Nieuwenhoven, prominent Dutch authors and other leading politicians.
In a radio-interview, the reporter asked Gretta Duisenberg how many signatures
she would like to collect for the action against the Israeli government.
She said jokingly: ’Six million.” Many Dutch people protested
and some of them brought a charge against her.
Two small Christian political parties, the Christian Union (CU) and the
Political Reformed Party (SGP), and some liberal groups asked in parliament
the government about its view of the fundraising activities of Hamas.
In 2001 Al-Aqsa collected over 635,000 euros for their activities in the
The influential foundation Christians to Israel (CvI) with 100.000 sympathizers
published a statement in which they expressed that they feel deeply ashamed
about the pro-Palestinian action. In an open letter CvI blamed Gretta
Duisenberg for leaving the Jewish nation in the lurch in its awful struggle
of life. This organisation stated that it is an injustice to call for
a European boycott of Israel.
CvI published this call together with several Christian organisations
such as Het Zoeklicht, Near East Ministry and Tot Heil des Volks. In one
of its publications The Catholic Council for Israel said that it was shocked.
This council is an advising body of the Dutch Roman Catholic bishops.
The council notices increasing anti-Semitic expressions in demonstrations
and discussions about the Middle East. The government promised to intensify
the investigations of the Al-Aqsa foundation. A new, pro-Israeli foundation
called the European parliament to make a good choice in favour of Israel.
This foundation states with biblical arguments that it is impossible to
found a Palestinian state next to Israel.
It’s difficult to say something about the impact of efforts to proclaim
the gospel for Jewish people. At first: especially in the Netherlands
many more of less liberal theologians write and publish that Christian
believers have no right to testify that Jesus is the Messiah. The dominant
opinion in our ever less Christian country is that there are two –
or maybe more– ways of salvation.
A lot of more orthodox Christians don’t accept that believers have
to proclaim the gospel. They confess that the Bible contains many promises
for the future of the Jewish nation. But their idea is that the Lord will
fulfill these promises without the witness of Christian believers. Many
of these Christians are supporting orthodox Jewish organisations. In response
to that Messianic believers in Israel ask: Why are these orthodox Christians
supporting orthodox Jews who cross us as Messianic Jews?
The result of this is that proclaiming the gospel for Jewish people is
mainly the action of individual believers. There are two Christian foundations
to evangelize the Jews. One of these organisations has its roots in free
churches. The other is a committee of the general synod of the Netherlands
Reformed Congregations. Don’t mix up this church with the bigger
Dutch Reformed Church. The undersigned is a member of the committee of
the Netherlands Reformed Congregations. We give our name and signature
to protest against anti-Semitism. We protest by articles in newspapers.
But we also visited the Israeli ambassador at the time when members of
the Knesset tried to pass an anti-mission-law.
Our committee is only ten years young. For a long time substitution-theology
was dominant in our churches. We are convinced that it is very important
to affect our Christian believers about the promises for Israel. We are
convinced that we have to teach our Christian believers their duty to
witness. At first individual. We are convinced that we as human beings
are not able to protect the Jews. Thus, we have to pray for the beloved
for the fathers’ sakes.