Examples of anti-Semitism in the Netherlands
By Gerrit Roos, The Netherlands

Halfway 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.

Processes and figures
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 and 2002.

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.

Examples of violence
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 kicks.

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.

Examples 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 the gas.”

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.

Examples 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.

What are 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 on.

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 Netherlands.

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.

Gerrit Roos