Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam

Dutch Churches call on Government to curb “unacceptable” antisemitism

The Catholic and Protestant Churches in the Netherlands have urged the Government “to do everything in its power” to curb the rise of an “unacceptable” anti-Semitism in the country.

The call of the Churches comes after the Dutch Centre for Information and Documentation Israel (CIDI) found in April that antisemitic incidents in Holland had increased 19% in 2018 compared to numbers from the previous year.

The big picture

According to a report in the Holland Times, the CIDI found that 135 antisemitic incidents took place in 2018 in the Netherlands.

These cases mostly involved “name-calling by schoolchildren, in the workplace and between neighbors”, said the report.

The story added that “[o]ne of [the] incidents included a Jewish child at school who was told in a group app that ‘All Jews should die’ and ‘Go back to the gas chamber'”.

Go deeper

Just in the past few weeks in the Netherlands two anti-Jewish incidents have captured public interest:

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On June 16, a woman alleged linked to the pro-Palestine Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement was filmed in Amsterdam’s Dam Square calling Israeli tourists “killers” and “haters” and ranting that the Talmud (a central text of Rabbinic Judaism) “calls you to f***k girls. Talmud tells you to plague humanity”.

On June 26, a Dutch rapper, apparently by the name of Anne van der Does, said she would stop calling herself by her stage name of Anne Frank after a public outcry over past antisemitic statements.

“If Taylor Swift were Jewish, I’d gas her personally”, van der Does, whose most famous hit has to do with sex and drugs, wrote in 2018.

“Anne Frank died of typhus so she was never murdered”, wrote the rapper this year.

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For the record

“Both the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands and the Protestant Church observe with great concern that anti-Semitism is becoming stronger” in the country, said the Churches in their statement.

“There are more and more incidents that cause an unsafe climate for the Jewish community”, the Churches added, calling the development “unacceptable”.

“For the churches, the ongoing conversation with the Jewish community in the Netherlands is of great importance. We also count it our responsibility to do everything we can to prevent anti-Semitism throughout society”, continued the Churches, calling on the Government and society as a whole “to do everything in their power to combat antisemitism” and pledging to lend their support to these efforts.

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What’s next

As the Times of Israel reported, last month the Dutch Government for the first time included the fight against antisemitism among its national priorities, allocating in its budget more than $3 million to the effort.

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