The Dutch government, in a parliamentary debate regarding anti-Semitism in the Netherlands a few weeks ago, decided it would continue its policy of not protecting the Jewish community on any level, even though the community has protested this policy repeatedly as it is the only group in Dutch society that always requires security at its events and activities.
Although the Dutch Parliament has existed for about 200 years, the first meeting and discussion only occurred last year after the media produced several articles about the subject that concluded that anti-Semitism is not abnormal in the country. In fact, an article in the daily NRC Handelsblad had a title that read: “Anti-Semitism is more than an incident. It is normal.” This second meeting indicates that little has changed since then and that anti-Semitism remains.
Over the last few weeks, anti-Semitism has reared its head with several more articles appearing in the media. According to major newspapers, Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs has been insulted and harassed more times in the last year than in the 35 years he has held his position and the head of the rabbinical seminary, Rabbi Raph Evers, avoids being in public. The articles didn’t mention the experiences of expatriates who moved elsewhere, whose experiences have been similar, with some being insulted in public as often as two-three times daily.
Jewish community members and representatives say the majority of the harassment comes from the one million Muslims from North Africa, especially those from Morocco. However, some Christian elements also have engaged in anti-Semitic behaviors, such as incident recalled by a Dutch expatriate living in Jerusalem who was accused of killing Jesus and avoided going in public while visiting his parents in Arnhem. In addition, the community says that the continued insults affect children. However, the community did qualify their statement by saying that those experiencing the sentiment were a small segment of the population.
According to Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, a European expert on Anti-Semitism, the discussion was prompted by his latest book entitled “The Decay: Jews in Rudderless Netherlands.” The quote quoted senior Dutch officials recommending that Jews leave the country for their own safety. In addition, he suggested that the media or some organization conduct a poll regarding anti-Semitism amongst the Muslim and wider population and compare the results to see how widespread the phenomenon is, although this is taboo in Dutch culture.