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December 27, 2018 1:56 pm

Dutch Jews Urge Ban on ‘Antisemitic’ Pro-Palestinian Demonstrations at Amsterdam’s World War II Monument

avatar by Ben Cohen

Dutch veterans of the Second World War attending a remembrance service at the National Monument in Amsterdam. Photo: Reuters/Jerry Lampen.

Leaders of the Jewish community in the Netherlands are pressing the mayor of Amsterdam to enact an outright ban on the provocative anti-Israel rallies that are held regularly next to the city’s National Monument to World War II.

“These demonstrations draw antisemites,” Eddo Verdoner — president of the Centraal Joods Overleg (CJO), which serves the 30,000-strong Jewish community in the Netherlands — told The Algemeiner on Thursday.

The most recent demonstration on Dec. 15, Verdoner reported, had prominently featured strident antisemitic rhetoric and signs on display.

Such scenes “dishonor our monument to the Second World War,” Verdoner declared.

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According to the Dutch newspaper Het Parool, the Jewish community’s demand is being supported by the center-right CDA and the right-wing VVD parties, who control seven seats on Amsterdam’s 45-seat city council. The paper on Thursday quoted CDA faction leader Diederik Boomsma describing the pro-Palestinian demonstrations — which frequently feature openly antisemitic and strident anti-Zionist rhetoric and signs — as “inciting hatred.”

A Dec. 18 joint letter to Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema signed by the CJO’s vice chairman, Ronny Naftaniel, and Hanna Luden, the director of the pro-Israel CIDI organization, quoted from antisemitic tirades delivered at the rally in Dam Square, where the National Monument is located. One speaker — identified on social media as Finidi Fares, a far-right activist — declared, “The Jews are the enemy of all people.”

Photos of the demonstration posted on social media platforms showed Fares standing alongside Simon Vrouwe — a prominent leader of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in the Netherlands — while brandishing an antisemitic sign. Fares’ Instagram account urges his followers to “reject the kosher capitalist/socialist hydra and embrace the ‘Third Position'” — a term used by various factions of neo-Fascists who share the far-left’s hostility to capitalism.

In their letter to Mayor Halsema, Naftaniel and Luden noted that “the demonstrations have been accompanied by calls for violence, various antisemitic statements and conflicts with bystanders.”

They continued: “The incident of last Saturday once again shows that these kinds of demonstrations aimed at Israel can attract and encourage antisemitic hate speech.”

In his conversation with The Algemeiner, CJO president Verdoner stressed that the National Monument was not an appropriate location for political demonstrations, “whether pro or anti-Israel.”

“This problem is not new, it’s one we’ve been dealing with for years,” Verdoner said. “We’ve had bigger incitements than this one, with protesters screaming during remembrance services.”

Addressing the argument that a ban on demonstrations at the National Monument would impinge on freedom of speech and assembly, Verdoner emphasized that the Jewish community had no objection to pro-Palestinian rallies elsewhere.

“We’re not infringing on their free speech,” Verdoner said. “We are just saying, do it at a place that doesn’t desecrate the sanctity of the monument.”

Dutch Jews have expressed shock and disgust at the demonstrations at the National Monument for much of this past year.

In November, as the international community marked the 80th anniversary of the “Kristallnacht” Nazi antisemitic pogrom in Germany and Austria, pro-Palestinian demonstrators at the National Monument danced to “Free Palestine” a track by the Dutch antisemitic rapper Ismo.

“I hate Jews more than the Nazis,” one line of the song states.

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