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March 12, 2019 12:38 pm

Netherlands Becomes Latest European Country to Record Worrying Rise in Antisemitic Outrages

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Swastikas and antisemitic graffiti scrawled on buildings in Amsterdam. Photo: CIDI.

The Netherlands on Tuesday became the latest European country to confirm a steep rise in antisemitic incidents over the last twelve months, following similarly alarming data released this year by Jewish organizations in France, the UK and Germany.

The Center for Information and Documentation Israel (CIDI) — a Dutch Jewish NGO that combats antisemitism and anti-Zionism — said in its annual report that antisemitic incidents in the country increased in 2018 by 19 percent on the previous year.

CIDI recorded a total of 135 antisemitic incidents during 2018, with a further 95 cases of antisemitism online. Approximately 30,000 Jews live in the Netherlands.

“CIDI is concerned about the increase in antisemitism and wants a clear action plan from the government to combat this problem,” a statement from the group that accompanied the report declared. “It is high time that the police and the judicial authorities paid specific attention to antisemitism and properly identified the problem.”

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The CIDI report highlighted that many Dutch Jews are subjected to antisemitic abuse by colleagues at work, as well as in school and from their own neighbors. “The most drastic increase was registered in incidents occurring in people’s direct vicinity,” the report noted. “This encompasses incidents at schools, at work or between neighbors. The increase in this category is 67 percent compared to the previous year (from 24 in 2017 up to 40 in 2018).”

The report underlined: “This is the highest number of antisemitic incidents in people’s direct vicinity in 10 years.”

Many of the problems that occur in the reporting of antisemitism in other countries are also present in the Netherlands. “Only 25 percent of respondents in the Netherlands report incidents of antisemitism to the police, other government agencies, or an NGO such as CIDI,” the report said. Moreover, the report observed, “41 percent of all cases of discrimination [in the Netherlands] concern antisemitism.” Many of these incidents have occurred at soccer matches, the report said, where antisemitic chants and the use of the word “Jood” (“Jew”) as an insult are frequently heard.

Among the recommendations issued by CIDI was a call for immigrants to the Netherlands to be educated about the Jewish community and its history. Just over half of the 3 million immigrants in the country come from Middle Eastern and other non-western backgrounds.

“Newcomers often originate from societies where antisemitism is not uncommon,” CIDI asserted. “It is important that the naturalization process pays attention to these subjects.”

Urging special attention upon “the values of democracy and the rule of the law,” CIDI argued that “when newcomers originate from societies where such values are not evident, these subjects should be taught to facilitate life in a democratic country.”

CIDI concluded that when “antisemitism occurs — on the street, at school, on the internet — it is important that people speak out clearly.”

“We should not consider antisemitism to be normal,” the group said.

The rise in antisemitism in the Netherlands coincides with an unprecedented climb in anti-Jewish incidents across Europe. In France, government statistics for 2018 showed an increase of 74 percent, with a 60 percent jump reported in neighboring Germany, while in the UK, the percentage rose by 16 percent, during a year that registered a record number of antisemitic incidents.

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