Like many Jews, as a youngster I associated Holland with windmills and tulips
and a heroic people which bravely defended Jews during the Nazi
Alas, I subsequently learned that the record of the Dutch
towards the Jews was nothing of the sort. There were tens of thousands of Dutch
righteous gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews but there were far more
collaborators, over 25,000 of whom even volunteered for the Waffen SS. Overall,
the Dutch authorities willingly assisted in the deportation of the Jews. Anne
Frank and her family were amongst those denounced to the Nazis. Of the 140,000
Jews living in the Netherlands before the war, over 100,000 were
Today, there is a popular misconception that the Dutch are an
easygoing, tolerant, multi-cultured people.
In truth, Dutch society has
become polarized as a consequence of the massive influx of non-Western
immigrants, predominantly Muslim, who have shattered social stability. Muslims
currently comprise one million out of a 16 million population, a
disproportionate number of whom have police records.
indigenous anti- Semites, some radical Muslims have effectively exploited the
culture of permissiveness to violently promote their objectives.
and physical violence has escalated, climaxing in November 2004 with the brutal
public street murder in Amsterdam of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh who was shot
and stabbed to death by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Muslim radical.
had a major impact on Dutch society, it did not become the watershed one may
have expected. However the status of the 30,000 members of the Jewish community,
already subjected to increasing anti- Semitic incitement and violence primarily
emanating from the Moroccan Muslim community, continued to
The leading daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad published an
article in June stating that anti- Semitism in areas of Amsterdam has become the
norm rather than the exception. It identified areas in Amsterdam in which Jews
with skullcaps or distinctive garb cannot walk in the streets without being
affronted, spat at or even attacked.
In May, an outdoor commemoration
ceremony for the last transport of 3,000 Jewish children deported during the
Holocaust was disrupted by bikers shrieking “Heil Hitler” during the recitation
Anti-Semitism also manifests itself in anti-Israel
demonstrations where cries of “Hamas Hamas – Jews to the gas”; “Jew cancer”; and
“Hitler let one get away!” are frequently heard. Football stadiums have become
notorious arenas for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic chants. About half of the
registered criminal utterances reported on the internet throughout Holland in
2009 were against Jews. It is believed that if full records were accessible, the
proportion would be much higher.
LAST MONTH, the 280-year-old synagogue
in Weesp became the first Jewish house of worship in Europe since the war
obliged to cancel Sabbath services after the police had warned congregants of
threats of violence.
In a recent letter to members of Parliament, the
Jewish community stated that anti-Semitism was rampant, noting that the Jewish
community is obliged to provide its own security at schools and all public
functions, the costs for which have become unbearable.
teachers in the major cities indicate that one out of five teachers have
difficulties in relating to the Holocaust because of the hostile response from
Muslim students. The Chairman of the Orthodox Rabbinate, Binyomin Jacobs,
protested that “today there are many schools which simply stop providing lessons
relating to WWII and the Holocaust due to fear of negative reactions from pupils
from Muslim backgrounds”.
Jewish schoolchildren feel intimidated and the
school authorities are either indifferent or unable to assist them. To avoid
harassment, some children are obliged to change schools and even hide their
A few weeks ago a local Jewish TV station (Joodse
Omroep) broadcast scenes of anti-Semitic harassment in the streets recorded by a
hidden camera which followed a rabbi accompanied by two students. This provided
chilling testimony of the intimidation to which Jews are subjected.
response, the Dutch police announced that they might use “decoy” Jews – police
dressed in traditional Jewish garb – to entrap anti-Semitic hooligans. Rabbi
Jacobs responded by stating that such initiatives would be futile unless
accompanied by greater emphasis on education, stressing that not only Muslims
were engaged in anti-Semitic agitation.
“I witness Dutch non-Muslim
youngsters also shouting at me in the street” he stated.
major escalation of anti-Semitism in Amsterdam took place between 2001-2010,
when Marius Job Cohen, a Jew, was mayor. Cohen’s grandparents were murdered in
the Holocaust but he frequently expresses indifference to his Jewish origins.
Now as leader of the Dutch Labor party he participates in attacks demonizing
Israel as exemplified in the party’s platform in the recent
Such behavior towards Israel is particularly shameful coming
from the country whose UN peacekeeping force in 1995 in Srebrenica stood by
while 8,000 Bosnian men and boys were massacred by the Serbs (there are reports
that some even took part in seperating the women from the men). The Dutch
peacekeepers then fled to Zagreb, where they held a beer and music fest in the
presence of the crown Prince and the prime minister.
HOWEVER, THERE is
now a potential for positive change on the political horizon. At the recent
polls, contrary to expectations, the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) headed by Geert
Wilders surged from its pre election nine seats to winning 24 out of the 150
seat Dutch parliament.
Nicknamed Mozart because of his blond hair and
voted politician of the year in 2007, Wilders displays contempt for the
hypocritical political correctness displayed toward Islam that has enveloped
Europe. He resolutely calls for tough action against intimidation and threats
from Islamic fundamentalists.
He describes Muslim migrants as a “Trojan
Horse” and warns of the danger of Europe being transformed into Eurabia and
European civilization coming to an end.
Wilders is an outspoken friend of
the Jewish people and considers Israel to be “the West’s first line of defense”.
He lived in Israel for two years and has visited the Jewish state more than 40
Contrary to defamatory allegations directed against him, Wilders
abhors fascism and publicly condemned politicians like France’s Jean-Marie Le
Pen, the late Haider and other racists with whom he swears he would never
His controversial call for the banning of the Koran (which he
compares to Mein Kampf and claims incites to violence) and the production of a
film depicting the brutality and denial of human rights prevailing in Muslim
countries led to his being charged with incitement and hatred. The court
proceedings became transformed into a political arena when the judge refused to
hear the majority of witnesses Wilders presented.
Should Wilders be
convicted of promoting hate speech it will have problematic implications in a
country like Holland where calls for “death to the Jews” are regular occurrences
and rarely prosecuted.
The trial outcome will also be a curtain raiser on
what to expect from other European countries in the years