A few years ago in Amsterdam I was shown the most popular manual published in
the Netherlands, in Dutch, on how to raise one’s children as proper Muslims. The
book included virulently anti-Semitic passages, based on Muslim holy texts.
After the Jewish community objected, the authorities forced the publisher to
put white tape over the offending passages. The tape could easily be peeled off
by purchases so that these words could be read.
Or consider what has just
happened. A Turkish-Dutch researcher publicized systematic anti-Semitism among
other Muslims in the Netherlands, including a dramatic video that showed teenage
boys calling for genocide and praising Hitler.
What happened? The
researcher, Mehmet Sahin, had to go into hiding after being accused by others of
being a Jew and a Zionist.
The growing anti-Semitism in Western Europe
is like that. The European Union, governments, and the media paste a white tape
over the problem to conceal it or pretend to do something about it. But when
one peels back the tape the hatred is revealed as growing and being passed onto
the next generation.
While one doesn’t want to exaggerate rising
anti-Semitism in Europe – mostly from Muslim immigrants and their children but
facilitated and even reflected by the increasingly intellectually hegemonic Left
– the growth of anti-Jewish hatred is enormous. Some people view this as
fear-mongering, pointing to other developments that show the glass to be half
full. Indeed, the hostility of European governments toward Israel has often been
exaggerated. The situation is actually better than it was 20 or 30 years
Yet the broader question is one of social trends and the behavior of
institutions, especially the mass media and universities, which are generally
becoming not just critical but viciously so of Israel and periodically Jews
Take the Netherlands, a mild-mannered country that prides
itself on moderation in all things. Traditionally, the Netherlands was friendly
to Israel and while it has always had its anti-Semites and even, historically,
fascists, it had far less proportionately than other European countries. In
other words, if things are bad in the Netherlands, they’re really
Last year, the chief rabbi of the Netherlands spoke in a published
interview in which he spoke extensively about his love for the country, the good
treatment of Jews there, and other such points. Asked at the end, however,
whether there was any future for Jews in the country he said, “No,” and advised
the community to move to Israel.
That doesn’t mean the Netherlands is a
maelstrom of anti-Semitism. It isn’t. But there’s a growing anti-Semitic sector
which consists of two parts: Muslim immigrants and their offspring, and the far
left that is so often dominant in the Netherlands –as in other Western
The Dutch government, unlike others in Europe, has defined
Hezbollah as a terrorist group and while less favorable to Israel than its
predecessor remains on good terms with Israel. Yet shocking slanders appear
about Israel in the mainstream Dutch media.
To cite just one example, on
March 17, 2010, NRC Handelsblad, Holland’s most prestigious newspaper, published a front-page article claiming the “Israel lobby” was threatening to
defeat President Barack Obama’s health plan to blackmail him regarding his
Israel policy. While statements on other matters by Israel’s government are
evaluated in a cynical way, the basis for this story was a single left-wing
An observer who wants to avoid exaggerating the problem warns
about: “A rising tide of anti-Semitism that the top level is unwilling to
address out of a fear of being labeled a racist or out of a fear of losing the
all-important Muslim vote,” which is vital for the Left in
elections. There is no effective opposition in the political
sphere. The center dithers; some on the right speak out but do nothing
A Dutch person involved in inter-communal work adds: “I know
many upstanding young Muslims who are as appalled by anti-Semitism,” and these
voices should not be forgotten. It should also be remembered that there have
been attacks on mosques over the years. In contrast, though, a moderate left
politician described in great detail how her family was forced to leave their
neighbor- hood by verbal and at times violent harassment by Muslim youths
The issue, then, is not just coming from Middle Eastern politics
but also the tensions within Dutch society and how Muslim immigrants and their
children interpret their problems. Endlessly told that the Jews are their enemy
and that they control society in some way, it is easy to conclude that the Jews
might also be behind the harassment or discrimination Muslims face, absurd as
this is on a factual level and in countries where the Jewish population is
Here is how one observer recounted on this issue: “As a journalist
I roamed the streets around high schools in Amsterdam the day after 9/11 to
catch the ‘sound of the streets.’ I was totally unprepared for all the
anti-Semitic remarks uttered by [Muslim] boys of 11 to 16 years. Later I spoke
with teachers who told me this was an ongoing thing.
“I also interviewed
a Moroccan in a high position. He said two things that struck me: ‘Since the
beginning of TV transmissions in Morocco the news start with news about
Palestine. You in the Netherlands will never understand the degree with which
Moroccans identify with Palestine.’
‘My Moroccan friends [in the Netherlands]
among teachers and intellectuals agree Israel has a right to exist, but we can
never say that in public because we would lose the backing of our Moroccan
Elma Drayer is a liberal Dutch columnist and former editor of the
prestigious newspaper Trouw , writing on its site. She’s also Jewish. In an
article, “The Taboo Against Antisemitism has Disappeared,” she expresses shock
that nobody else seems to be shocked by a recent television program, on the
Netherlands 2 station, in which a group of young Muslims, whose roots are in
Turkey, are inter- viewed by a researcher. (Incidentally, in Dutch discussions
the Turks are considered the relative moderates compared to the supposedly more
radical immigrants from Morocco.)
Only CIDI, the Jewish community’s lobbying
group, noted the program, asking the minister of education in an open letter to
undertake a national survey of anti- Semitic prejudice among high school
Drayer concludes (translation done for me): “For exactly 80
years after the greatest Jew hater of all time began, the taboo has
There’s a lot of evidence for this ranging from the chief
rabbi’s conclusion that there was no future for Jews in the Netherlands to the
wild ovations received from packed audiences for an anti-Israel, anti-Semitic
film among Turkish immigrant audiences in the Netherlands.
there’s the 2012, investigation by Lisa Nederveen in her MA thesis.
the video, the well-intentioned interviewer tries to get the young people to
tone down their criticism, a tactic which in itself shows the problem. He
implies that it’s okay to kill just Jewish men. The young people
disagree. He later says that many Jews disagree with Israel, implying
that it is okay to kill Israelis and pro-Israel Jews. That’s still too
moderate for them.
What particularly fascinates me is the young man’s
quotation from Hitler. Where did he hear it? I don’t know precisely but I’ve
read it repeatedly in Islamist propaganda. I’ll bet it came from there and not
from neo-Nazi literature.
By knowing about Gypsies and disabled people,
the boy shows clearly that he is by no means ignorant about the Nazi era,
perhaps the result of instruction in school.
And, of course, completely
apart from the Shoah, the Netherlands itself suffered greatly from Nazism. If
genocide against the Jews was insufficient to make these young people dislike
Hitler, you’d expect that some sense of Dutch patriotism might do so. Of course,
that doesn’t happen.
Here’s the bottom line: Given the fact that this
hatred is endemic among Dutch Muslims; and given the fact that their proportion
and influence in the country is increasing; and given the fact that there are
literally no countervailing forces, is this viewpoint going to increase or
decrease? Obviously, the former.
Even in the Dutch mass media there are
shocking things written on a regular basis about Jews and Israel. If one cannot
depend on the Netherlands to defeat this trend, there’s nobody who’s going to do
Note: I want to thank the translators and Dutch friends who gave
me helpful remarks and additional information on this article.Barry
Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA)
Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA)
Journal. His latest book, Israel: An Introduction , has just been published by
Yale University Press. His blog is Rubin Reports. His original articles are
published at PJMedia.