Man holding Palestinian flag smashes windows of kosher restaurant in Amsterdam

“Shocking! It is unbelievable that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is playing out here, and against the Jewish Dutch community.”

By JTA
December 7, 2017 14:28
3 minute read.
A Palestinian waves a flag near a destroyed section of the border wall between the Gaza Strip and Eg

A Palestinian waves a flag near a destroyed section of the border wall between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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AMSTERDAM — Police are investigating the smashing of the windows of a kosher restaurant in a heavily-Jewish part of the Dutch capital by a man wearing a Palestinian flag.

The incident at HaCarmel restaurant occurred Thursday morning, hours after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The AT5 television station showed a video of the incident, in which a man holding a large stick while holding a Palestinian flag and wearing a Palestinian keffiyah, or shal, on his head proceeds to smash the window and kick down the restaurant’s doors as passersby and two police officers look on. The officers wait until he breaks into the restaurant. They pause as he returns out to the street from the restaurant’s interior holding an Israeli flag that he took from there. He throws it at their feet. They then overpower the man and arrest him.

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Contacted by JTA, an employee at HaCarmel declined to comment on the circumstances of the incident, which the Federative Jewish Netherlands group reported online with a pictures of a Dutch police officer kneeling in front of a shattered glass window, with a Star of David hanging on the restaurant’s wall in the background.

Herman Loonstein, who heads Federative Jewish Netherlands, said the incident at HaCarmel happened when no patrons were inside the restaurant and ended without injury. “But it is nonetheless an attack, a terrorist attack, carried out by a man whose behavior was that of a terrorist,” he told JTA.

“Jerusalem is recognized as the capital by the United States of America, so the windows of an Israeli restaurant in Amsterdam are smashed. Only logical. The Palestinian shal completes the story,” Federative Jewish Netherlands wrote on Twitter.

“Shocking! It is unbelievable that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is playing out here, and against the Jewish Dutch community,” the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, which is the Dutch Jewish community’s watchdog on antisemitic incidents, tweeted.

Last year, a Jewish woman, Victoria Waniewicz, was stabbed in her back outside another Amsterdam kosher restaurant, the Grand Cafe Rimon, by a Brazilian man whom a judge deemed unfit to stand trial because of insanity, and who was hospitalized in a psychiatric institution of his choosing for one year.

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Loonstein said that the incident at HaCarmel for many Dutch Jews compounds a growing fear about frequenting kosher restaurants following the Grand Café Rimon stabbing. “I know this to be the reality, and there was also a dip in the revenues of the café where the stabbing occurred. It has improved but I expect the new attack will only increase community members’ fear,” he said.

Police beefed up their presence around the restaurant and other Jewish institutions in the capital following the incident, according to the Federative Jewish Netherlands report.

The incident at HaCarmel came days after a report by the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam showing a drop in the number of antisemitic incidents in 2016 from 57 incidents in 2015 to 35 incidents last year.

Both figures recorded by the Anne Frank House are substantially lower than those recorded by the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, which documented in those years 126 and 109 incidents, respectively.

“The number of deliberate antisemitic incidents dropped,” the Anne Frank House said in a statement “because it correlates to the scale of major violence in Israel. As there was no such violence in 2016, the drop in antisemitic incident in the Netherlands that year comes as no surprise.”

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