“Hamas! Hamas! All Jews into the gas!”
No, these evil words were not shouted at rallies in Gaza or even among knuckle-dragging Neanderthals at neo-Nazi meetings, as one would expect. Instead, this harsh, threatening shout is to be heard on sunny afternoons in Dutch soccer stadiums whenever Feyenoord Rotterdam, where many Muslims live, plays against Amsterdam Ajax.
Before thousands of people, Rotterdam’s Muslim supporters do not hesitate to indulge in this crude act of anti-Semitism when they see the Israeli flags the Ajax fans wave to provoke them. Their primitive chant is sometimes accompanied by a malevolent hissing sound, which is supposed to represent the sound of a gas chamber.
Sixty-five years after the Nazi-occupation of the Netherlands was ended, Hitler’s crazy dream of a “judenrein” Holland may actually become reality.
Acts of verbal and physical violence against members of Holland’s 30,000-strong Jewish community are now so prevalent in the land behind the dykes that Frits Bolkestein, a former European Union commissioner and one-time leader of Holland’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), has advised his country’s Orthodox Jews, and others recognizable as “active” Jews, to emigrate to Israel or the United States.
“For them, there is no future,” Bolkestein said in an interview this month with the newspaper De Pers, blaming “the anti-Semitism among Dutchman of Moroccan descent, whose numbers keep growing.”
And as the Muslim population increases, so do the incidents involving the Netherlands’ “raging anti-Semitism.” The German newspaper Die Welt states the Israeli Information Center in den Haag has reported a 55 per cent increase in the number of anti-Semitic offenses in the past year. Suspected unreported incidents, however, would cause this number to rise even higher.
But numbers are not able to convey the reality of living in a country where acts of Jew-hatred occur almost daily. Even the chief rabbi for the Netherlands, Binyomin Jacobs, has not been spared. Recently, Die Welt reported Jacobs had his synagogue smeared with a red substance.
More frightening perhaps have been the attacks on the rabbi’s house. The fence has been kicked in and the 61-year-old Jacobs himself was pelted with stones after running outside to investigate a bang on his window. The windows were later broken. A definite sign of the times, Jacob’s house is now under video surveillance. Holland’s chief rabbi, Die Welt further reported, has also been advised not to use public transportation in the evenings.
“Before, I was never insulted,” said Jacobs who wears the traditional Orthodox black hat and beard. “But now it is almost daily.”
To capture the worsening situation, a Dutch-Jewish member of parliament, whose father survived Auschwitz, visited a Muslim neighborhood in Amsterdam with a hidden camera. Wearing a kippah, a Jewish head covering, he was “spontaneously” greeted by young Muslim residents with the odious Hitler salute.
Other developments in Holland are also not encouraging for its Jewish community. While synagogues and Jewish schools have had private guards for years, it appears the security situation is worsening. A book about Judaism in the Netherlands, aptly named The Decline, relates that bar-mizvahs now have guards.
Even more disturbing, similar to early Christianity’s efforts to escape Roman persecution, there is now a hidden synagogue in Amsterdam-West. To escape discrimination and “the cursing of Moroccan-Dutch street riff-raff,” the synagogue has no Star of David on the front and has “a secret address.” Islam in Europe further reports: “When the bell rings, the door isn’t opened just like that, and two Jews will always check who’s standing by the door…all the Jews who come to Sjoel West cover their kippah with their hat. They don’t want to be recognised as Jews.” Before this, kippah-wearing synagogue-goers were targets for stones.
Bolkestein said he felt compelled to make the controversial recommendation that Orthodox Jews should emigrate because he regards the government’s measures to combat anti-Semitism as largely ineffective. Besides, he does not see young Dutch-Muslims as being receptive to such government initiatives.
“Many Moroccan and Turkish youth won’t care at all about the measures,” he said.
Rightly or wrongly, Bolkestein sees the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as keeping Dutch-Muslim anti-Semitism at a boil. Arabic television stations, such as Hamas’ al-Aksa TV, which broadcast their Jew-hatred directly into European-Muslim homes via satellite, are also to blame, he says, for stoking anti-Semitic flames in Holland.
A Dutch-Muslim politician, Ahmed Marcouch, has suggested sending “decoy-Jews,” policemen dressed as Jews, into Muslim neighbourhoods to combat anti-Semitism. The plan is that they would arrest anyone who engaged in anti-Semitic violence.
“I think that you should do everything to get those bastards, those tormentors, those criminals,” said Marouch, whose heart is obviously in the right place.
But as expected, other Dutch-Muslims, are playing down Bolkestein’s comments. The Dutch-Moroccan information center has called his emigration remarks “scare-mongering.” A center spokesman added: “This is nothing other than the latest generalised insult targeting Dutch Moroccans.”
Perhaps this person should attend a Rotterdam-Amsterdam soccer game.
As usual when it concerns the Netherlands, it is Geert Wilders who has come up with probably the best solution for his country’s anti-Semitism problem. Wilders, who lives under 24-hour police protection due to threats on his life from Muslim extremists, disagrees strongly with Bolkestein’s suggestion that Orthodox Jews should emigrate. In Wilders’ opinion, since it is “the Moroccans who are anti-Semitic,” they should be the ones to leave. Last June, Wilders called for the deportation of Muslims and others who would not integrate and live by Western values, even if it involved returning millions to their native countries.
In 1940, the Netherlands had a thriving Jewish community of 140,000. It is also the community and the country that gave the world the enduring, harrowing and touching story of Anne Frank. Their surviving descendants are now considering whether to “flee or fight” and believe Bolkestein was correct about his warning. But if Europe and the rest of the Western world allow the new anti-Semitism to finish Hitler’s plan of a “judenrein” Holland, this would not only be a continuation of the Munich capitulation, but a spiritual catastrophe, from which the West would likely never recover.
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