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Antisemitic incidents double in the Netherlands, mirroring international trend of increasingly hostile atmosphere for Jews

A Dutch Prosecution Service report published in April shows antisemitic incidents in the Netherlands doubled in 2017 compared to 2016, indicating a five year high “despite a scant Jewish population”. The antisemitic incidents include “intimidation, assault, incitement to violence, and vandalism”, are mostly linked to football and in particular the Amsterdam Ajax team who are called ‘Jews’ by fans and rivals alike. Late last year, Everyday Antisemitism documented a series of incidents of the far right’s prevalence in European football, and we suggested a series of simple measures that could help challenge antisemitism and far right extremism in football.

The Algemeiner cited Joel Rubinfeld, president of the Belgian League Against Antisemitism,  saying to the French broadcaster RTBF last Sunday; “The presence of military on the street in front of Jewish sites is somewhat reassuring, but you can imagine what kind of world we live in. Today, you go to a Jewish school and you feel like you’re coming back to Fort Knox, which is really a kind of permanent state of siege.” Rubinfeld claimed “a rush of antisemitic attacks in the last fortnight” was inspired by Palestinian violence in the Hamas-ruled Gaza border with Israel.

A recent report by Tel Aviv University found that worldwide there has been a rise in antisemitism , of normalizing and mainstreaming antisemitism at levels unseen since the Second World War, and a drop by 9 per cent in violent attacks on Jews in 2017 but that those attacks were more brazen. Furthermore, the drop in violent attacks is because of a step-up in security measures, whilst most antisemitic incidents go unreported due to a fear of reprisal or disinterested authorities.

The report carried out by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry is released annually on the eve of Israel’s Holocaust memorial day. It mentions a ‘toxic triangle’ of antisemitism from an increase in the extreme right, radical Islamism, and anti-Zionist discourse on the left using antisemitic expressions. Moshe Kantor, President of the European Congress is quoted as saying; “the religious dimension of classic, traditional antisemitism has returned, and the term ‘Jew’ has become an insult”. Kantor, referring to the resurgence of antisemitic tropes, says that ideas of “the Jew as exploiter, the Jew as killer, the Jew as banker” have once again become the norm – “it is like we have regressed 100 years”.