'Dutch Jews suffered tenfold increase in anti-Semitic attacks during Gaza war'
Dutch NGO says volume of circulation of hate speech and mail was larger than in recent years.
The number of anti-Semitic incidents documented in Holland in January almost equaled the number of attacks recorded throughout the whole of 2008, according to the annual report by the country's watchdog on anti-Semitism.
The report by the Hague-based Center for Information and Documentation (CIDI) presents 98 attacks in January, as the Israel Defense Forces was attacking in Gaza. The total number of attacks in 2008 was 108.
Unusually, CIDI criticized the justice system and police for allegedly not acting with sufficient promptness to ensure safety and security, and for not imposing a ban on Holocaust denial.
The month of January saw a tenfold increase in anti-Semitic attacks compared to the average nine attacks per month in the previous year.
The number of physical attacks during January was nine. Only three such attacks were recorded in 2007, and five in 2008. The remaining attacks were of hate speech and mail.
CIDI says the volume of circulation of hate speech and mail was larger than in recent years. Most cases of physical harassment, intimidation and assault were the result of the actions of perpetrators of North African descent, said the report by CIDI, which has in the recent past been involved with dialogue between Jews and Muslims.
An analysis of hate-mails revealed most denied or downplayed the Holocaust by comparing it with Israel's attack in the Gaza Strip, which came in retaliation for the targeting of Israeli citizens by Palestinians.
The 43-page report also speaks of an increasing trend of anti-Semitic statements and incidents in schools. This included an incident in an Amsterdam school which suspended lessons after students chanted anti-Jewish slogans. A Rotterdam did the same, after pupils sang: "Hamas, Jews to the gas" and "Jews are murderers."
"Something must be done about the numerous holes in the processing of complaints by the police, states the report, which was compiled by Elise Friedmann and released last week. "The many current gaps in the system offer little prospect for effectiveness in the judicial approach to discrimination," she wrote.
The recommendations chapter of CIDI's report called for stricter implementation of limitations on hate speech. CIDI also said the police appear to be reluctant to process reports of anti-Semitism.
Finally, CIDI said proposals to decriminalize Holocaust denial in the Netherlands encourage Holocaust denial. In May, the leader of the Dutch liberal party, Mark Rutte, said that claiming the Holocaust did not occur "should be made possible."