Are Dutch Police Going Undercover as Haredi Jews?

Initiative for undercover cops to dress as ultra-Orthodox comes in wake of frequent attacks against Jews by Moroccan immigrants.

Cnaan Liphshiz
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Cnaan Liphshiz

Dutch police may employ undercover agents disguised as religious Jews to expose and arrest violent anti-Semites, a police spokesperson said last week.

Ultra-Orthodox men.Credit: Reuters

The initiative was first proposed by a Dutch Muslim legislator in response to reports of frequent attacks against Jews by Moroccan immigrants. Prominent figures from the countrys Jewish community said they supported the plan.

Over the past few years, Dutch politicians have been debating the use of undercover police officers posing as gay couples as a means to draw out serial perpetrators of attacks against gays, from the Muslim community and from the general population.

In a radio interview on Wednesday for Radio BNR, Ahmed Marcouch – a Moroccan-born member of Labor who immigrated to Holland when he was 10 – said: I say send fake Jews to arrest the attackers. Everything must be done to keep this phenomenon from growing. It seems like small incidents, but this is serious.

The Center for Information and Documentation Israel, an influential nongovernmental watchdog on anti-Semitism, announced on Thursday that it supported the initiative. "It has become common for Jews to hide their skull-caps on the street," said Ronny Naftaniel, who heads the center, known in Holland by its initials, CIDI. He added that Marchouchs liberal views have cost him in the past the support of voters from the Moroccan community.

During the first month of 2009, the center documented 98 anti-Semitic incidents, which almost equaled the total of such attacks in 2008. Hollands chief rabbi, Binyamin Jacobs, told Haaretz he recently witnessed unidentified persons who tried to disrupt a memorial service for Jews murdered in the Holocaust by shouting Nazi slogans.

"The new initiative is the expression of desperation about the failure of Dutch police to make progress with regard to the widespread and aggressive anti-Semitism among Muslims in Amsterdam – a heritage left behind by Amsterdams former mayor, Job Cohen," said Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, a Dutch-Israeli researcher of anti-Semitism and
chairman of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Marcouch entered parliament as candidate 15 on Labors list under the partys chairman, Job Cohen. Marcouch told Haaretz that he believed the best way to fight anti-Semitism among Muslim immigrants was by putting greater emphasis on Holocaust studies in schools with many immigrant pupils.

"Hate and anti-Semitism is sometimes can be addressed together through education," explained Marcouch, a leading member in the Jewish-Moroccan Network of Amsterdam – a forum which CIDI and Cohen helped create in 2006 to promote dialog between the two communities.

"It is in the family that one needs to be alert, and to eliminate anti-Semitism," Marcouch added. "And the way to do this is through education about what hatred of the other can lead to. Strong police intervention is important because no one must suffer violence, but in parallel we need to inform children so they don't harbor anti-Semitic feelings."

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