Drop Reported in anti-Semitic Incidents in Netherlands

Amid reports of Dutch Jews' immigration, monitor says 2015 saw over 120 cases of alleged anti-Semitic harassment, including five involving physical violence.

A tram passes pedestrians in the center of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Bloomberg

A watchdog on anti-Semitism in the Netherlands recorded 126 incidents it considers anti-Semitic in 2015 - a 26-percent decrease from the previous year.

Of the incidents recorded by the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, in 2015, 36 were in the victims’ direct environment, meaning incidents involving neighbors or acquaintances the victims knew as opposed to anonymous threats and abuse online, read the CIDI report, which was published Monday.

Five incidents involved physical violence against people and six were cases of vandalism. The most common category of incident was insults shouted or spoken on the street, accounting for 19 percent of the total, or 24 incidents. Online anti-Semitic harassment in the form of emails and electronic messages totaled at 12 cases.

One of the cases featuring violence was reported this year in Amsterdam by a non-Jewish woman of Moroccan descent who is married to a Moroccan Jew. Parents of her daughter’s classmates pressured her and confronted during school activities over her relationship with the Jewish man, she said. In one case, in March, a father of her daughter’s classmate grabbed the woman by her throat after calling her a “Jew’s whore” and threatening to shoot her at a swimming pool, the report said.

CIDI did not press charges because the victim declined to cooperate.

Incidents involving schools were the highest recorded in a decade, with 16 cases. Noting a steady increase in that category over the past three years, CIDI director Hanna Luden called it “a worrisome trend” in a statement.

Despite the decrease in incidents, the total number of incidents recorded by CIDI in 2015 is the second highest since 2010, when 124 cases were observed, following the peak year of 2014 with 171 incidents.

The report was published amid increased attention in recent days to the prospect of Jewish emigration from the Netherlands because of anti-Semitism. Dutch media interviewed some worried Jews following an anecdotal report by Ynet on the discomfort of some Dutch Jews in the Netherlands.

However, immigration to Israel from the Netherlands is low compared to neighboring Belgium and France.

In 2015, a total of 96 Dutch citizens made aliyah, the highest figure recorded in a decade but still less than 0.2 percent of the total Jewish population of the Netherlands, which is estimated at 50,000.

France provided Israel with nearly 8,000 immigrants in 2015, or 1.6 percent of that country’s Jewish community. Belgium, which has 40,000 Jews, saw 287 Jews leave for Israel last year.