Amsterdam parties pledge support for Jewish community

Eleven Amsterdam political parties signed an agreement on Tuesday night aimed at strengthening the interests of the Jewish community in the Dutch capital. "With this agreement the parties state that the city will cherish its Jewish history and will care for its Jewish inhabitants", Ruben Vis, secretary of the organization for Jewish municipalities NIK and initiator of this agreement, said, Het Parool reports. 

In concrete terms, Vis hopes that the parties will do more against anti-Semitism and take more action for the safety of Jewish Amsterdam residents. This was prompted by three recent incidents at kosher restaurant Ha Carmel on Amstelveenseweg. In December the restaurant's windows were smashed, in January the restaurant was smeared with eggs and mayonnaise, and last week someone tried to break one of its windows. The police and mayor decided to place extra camera surveillance around the restaurant.

The agreement also states that the parties will work hard to educate school children and new residents about Jewish Amsterdam. The parties promise to encourage each school pupil to visit a place that teaches about the Holocaust, such as the Jewish Historical museum or the Hollandsche Schouwburg.

The agreement was signed by the D66, VVD, SP, GroenLinks, PvdA, FvD, CDA, SGP, PvdD, PvdO, ChristenUnie and 50Plus. Bij1 did not sign the agreement, because the party does not agree with the definition of anti-Semitism used, according to a statement on the party's website. Criticism on the political state of affairs in Israel can also be considered anti-Semitic according to this term, Bij1 said. "As Bij1 we find that criticism of Israel is essentially different from discrimination, exclusion and threats against Jews. The latter must be tackled firmly, while the former should be possible within the legal framework."


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