NS apologizes for Antisemitic football song played on train

NS offered apologies after a conductor played a football song about Jews on an intercity train between Tilburg in Rotterdam on Saturday evening. "Let it be clear: we find this completely inappropriate," the rail company said on Sunday after being alerted to the situation by a traveler, NOS reports.

The song was "Waar komen Joden toch vandaan", which translates to "Where do Jews come from". The song is regularly sung in the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam by Ajax supporters who use "Jews" as a nickname.

CIDI, the center for information and documentation on Israel, is outraged. "I find it painful and too stupid for words that this happened in an NS train. We do not accept this," CIDI said on Twitter. 

"These were enthusiastic colleagues who wanted to adapt the broadcast to travelers who were on the night train from Tilburg during carnival," an NS spokesperson said to NOS. "We understand that they played a pro-Ajax football song." He continued:"Let it be clear: we find this completely inappropriate. There must be no confusion about this. NS is a diverse company, we also want to show that. Something like this doesn't fit [with that policy], we apologize for that."

It was not only NS who faced criticism for Antisemitism this weekend. Carnival celebrators in Aalst were indignant to find Jewish stereotypes in some of the floats during the annual carnival parade in the Belgian city. Carnival group Lossendeirdeveirdeirdeir's float was a "humor tribunal" with a Jewish caricature with long toes at the front, according to NOS. And another group's float was a "wailing wall" made of gold bars. The members of this group were dressed as insects and wore shtreimels - fur hats worn by many married orthodox Jewish men.

The parade was immediately criticized. The European department of the American Jewish Committee called on the EU to launch an investigation into Belgium for allowing this "hate fest". According to the organization, depicting Jewish people as vermin is reminiscent of the dehumanizing way they were treaded in the Nazi era. Ronny Naftaniel, chairman of the Jewish Humanitarian Fund, tweeted that the parade made his "stomach turn". PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher called it "nauseating".