Cabinet considering ban on Holocaust denial amid growing concern for anti-Semitism
Amidst growing anti-Semitism in the Netherlands and the rest of the world, Justice Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius is working on an explicit ban on Holocaust denial. She also plans to take stricter action against anti-Semitism online and anti-Semitic chants in football stadiums, she said in the Ronny Naftani lecture, organized by the Jewish Humanitarian Fund, Trouw reports.
“We have to draw a line together,” Yeşilgöz-Zegerius said, expressing deep concern about the increase in anti-Semitic expressions and incidents. “Step by step, hatred of Jews seems to be becoming commonplace. Anti-Semites seem to express it less and less covertly. People are no longer ashamed of it.”
Yeşilgöz-Zegerius has a bill ready to include an explicit ban on condoning, denying, or grossly trivializing the Holocaust in the Criminal Code. This is already punishable in the Netherlands but not explicitly stated in the law. A clearer legal standard is needed to send a signal to society, Yeşilgöz-Zegerius believes.
According to the Minister, the increasing anti-Semitism risks less radical Netherlands residents getting sucked into the flow of hatred of Jewish people. Since the coronavirus pandemic, anti-government, anti-capitalist, anti-Israel, far-right, and super-religious groups have found common ground by making Jews the scapegoats for everything. “They also suck the moderates into their dark conspiracies,” she said, referring to things like comparing coronavirus restrictions to the Holocaust.
She called on non-Jewish Dutch to speak out more against anti-Semitism. “Raise your voice, speak out, be resilient.”
Yeşilgöz-Zegerius gave this speech while Amsterdam is trying to find a way to ban British conspiracy theorist and Holocaust denier David Icke from speaking at a demonstration on Dam Square next weekend. And shortly after two Ministers filed charges against an FvD parliamentarian for posting photo-montages online showing Ministers posing near Nazi flags.
The Justice and Security Minister did not mention the FvD by name but expressed concern about anti-Semitic voices in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament. “Parliamentarians have now exchanged their dog whistle for a feal wind band.”
Explicitly banning Holocaust denial and stricter action against online anti-Semitism and chants in football stadiums are all recommendations recently made by the new National Coordinator for Combating Anti-Semitism (NCAB).