Anti-Semitism rising quickly with few trying to stop the trend, says government advocate
Antisemitism is on the rise in the Netherlands, and the Dutch government is not doing enough to stop it, Eddo Verdoner, the first National Coordinator for Combating Anti-Semitism (NCAB), said in an interview with Parool.
The rising anti-Semitism is most visible on social media, where Holocaust denials and anti-Jew jokes are commonplace. Last year, a study by the Ministry of Justice and Security showed that of a sample of 2 million online posts in 2020, 11 percent had anti-Semitic messages.
“Anti-Semitism has become socially acceptable. Many also no longer express it anonymously. People often laugh along when someone makes an anti-Semitic remark,” Verdoner said. He wants the government to immediately fine every anti-Semitic post. “Because now people can make such statements with almost impunity. With fines, you push back a bit.”
David Icke, who was scheduled to speak at an Amsterdam demonstration until the Netherlands denied him access to the country, is a good example of how anti-Semitism is getting out of hand. Verdoner was amazed that Icke, who spreads ideas from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion - a 19th-century pamphlet suggesting that Jews worldwide form a secret conspiracy that rules the world, can get a platform to speak from so many organizations.
“Icke spreads his conspiracy theories based on old anti-Semitic fables wrapped in a new guise. And there are more and more groups who think Jewish elites rule society,” Verdoner said. “It was initially thought that his reptilian theory would not find any ground. It slowly got through to people. If such conspiracy theories are allowed to be told in public in Amsterdam, it will be dangerous for Jews and society as a whole. Then the anti-Jews sounds will soon be heard loudly in the streets again.”
In addition to tackling online anti-Semitism directly, the NCAB also wants the government to explicitly ban Holocaust denial. Verdoner also wants a harsher approach to anti-Semitic chants in football stadiums. Use new technologies to identify perpetrators and immediately suspend a match once the chanting begins. “Mayor [Femke] Halsema banned PSV supporters from attending an Ajax match this month because they had shouted anti-Semitic slogans during an earlier match at the Johan Cruijff Arena. That is a clear signal.”