‘We have had enough’: Dutch Jews demand action against rising antisemitic harassment

Jewish leaders slammed Dutch politicians for offering assurances in private but doing little to stem the antisemitic tide in public.

By Ben Cohen, The Algemeiner

Jewish community leaders in the Netherlands issued a plaintive warning on Thursday concerning the continuing rise of antisemitism in the country, declaring: “We have had enough.”

In common with other EU member states, antisemitism has risen precipitously in the Netherlands since the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom in Israel, with an 800 percent increase in the number of incidents recorded in the weeks immediately following the terrorist organization’s atrocities. Approximately 30,000 Jews live in the Netherlands.

High profile incidents this year have included an angry demonstration by pro-Hamas activists outside a new museum dedicated to the Holocaust, the disruption of a concert by a popular Dutch singer who has family ties to Israel, and the vicious harassment of a Jewish woman resident in an Amsterdam suburb by neighbors who discovered that her daughter serves in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Speaking to the newspaper De Telegraaf, Chanan Hertzberger — the chair of the CJO Jewish communal organization — revealed that his son had been beaten up by antisemites after he played in a soccer match.

“Our youth is no longer safe at educational institutions: they are canceled, attacked, intimidated,” Hertzberger said. “It is rife and we have had enough. We are normal Dutch people and also want to be considered and treated as such. Our civil liberties are at stake; more and more Jews feel threatened and intimidated and are hiding Jewish symbols.”

Hertzberger slammed Dutch politicians for offering assurances in private but doing little to stem the antisemitic tide in public. “Where are the Ministers of Education, Mariëlle Paul and Robbert Dijkgraaf?” he asked.

He also criticized former deputy prime minister Wouter Koolmees, who took over as the CEO of Netherlands Railways (NS) last October, for failing to prevent supporters of Hamas from blockading 15 train stations around the country in a series of protests during January and February.

“I was in contact with Koolmees about the sit-ins at the stations. He shows good will, but cannot do anything about it, he says. But can he at least openly say that he has major problems with those actions?” Hertzberger continued.

Hertzberger’s comments coincided with widespread coverage in the Dutch press of a Jewish woman in the Amsterdam suburb of Amstelveen who was intimidated and threatened outside her own home on Wednesday by Hamas supporters.

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She has also been targeted with a series of obscenely-worded leaflets in her neighborhood highlighting the fact that her daughter is a soldier in the IDF.

“Neighborhood residents pay attention! A child murderer lives nearby! This genocidal maniac has recently returned from her murderous activities and will be tried soon. As local residents, you have the right to know that such an individual can get close to your children,” one leaflet declared.

It also specified the names of both the woman and her daughter, her address, and her place of work, claiming: “She sent her pussy daughter to Israel to kill babies. She is also an accomplice!”

However, Dutch police remain unwilling to classify the woman’s ordeal as an antisemitic incident. “Only when we know the whole story will we see what exactly we are dealing with,” a spokesperson for the Amsterdam police told the broadcaster RTL on Thursday.

Meanwhile, last weekend, Hamas supporters wrecked a concert in the city of Waalwijk by a popular Dutch singer, Lenny Kuhr. Now aged 74, Kuhr converted to Judaism in the 1970s when she married an Israeli man, and has children and grandchildren living in Israel, one of whom reportedly serves in the IDF.

As Kuhr was performing last Saturday, a group of pro-Hamas thugs stormed the stage, screaming epithets including “terrorist” and “murderer” at the veteran singer.

Subsequently, Palestine Action NL — an antisemitic, pro-Hamas campaign group — threatened to carry out similar actions at other concerts given by Kuhr during her current concert tour.

In response, Dutch Justice Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz condemned the attack on Kuhr as antisemitic. “This has nothing to do with being pro-Palestine,” she said. “It is anti-Jew. Let us name and treat this for what it is.”

On Tuesday evening, a group of Dutch parliamentarians issued a statement decrying “the horrifying return of Jew-hatred” and calling for it to “stop, now.”

Two parliamentary factions — the far right Forum for Democracy (FvD) and DENK, a pro-Islamist party launched by two MPs of Turkish origin — refused to sign the statement.

Outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte also spoke out against the rise in antisemitism, telling the Council of Ministers on Thursday that he was “very concerned that people in the Netherlands with a Jewish background are currently being harassed because of that background, and because of the situation in Israel.”