8 Novembre 2011

Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism in Dutch Schools



Manfred Gerstenfeld


Anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism in schools or places related to them constitute a significant problem in a number of Western countries. In the coming years, this issue will have to be addressed internationally in much more detail. The major question is how much anti-Semitism do Jewish children encounter in schools? Other important issues are the nature of school curricula, the attitudes of the teachers, the presentation of the Holocaust in schools, security in and around Jewish schools, attacks on Jewish students outside of schools, and so on.


In the Netherlands, substantial research has been undertaken on problems Jewish children encounter in schools. Various projects have been developed to deal with this discrimination. Some information is also available about the harassment of Jewish students outside of schools. As so little is known internationally about these important issues, assessment of the Dutch activities in this field can be useful as a model for similar analyses in other countries.


The arrival of a large, nonselective Muslim immigration is probably the most negative event for Dutch Jewry since the Second World War. Among these immigrants are a significant number who have brought with them far greater prejudices against Jews than were commonly seen previously among the Dutch population. Research findings show that students of Moroccan and Turkish descent are disproportionately anti-Semitic compared to Dutch students. The problems have persisted over a long period.


Dutch programs developed to fight anti-Semitism have had a positive effect on a certain number of Muslim children. However, large percentages of them are not positively influenced. The percentage of Moroccan and Turkish students who remain anti-Semitic is still high. One important drawback of the main program is that it deals with the Holocaust and the situation in the Middle East together. The Jewish community has protested in vain against this several times.