Record number of antisemitic incidents in the Netherlands, according to latest report
A total of 183 antisemitic incidents were recorded in the Netherlands in 2021, the highest number ever, according to CIDI, a Dutch watchdog. This amounts to an increase of 36% compared to 2020 and slightly higher than the previous record in 2019.
According to CIDI director Hanna Luden, the figures show that the trend increase in the number of antisemitic incidents continues. Worryingly, an increasing number of incidents are taking place at schools spread across the country. It almost always concerns bullying by fellow pupils towards children of Jewish origin.
“These are heart-rending stories of children who wonder ‘why we are so hated? It is painful that sometimes children are confronted with their Jewish identity for the first time in this way”, said Luden. CIDI observes that although the school management usually takes action against these incidents, this sometimes happens too late and with too little conviction.
In 2021, too, peaks in antisemitic incidents occurred mainly as tensions rose between Israel and the Palestinians. It illustrates that this goes beyond criticism of the policy of the state of Israel. Dutch Jews are held responsible for the actions of the Israeli government. This has a strong impact on the feelings of insecurity felt by Dutch Jews and leads to a reluctance to speak out for their identity in public, at work and elsewhere.
CIDI has been warning for years that the tensions in the Middle East are leading to an increase in antisemitic statements in the Netherlands and are also gradually legitimising such statements.
Consequently, the CIDI finds the decision of certain political parties in the Netherlands such as BIJ1 and DENK not to cooperate with initiatives to protect the Dutch Jewish community against antisemitism incomprehensible and worrying. By doing so, the parties send the wrong signal to their supporters.
Online antisemitism falls outside the scope of this CIDI-Monitor. The amount of online data is enormous, and requires a different approach. A survey on online antisemitism is expected to be published soon by the University of Utrecht.
In the report, CIDI makes various recommendations for dealing more effectively with the persistent problem of antisemitism. For example, in addition to education about World War II and the Holocaust, the history of antisemitism should also be included in the school curriculum. In addition, the police should be given more resources and powers to track down and prosecute cases of discrimination and public officials should be educated on the subject. Measures should also be taken to tackle online hate speech in general and anti-Semitism in particular, and more research is needed into which anti-discrimination policies work best and what they require.