'Dutch Jews suffered tenfold increase in anti-Semitic attacks during Gaza war'
The number of anti-Semitic incidents documented in Holland in January almost equaled the number of attacks recorded throughout the whole of 2008, according to the annual report by the country's watchdog on anti-Semitism.
The report by the Hague-based Center for Information and Documentation (CIDI) presents 98 attacks in January, as the Israel Defense Forces was attacking in Gaza. The total number of attacks in 2008 was 108.
Unusually, CIDI criticized the justice system and police for allegedly not acting with sufficient promptness to ensure safety and security, and for not imposing a ban on Holocaust denial.
The month of January saw a tenfold increase in anti-Semitic attacks compared to the average nine attacks per month in the previous year.
The number of physical attacks during January was nine. Only three such attacks were recorded in 2007, and five in 2008. The remaining attacks were of hate speech and mail.
CIDI says the volume of circulation of hate speech and mail was larger than in recent years. Most cases of physical harassment, intimidation and assault were the result of the actions of perpetrators of North African descent, said the report by CIDI, which has in the recent past been involved with dialogue between Jews and Muslims.
An analysis of hate-mails revealed most denied or downplayed the Holocaust by comparing it with Israel's attack in the Gaza Strip, which came in retaliation for the targeting of Israeli citizens by Palestinians.
The 43-page report also speaks of an increasing trend of anti-Semitic statements and incidents in schools. This included an incident in an Amsterdam school which suspended lessons after students chanted anti-Jewish slogans. A Rotterdam did the same, after pupils sang: "Hamas, Jews to the gas" and "Jews are murderers."
"Something must be done about the numerous holes in the processing of complaints by the police, states the report, which was compiled by Elise Friedmann and released last week. "The many current gaps in the system offer little prospect for effectiveness in the judicial approach to discrimination," she wrote.
The recommendations chapter of CIDI's report called for stricter implementation of limitations on hate speech. CIDI also said the police appear to be reluctant to process reports of anti-Semitism.
Finally, CIDI said proposals to decriminalize Holocaust denial in the Netherlands encourage Holocaust denial. In May, the leader of the Dutch liberal party, Mark Rutte, said that claiming the Holocaust did not occur "should be made possible."
Should speech be banned? I'm a strong believer in free speech, without restraints - as is the American version. Libel can be filed where private persons are lied about, and criminal charges only in the 'screaming fire in a crowded theater' scenarios.
That being said, there's no reason to allow public airwaves to foreign propaganda machines, such as Hezbollah's TV stations.
In a healthy free society enough sane voices should be heard condemning the history denying, conspiracy theorist loons. The fact that loons are free to voice their idiocy and hateful speech only allows us to scrutinize who they are.
Which I think worked pretty well last week in the US, where a certain Obama adviser quit in the middle of the night, hiding from public outcry when his own words were revealed to show the nature of this administration and its employee.
Europeans have an odd habit of distorting the notion of free speech, banning what is deemed politically unacceptable (talking about negatives of Muslim immigration and culture of violence), while praising blood libel. Jews are still the acceptable target whereas Muslims are considered by these uber loony Europeans victims.
You reap what you sow, and Europeans aren't ashamed anymore at their history.