Concerns Mount Among Jews Ahead of Dutch Remembrance Ceremony

Farrukh Saif

May 5, 2024

dutch

AMSTERDAM (Worthy News)

Jewish leaders fear an outbreak of antisemitism on Saturday, May 4, when the Netherlands will observe two minutes of silence for those who died in World War Two, including over 100,000 Dutch Jewish people and more recent armed conflicts.

The main focus is on Amsterdam, the capital, where the Dutch royal family and other dignitaries attend the live televised ceremony at 8 pm local time.

Unlike previous years, only 10,000 of the usual 20,000 people will be allowed to attend the event at Dam Square near the Royal Palace of Amsterdam amid security concerns, said Mayor Femke Halsema.

More than a decade ago, a man shouted during the moment of silence, causing massive panic and forcing security forces to evacuate the royal family briefly.

Yet this year’s extra security measures have done little to ease concerns about possible incidents, explained Dave Heilbron, a board member of the Amsterdam-based Centraal Joods Overleg, or ‘Central Jewish Consultation’ (CJO) advocacy group.

“I know of a woman in the [Amsterdam suburb town] of Amstelveen who was hiding after being threatened at home by three women because her daughter serves in the Israeli army,” he told Christian television channel Family7 on Friday.

HOLOCAUST MUSEUM:

Jewish people were also targeted elsewhere, including during the recent opening of the Holocaust museum in Amsterdam, where relatives of Holocaust victims and survivors heard slogans such as “dirty Jews,” Heilbron stressed.

Heilbron noted that he, too, faced antisemitism. “The Taxi company Uber here is no longer picking me up because I am [outspoken] Jewish.”

Uber could not immediately be reached for comment about this case, though the firm is generally believed to pick up Jewish people among its customers.

Heilbron also said that he removed a Jewish symbol from his home in North Amsterdam amid mounting tensions. “I think this is like [the Nazi-era of the] the 1930s,” he argued, adding that many of the up to 45,000 Jews are fearful in cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague.

His observations were confirmed by Holocaust survivor Phia Baruch, a Dutch journalist and founder of Worthy News’ online news partner, De Couturekrant (The Couture Newspaper).

“Some Jews fear civil war in the Netherlands. I know a Jewish pedicure salon owner and her daughter who closed their Amsterdam store. The owner was rushed to hospital with heart issues due to a heart rhythm disorder due to stress over hatred towards Jews,” Baruch told Worthy News.

AMSTERDAM: JEWISH STUDENTS

Jewish students were also anxiously awaiting the annual Remembrance of the Dead on May 4. “Jewish students fear that the American anti-Israel protests will spread to universities here in the Netherlands,” noted Tamar Efrati, a Jewish student in Amsterdam.

“These protesters want all universities to halt their cooperation with Israel and universities to view Zionism as discrimination,” Efrati added.

The mounting antisemitism has been linked to anger among pro-Palestine protesters about Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza

However, an opinion poll published by Dutch broadcasters showed some 91 percent of those questioned are against allowing protests during the national moment of silence.

Some Palestinian activists said they, therefore, decided to hold an alternative memorial remembering Israel’s “genocide” in Gaza.

They gathered near Amsterdam’s Homomonument, or Gay Memorial, which commemorates gays and lesbians killed by Nazi Germany.

The Palestinian activists did not address concerns within the LGBTQ+ community that same-sex activity is strictly prohibited in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

Farrukh Saif

Farrukh H. Saif, a courageous Christian human rights activist, established the Farrukh Saif Foundation in 2009 to confront religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, and bonded slavery in Pakistan. His dedication to liberating bonded laborers from brick kilns and advocating for blasphemy victims and asylum seekers has garnered international acclaim. Despite encountering threats and fatwas, his impactful work persists in supporting marginalized communities. In 2018, the foundation merged with The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved, enhancing its global outreach.

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