Anti-Semitic incidents drop in Netherlands, report finds


AMSTERDAM (JTA) — The number of anti-Semitic incidents recorded in the Netherlands dropped by 9 percent last year but vandalism and assaults rose sharply, according to the annual report by the country’s watchdog on anti-Semitism.

The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, attributed the overall drop in recorded incidents to a decrease in the amount of hate mail reported.

However, the Hague-based organization registered a sharp rise in real-life anti-Semitic incidents — such as vandalism, assaults or abuse — to 55 last year from 31 in 2010.

In total, CIDI registered 113 anti-Semitic incidents in 2011, compared to 124 the previous year. CIDI found 18 cases of hate mail in 2011, compared to 47 in 2010.

The organization’s records for 2011 show 28 victims of anti-Semitic, non-physical abuse on the street or in the public sphere. In 2009, CIDI listed 20 such incidents. That year saw anti-Semitism incidents of all categories skyrocketing worldwide in connection with Israel’s attack on Hamas in Gaza.

“There was no comparable external cause in 2011,” according to the CIDI report, which was compiled by researcher Elise Friedmann. The Netherlands has a Jewish population of some 40,000.

In 2010, CIDI recorded nine cases of in-person anti-Semitic confrontations. The threefold increase in 2011 is attributable to greater awareness to the need to report such incidents, according to a news release by CIDI.

“The Dutch government has been promising since 2008 to apply an improved and more uniform system for the registration of anti-Semitic and xenophobic incidents. To date, there are no signs of this,” CIDI said.

Dutch police do not register or flag reports of xenophobic incidents at the time of deposition. Police compile their annual hate crimes report by applying a search engine to the texts of all complaints.

CIDI has called the procedure “inadequate” and urged the Dutch police to implement an immediate flag system like the one used in Britain and elsewhere.

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