AMSTERDAM (JTA) — A bookshop owner in the Dutch capital said that a police officer asked him to remove a sign commemorating Holocaust victims, citing Israel’s actions.
Gert-Jan Jimmink told the De Telegraaf daily in a video published online Friday that the request was over a sign that read “Open Jewish Homes, Houses of Resistance.” The sign is part of a grassroots initiative from 2011 in the Netherlands in which residents of homes that used to belong to Holocaust victims open them to the public on the week of May 4, the Netherlands’ day of Remembrance of the Dead for Dutch war casualties.
The officer asked Jimmink: “Would you mind taking that off, because Israel launched an attack,” he said. Jimmink did not say when the officer, who he did not name, requested this. He ignored the request, he said. “I will not bow to this,” he added.
Jimmink, who has commemorated Holocaust victims also by having memorial cobblestones installed outside their former homes, also said that he recently saw an anti-Semitic assault outside his shop. A man of about 40 wearing a kippah was waiting for a tram, when an older man spat on him and hit him, Jimmink said. The attacker had left by the time Jimmink rushed to intervene he said.
“But it happened right in front of my eyes,” he said.
In 2014, police at a heavily-Muslim part of The Hague advised the municipality not to approve a local Jew’s request for a permit to erect outside his home a sukkah, a hut designated for meals during the holiday of Sukkot. Police cited an elevated risk of vandalism, the Jewish man said. The previous year, a school in the same neighborhood canceled plans for a Holocaust memorial monument for fear of vandalism.
The number of incidents involving anti-Semitic vandalism recorded in the Netherlands last year increased by 40 percent, to a 10-year high of 28 cases, according to the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel.
In December, a man in his twenties from Syria smashed the windows of a Kosher restaurant in Amsterdam, broke into it while holding a Palestinian flag and took out an Israeli flag from the restaurant. He was tried for vandalism.
On its Twitter account, the Center called the police officer’s alleged request of Jimmink “the wrong message.” Anti-Semitism, the watchdog group’s spokesperson said, “must be fought by confronting perpetrators, not hiding away Jewish symbols.”