Targeting of Jews in the Netherlands hits a 5-year high
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Targeting of Jews in the Netherlands hits a 5-year high

A sign marks entry to Holland at the German-Dutch border. (Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images)

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Discrimination against Jews in the Netherlands nearly doubled in 2017, reaching a five-year high that accounts for 41 percent of all the xenophobic incidents recorded.

report published last month by the Dutch Public Prosecution Service listed 144 confirmed criminal offenses last year involving xenophobia, including intimidation, vandalism, assault and incitement to hate or violence.

Of those cases, 41 percent of incidents were “directed against Jews,” who account for 0.2 percent of the Dutch population. Another 7 percent were against victims for their “religion or way of life,” including Muslims. Criminal discrimination against homosexuals accounted for 8 percent of the 144 cases.

In 2016, discrimination against Jews accounted for 22 percent of the 163 cases upheld by the Dutch judiciary.

The report lists an additional 187 cases involving convictions for other offenses where xenophobia was not the main motive, but where it nonetheless featured as an aggravating circumstance. Of those, 9 percent involved anti-Semitism, and the same percentage targeted Muslims for their faith.

Of the more than 60 cases involving direct criminal discrimination against Jews in 2017, more than three-quarters were related to soccer. In the Netherlands, anti-Semitic rhetoric is common during soccer matches, in which both supporters of the Ajax team from Amsterdam and fans of rival squads refer to Ajax as “Jews.”

In March, the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, the Dutch Jewish community’s watchdog on anti-Semitism, published a report listing 117 anti-Semitic incidents in 2017, slightly higher than the 109 record the previous year.

Of the 117 cases, 28 incidents involved anti-Semitic vandalism – a 10-year high in that category following a 40 percent increase over 2016.