Dutch chief rabbi slams Amsterdam mayor for ignoring social distancing at mass Black Lives Matter protest


AMSTERDAM (JTA) — A Dutch chief rabbi joined the chorus of criticism aimed at Amsterdam’s mayor, who allowed thousands to gather at a protest over the police killing of George Floyd without enforcing social distancing protocols.

Writing in a column on Jonet.nl, Binyomin Jacobs argued that social distancing rules are not being enforced fairly — since the country’s Holocaust commemoration events were not held as normal on May 4 and Dutch houses of worship are still closed.

Furthermore, Binyomin Jacobs cited the Jewish faith’s principle of preserving life, saying that Mayor Femke Halsema ignored that in allowing the rally to happen during a time when catching the coronavirus is still a risk.

“Jewish law is clear: When lives are threatened, no risk is taken,” Jacobs wrote on Jonet.nl. “The demonstration on Dam Square should never have been allowed.”

Halsema, who belongs to the far-left Green Left party, is facing a no-confidence vote at city hall over the rally. She said she expected far fewer protesters to show up.

The Netherlands has one of Europe’s highest death rates from COVID-19 and more deaths per million residents than the United States.

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