Dutch Soccer Games Have Become Breeding Grounds for Anti-Semitism

March 14 2019

According to a report released on Tuesday, 2018 saw a sharp increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the Netherlands. As in other European countries, some of these incidents center on soccer: certain teams are branded as “Jewish,” and as a result rival teams shout anti-Semitic slogans at matches. Hundreds of spectators can thus be heard at Dutch soccer stadiums shouting “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas” or “My father served with the commandos, my mother was with the SS. Together they burned Jews, because Jews burn best.” Manfred Gerstenfeld explains how this peculiar kind of anti-Semitism relates to attitudes toward Jews more generally:

This pervasive soccer anti-Semitism is the result of tolerance for expressions of extreme hate, including anti-Semitism, in Dutch society. It manifests itself in many ways. As far back as 2004, the director of the CIDI, [a Dutch] organization [that] fights anti-Semitism, said it was futile to lodge complaints with the authorities. . . . Worse still, also in 2004, the mayor of Heerenveen, a town with a major football club, took the position that the commission dealing with soccer vandalism should not take serious action against hate songs. . . .

The anti-Semitic hate chants have spread into the public domain. In 2009, there was an anti-Israel demonstration in Amsterdam in which two left-wing parliamentarians participated. There, as in the stadiums, chants of “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas” were heard. The parliamentarians later claimed they had not noticed them. . . .

Soccer anti-Semitism has by now been fully integrated into the wider “culture” of Dutch anti-Semitism. Even though self-defining Jews represent only 0.2 percent of the Dutch population, in 2017, out of all complaints about punishable discrimination that reached prosecution, 41 percent concerned anti-Semitism. More than three-quarters of these were related to soccer. The head of the Dutch rabbinate, Binyomin Jacobs, said more than ten years ago that when something happens in Israel, “I am shouted at in the street, ‘Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.’”

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Anti-Semitism, European Jewry, Netherlands, Politics & Current Affairs

Despite What the UN Says, the Violence at the Gaza Border Is Military, Not Civilian, in Nature

March 22 2019

On Monday, a UN Human Rights Council commission of inquiry issued its final report on last spring’s disturbances at the Gaza border. Geoffrey Corn and Peter Margulies explain why the report is fatally flawed:

The commission framed the events [in Gaza] as a series of demonstrations that were “civilian in nature.” Israel and its Supreme Court, [which has investigated some of the killings that occurred], framed the same events quite differently: as a new evolution in Israel’s ongoing armed conflict with the terrorist organization Hamas. Consistency and common sense suggest that the Israeli High Court of Justice’s framing is a more rational explanation of what occurred at the Israel-Gaza border in spring 2018.

Kites, [for instance], played a telltale role [in the violence]. When most people think of kites, they think of a child’s plaything or a hobbyist’s harmless passion. In the Gaza confrontation, kites [became] a new and effective, albeit low-tech, tactic for attacking Israel. As the report conceded, senior Gaza leaders, including from Hamas, “encouraged” the unleashing of waves of incendiary kites that during and since the spring 2018 confrontations have burned thousands of acres of arable land within Israel. The resulting destruction included fires that damaged the Kerem Shalom border crossing, which conveys goods and gasoline from Israel to Gaza. . . .

Moreover, the incendiary-kite offensive was an effective diversion from the efforts encouraged and coordinated by Hamas last spring to pierce the border with Israel and attack both IDF personnel and the civilian residents of the beleaguered Israeli towns a short distance from the border fence. . . .

The commission also failed to acknowledge that Hamas sought to use civilians as an operational cover to move members of its armed wing into position along the fence. For IDF commanders, this increased the importance of preventing a breach [in the fence]. Large crowds directly along the fence would simplify breakthrough attempts by intermingled Hamas and other belligerent operatives. The crowds themselves also could attempt to pour through any breach. Unfortunately, the commission seems to have completely omitted any credible assessment of the potential casualties on all sides that would have resulted from IDF action to seal a breach once it was achieved. . . .

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Lawfare

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Laws of war, UNHRC, United Nations