Amsterdam’s Jewish History Lives on in Language and Soccer

March 29 2018

Last week, the Mosaic columnist Philologos delved into the impact of Yiddish on contemporary Dutch slang via a thieves’ argot called Bargoens. Matt Lebovic presents some further examples, including a popular nickname for Amsterdam itself:

Many of the words [that have made their way into Dutch] have Hebrew origins, making it possible for Hebrew-speakers to fish out lef (courage, or heart), ponum (face), or brooche (blessing) in a conversation. . . .  The word Mokum, [from the Hebrew word meaning] “place,” is to Amsterdam what “Big Apple” is to New York. . . . In 1955, the Dutch singer Johnny Jordaan scored a hit with the bouncy “I Prefer Amsterdam”. . . . “I prefer to be in Mokum without money, than to be in Paris with one million,” crooned Jordaan. . . . “Mokum is my paradise.” . . .

Among its public appearances in recent years, the song “I Prefer Amsterdam” was played at the 2013 Ajax championship. As the Netherlands’ most legendary soccer team, Ajax—called “the pride of Mokum”—had several Jewish players and owners before World War II. The squad continues to be associated with Jews and Israel, but not always in a warm context.

To the south of Amsterdam, fans of rival team Feyenoord Rotterdam have been known to hiss loudly, “like gas chambers,” when competing against the . . . “Jewish” Ajax. Chants of “Jews to the gas” are sometimes heard in the Rotterdam stadium, including when the “Super Jew” fans of Mokum’s Ajax unfurl their Israeli flags and sing “Havah Nagilah.”

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Amsterdam, Anti-Semitism, Dutch Jewry, History & Ideas, Soccer, Yiddish

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror