Anti-Semitism in the Netherlands Is on the Rise

March 14 2023

According to a recent survey, 40 percent of Dutch school teachers report witnessing at least one anti-Semitic incident in the past year. Hans Wallage comments on the two factors most likely to bring hostility to Jews to the surface, the first being public discourse surrounding the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

The Dutch media landscape plays a critical role in [the problem]: there is little room for a nuanced analysis or historical background in news coverage and opinion pieces. More and more often, there is also a glaring lack of knowledge about the conflict, resulting in very one-sided, incomplete, and sometimes even incorrect reporting. In recent times, the conflict has been increasingly depicted from a perpetrator-victim perspective, with barely any attention for the fact that Israel is fighting a war against terrorists, who aim to kill civilians.

The report also demonstrates that soccer rivalries in and outside stadiums are a huge trigger for anti-Semitic agitation. Since the 1970s and 1980s, supporters of the Amsterdam soccer club Ajax have nicknamed themselves as “Jews.” This Jewish identity is based on the historic (and largely inaccurate) perception of their club being rooted in the Jewish community.

At first glance, the nickname seems harmless, as Ajax supporters claim to be proud of the so-called “Jewish” identity of the club and its fan base. However, supporters of rival clubs use this identity as a stick to attack the team. As a result, anti-Semitic lyrics that have nothing to do with soccer can be heard during every professional match. “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas,” “Jews burn the best,” “It’s cold and stormy, throw some Jews on the fire,” and “whoever does not jump is a Jew” are some of the slogans, part of a large repertoire of anti-Semitic slurs.

Although this problem has existed for decades, nothing has been done about it so far. Politicians, soccer organizations, and supporters’ groups shift responsibility and point to each other. In addition, this hatred is often dismissed as a [purely sports-related] issue and therefore not considered anti-Semitic. The opinion of the Jewish community is not taken into account.

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Netherlands, Soccer


When It Comes to Peace with Israel, Many Saudis Have Religious Concerns

Sept. 22 2023

While roughly a third of Saudis are willing to cooperate with the Jewish state in matters of technology and commerce, far fewer are willing to allow Israeli teams to compete within the kingdom—let alone support diplomatic normalization. These are just a few results of a recent, detailed, and professional opinion survey—a rarity in Saudi Arabia—that has much bearing on current negotiations involving Washington, Jerusalem, and Riyadh. David Pollock notes some others:

When asked about possible factors “in considering whether or not Saudi Arabia should establish official relations with Israel,” the Saudi public opts first for an Islamic—rather than a specifically Saudi—agenda: almost half (46 percent) say it would be “important” to obtain “new Israeli guarantees of Muslim rights at al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Haram al-Sharif [i.e., the Temple Mount] in Jerusalem.” Prioritizing this issue is significantly more popular than any other option offered. . . .

This popular focus on religion is in line with responses to other controversial questions in the survey. Exactly the same percentage, for example, feel “strongly” that “our country should cut off all relations with any other country where anybody hurts the Quran.”

By comparison, Palestinian aspirations come in second place in Saudi popular perceptions of a deal with Israel. Thirty-six percent of the Saudi public say it would be “important” to obtain “new steps toward political rights and better economic opportunities for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.” Far behind these drivers in popular attitudes, surprisingly, are hypothetical American contributions to a Saudi-Israel deal—even though these have reportedly been under heavy discussion at the official level in recent months.

Therefore, based on this analysis of these new survey findings, all three governments involved in a possible trilateral U.S.-Saudi-Israel deal would be well advised to pay at least as much attention to its religious dimension as to its political, security, and economic ones.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Islam, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia, Temple Mount