In the past three decades, much has been written and said about the “new anti-Semitism.” But a look at some local European Easter celebrations suggests that there is plenty of the old anti-Semitism to be found as well—and not just in religiously conservative countries like Poland, but even in the supposedly tolerant and progressive Netherlands. Canaan Lidor reports:
At a festive procession in Pruchnik, a small town in southeastern Poland, townsmen watch the ceremonial burning of a kippah-wearing effigy they’ve named Judas as part of a Christian event. In a small Dutch municipality, dozens of men wearing matching attire march through their city’s streets singing of the Jews’ murder of Jesus Christ. . . . A testament to the deep, abiding roots of Jew-hatred on the continent, the events held last week are among several traditions that persist in 21st-century Europe, despite repeated protests by Jewish and other critics.
The anti-Jewish caroling in the Netherlands’ eastern town of Ootmarsum sees singers in matching outfits denounce “the Jews who with their false council sacrificed Jesus on the cross.” . . . . Easter caroling at Ootmarsum has come under criticism, including by the influential Dutch rabbi Lody van der Kamp. The rabbi, who was born in the east of the Netherlands, last year called the tradition “unfathomable” in an interview.
A visitor from a nearby town, who is among the hundreds of tourists who come to Ootmarsum annually to watch the Easter caroling procession, defended the original lyrics to [the local newspaper]. “Why should I get involved,” demanded Jaap Meerkerk. “Let the incessant complainers find some other target than this beautiful tradition. No one here came to offend anyone,” Meerkerk said.