Anti-Semitic incidents increased during the year, particularly in July following the conflict in Gaza. These incidents included an attack on a rabbi’s house in Amersfoort, a Molotov cocktail thrown at an apartment showing an Israeli flag, and an assault on a Jewish woman in Amsterdam.
A January report by the NISR said an overwhelming number of Muslims experienced discrimination, with at least two of every three Muslims reporting at least one incident in 2013, the most recent year for which data was available. Twenty-two percent said they were harassed in the street and seven percent were confronted with threats and violence. Incidents involved intimidation, brawls, and job discrimination. On April 9, in Eindhoven, two men tore a niqab off a veiled woman and reportedly physically assaulted her. Justice Minister Opstelten called this incident “unacceptable.”
The leader of the populist Freedom Party (PVV), opposition parliamentarian Geert Wilders, continued to speak out against Islam in public speeches and on social media. In April Wilders, who said he wanted to “free people from the yoke of Islam,” distributed stickers showing the Saudi flag on which the creed was substituted by a text in Arabic that said: "Islam is a lie. Mohammed is a scoundrel. The Quran is poison.” Wilders also made an anti-Islamic and anti-immigrant speech at a March election event and incited his supporters to chant in favor of “Fewer, Fewer, Fewer” Moroccans. On December 18, the Hague Prosecutor’s Office announced it would prosecute Wilders for his March statements against Moroccans that violated hate speech laws.
The government distanced itself from Wilders’ anti-Islamic statements, with Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher saying Wilders’ Saudi flag sticker campaign was a “repulsive campaign with the sole aim of offending.” On November 28, Asscher rejected the PVV’s call in parliament for the closure of all mosques in the country as contrary to the constitution, and said the PVV was suggesting denying Muslims the same rights granted to other citizens.
Public expressions of anti-Semitism continued. During two rallies in The Hague, protestors carried black flags representing the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and shouted anti-Jewish statements in Arabic including “Death to the Jews.”
At soccer matches involving the Amsterdam-based Ajax soccer team, whose fans had previously adopted “Jewish” symbols, fans of opposing teams used anti-Jewish slurs during games. The Combat Anti-Semitism Foundation tried, but failed, in June to obtain a court order against the Royal Netherlands Soccer Association (KNVB) to stop matches when anti-Jewish chanting occurred. The court suggested the foundation and KNVB work out a settlement to counter undesired chanting.
During the first two weeks of the Gaza conflict, the MDI received 122 complaints with 412 expressions of anti-Semitism, the highest number of reports of anti-Semitism recorded in MDI’s 17-year history. In the past, MDI typically received four to five complaints a week. Incidents rose on both right-wing and mainstream websites. The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) registered 105 incidents between June 15 and September 20, including physical confrontations with unknown persons and incidents on Twitter. CIDI indicated individuals of Middle Eastern descent made up most of the perpetrators of anti-Semitic incidents. This differed from statistics in past years, when the majority of the perpetrators were “native Dutch.”
One online video showed a young, Hague-based Muslim shooting a gun while stating Jews should be shot; Jewish leaders saw it as a precursor to a real shooting. Jewish community members reported hiding their religious identity due to fear of physical violence. Some said they removed symbols from their homes identifying them as Jewish. The man in the video was convicted November 19 and sentenced to 60 days imprisonment, of which 44 days were suspended.
Following the conflict in Gaza, approximately 100 leading figures from the media, society, academia, culture, and civil society, including many political party members and former government officials, signed a full-page announcement in the Telegraaf newspaper that said, “No Excuses for Hatred of Jews.”
CIDI statistics for 2013, the latest available year, indicated a rise in anti-Semitic statements on social media by teenagers, some of whom were Muslim immigrant youth, but the majority of whom were ethnic Dutch. Anti-Semitic statements constituted 27 percent (the highest number) of the internet hate speech incidents recorded by MDI during the same period. MDI referred two cases to the prosecutor’s office. MDI recorded 74 cases involving Holocaust denial.
The MDI recorded 233 incidents of anti-Muslim hate speech on the internet in 2013, the latest year for which data was available, the second highest category of complaints after anti-Semitic comments.
In October the Liberal Jewish Community (LJG) and some church members said a photo exhibition in the Utrecht Dom Church showing Palestinian children in Israeli prisons could incite anti-Semitism. The LJG asked the church board to remove the photos but the request was denied. The board said it believed visitors were capable of distinguishing between the state of Israel and the Jewish people.
According to a report from the justice ministry, two-thirds of mosques in the country had experienced arson, threats, smashed windows, or vandalism. In some cases, remains of pigs or sheep were deposited on doorsteps.
CIDI continued to conduct programs to counter prejudice against Jews and other minorities in schools. The Intercultural Alliance Foundation, which includes Muslim and Jewish groups, continued to develop programs for use in schools highlighting religious belief and diversity. These included the “Classroom of Difference” program to train teachers in handling discrimination, and the peer training program to train participants to engage students in debates on tolerance. CIDI worked closely with the police and organized workshops to help police recognize anti-Semitism.
The LJG of Amsterdam continued to reach out to youth in the “Get to Know Your Neighbors” project, which brought students into its synagogue to show what a temple looked like and explained Jewish practices. On September 10, Deputy Prime Minister Asscher announced the Ministry of Social Affairs would help sponsor the expansion of the program to synagogues in three other municipalities. Statistics gathered by the Liberal Jewish Synagogue showed the program positively increased tolerance and understanding of the Jewish culture by participants, most significantly among Muslims and immigrant youth.
Other NGO initiatives included the Shabbat-Shalom program in Amsterdam to connect Muslims and Jews, and the Mo-Moos initiative (short for Mohammed and Moshe) which brought 20 professional Muslims and Jews together to encourage leadership on interfaith issues.