Many Dutch Jews report feeling afraid to openly identify as Jews in the streets of the Netherlands.

Many Jews in the Netherlands fear exposing themselves as Jews, according to a survey conducted by Dutch current affairs program EenVandaag in consultation with the Central Jewish Board of the Netherlands and JMW, a Jewish social services group.

The survey included 557 Jews in the Netherlands with nearly half (47%) saying they didn’t feel free to be openly Jewish in the country, according to EenVandaag.

Those surveyed said they encounter anti-Semitic sentiments on the internet (82 percent), in the media (59%) and on the streets (52%).

According to the EenVandaag poll, 43 percent of Dutch Jews change their appearance or clothing so they won’t be identified as Jews, i.e. hiding their yarmulke under a cap. Forty-eight percent sometimes avoid situations for fear of anti-Jewish remarks, the poll found. 

Anti-Israel sentiment
Most of those who experienced anti-Jewish sentiment said it centered around remarks about the Israel-Arab conflict (89%).

Nearly all of those surveyed (93%) say that Israel and the media coverage about it influence how Dutch people think about Jews.

Several participants said that they are personally held accountable for Israel’s actions, according to EenVandaag. Israel is portrayed as the guilty party. “Then people personally speak to me about the actions of Israel by saying that ‘you’ have acted wrongly,” one participant wrote. 

Not everything is linked to Israel. Three-quarters (74%) reported hearing stereotypes, occasionally jokes, about Jews, usually in connection with money. Fifty-one percent heard remarks connected to the Second World War. “The neighbor said that I only live here because they forgot to gas my family,” one wrote in the survey.

One in 10 Dutch Jews (11%) said they experienced violence. “I was threatened with a knife at the door, and finally ‘luckily’ he only scratched the car with a swastika,” one wrote.

“The word Jew has become an abuse in itself,” said another, according to EenVandaag.

EenVandaag contributed to this report.

Date published: 03/01/2019
Written by: World Israel News Staff
Feature image: A rabbi on the streets of Amsterdam. Many Jews are afraid to openly identify as Jews in the Netherlands. (AP/Evert Elzinga)
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