Dutch police to get tough on anti-semitism at pro-Gaza rallies
Friday 01 August 2014
Public prosecutors in Amsterdam and The Hague are to be extra alert for anti-semitic statements at pro-Gaza and other demonstrations in the coming days.
The decision follows criticism of the lack of police action at a rally in The Hague during which some demonstrators were chanting ‘death to Jews’. Two people have since been arrested.
There has been a rise in anti-semitic incidents in the Netherlands since fighting flared up again in Gaza, and Jewish groups have complained that officials are not taking them seriously enough.
However, justice ministry officials will now monitor demonstrations and use interpreters on the ground to monitor speeches and chants. Jihadist flags and face-coverings will also be banned under certain circumstances.
On Friday, a demonstration against police violence will be held in The Hague and there have been reports supporters of the Muslim extremist group IS (formerly Isis) may be present.
On Sunday, some 5,000 protestors are expected at a pro-Gaza rally in Amsterdam.
‘Nazi symbols, Hitler salutes and burning flags will not be tolerated,’ an Amsterdam police spokesman told website nu.nl. ‘The same applies to the ISIS flag. Demonstrators may not carry it.’
Meanwhile, police in Amsterdam say they are investigating an attack on a Jewish woman living in the east of the city who hung an Israeli flag from her balcony.
Seraphina Verhofstadt-Makker says she was hit in the face and stomach by three men wearing Palestinian scarfs on Tuesday.
Police are looking for witnesses to the attack and say the men may have traces of red spray paint on their clothing. Verhofstadt-Makker used the paint to protect herself.
MPs from across the political spectrum condemned the incident. Labour MP Ahmed Marcouch (PvdA) said it was ‘disgusting’.
Elbert Dijkgraaf of the fundamentalist Christian group SGP said: 'It is unbelievable how much hatred of Jews is coming to the fore these days. Sad, shocking and all the more reason to come down hard on anti-semitism.’
Earlier another building carrying the Israeli flag had what news agency ANP described as a ‘fire bomb’ thrown at it and the owners were sent a threatening letter.
In The Hague, a driving school owner is being sought by police after placing a film on Facebook in which he describes Zionists as zombies. In the film, the man says ‘these zombies should be shot dead’ and shoots in the air several times with a pistol.
Facebook has since removed the video as hate speech.