There was a decline in the number of racist and anti-Muslim incidents in the Netherlands last year, but a rise in threats against Jewish institutions, according to a new report by the Verwey-Jonker Institute on behalf of the Anne Frank foundation.
This is the seventh report into racism, anti-semitism and far right violence in the Netherlands and is based on formal police complaints. In total, officials received 3,486 complaints about racism or anti-semitism last year, down from 4,038 in 2016.
Of these, 1,902 cases were racist in nature with people of Turkish and Moroccan origin most likely to be singled out for verbal abuse.
A further 583 complaints involved anti-semitic verbal abuse, most of which took place in Rotterdam and The Hague. One explanation for this could be the relationship with football chants, the report said.
‘It is in these two cities where there is the greatest football animosity against Amsterdam and Ajax, which has Jewish associations,’ the report said. ‘And most of the anti-semitic swearing (74%) was directed at public sector workers.’
The Hague has also overtaken Amsterdam in terms of the most racist or anti-semitic incidents per head of the population.
The report also analysed far right movements in the Netherlands and looked at their relationship with Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration and new party Forum voor Democracie.
The researchers conclude that the influence of extreme right-wing groups in society and on politics is increasing and their ideas are more likely to be seen as ‘other political opinions’.
Both the PVV and the FvD spread ideas which are a good fit for the far right and in that sense help to normalise them, the report said. And while the PVV actively distances itself from the far right, the FvD is less ‘sharp’ in doing so.
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