Canary in the Coalmine: Europe’s “Decoy Jews”

“Decoy Jew” is a new phrase in the Netherlands. Jews are no longer safe in major Dutch cities such as Amsterdam. Since 1999, Jewish organizations in the Netherlands have been complaining that Jews who walk the Dutch streets wearing skullcaps risk verbal and physical attacks by young Muslims. Being insulted, spat at or attacked are some of the risks associated with being recognizable as a Jew in contemporary Western Europe.

Last week, a television broadcast showed how three Jews with skullcaps, two adolescents and an adult, were harassed within thirty minutes of being out in the streets of Amsterdam. Young Muslims spat at them, mocked them, shouted insults and made Nazi salutes. “Dirty Jew, go back to your own country,” a group of Moroccan youths shouted at a young indigenous Dutch Jew. “It is rather ironic,” the young man commented, adding that if one goes out in a burka one encounters less hostility than if one wears a skullcap.

In an effort to arrest the culprits who terrorize Jews, the Amsterdam authorities have ordered police officers to walk the streets disguised as Jews. The Dutch police already disguise officers as “decoy prostitutes, decoy gays and decoy grannies” to deter muggings and attacks on prostitutes, homosexuals and the elderly. Apparently sending out the decoys has helped reduce street crime. The “decoy Jew” has now been added to the police attributes.

The deployment of “decoy Jews”, however, is being criticized by leftist parties such as the Dutch Greens. Evelien van Roemburg, an Amsterdam counselor of the Green Left Party, says* that using a decoy by the police amounts to provoking a crime, which is itself a criminal offence under Dutch law.

Unfortunately, the situation in Amsterdam is not unique. Jews in other Dutch cities also regularly complain about harassment. So do Jews in neighboring countries.

On Monday, the Belgian newspaper De Standaard reported that large numbers of Jews are leaving Antwerp for America, Britain or Israel. Antwerp – nicknamed the “Jerusalem of the North” – is one of the major centers of Jewish culture in the Low Countries. “In London, you are not harassed if you wear a skullcap, but here you are,” a young Antwerp Jew told the paper.

Kleinblatt, a famous Jewish Antwerp bakery, which has been handed down from father to son since 1903, will soon break with that tradition because the baker’s son has emigrated to the U.S. “We no longer feel safe and welcome here,” a young Jew who is leaving for London told De Standaard. “Muslim immigrants blame us for what is happening in Israel.” Another young Jew, who is leaving for New York, says: “New York is a paradise for Jews. Unlike Belgium, non-Jews in America are pro-Israel.”

Ultra-orthodox Jews remain in Antwerp, but the less orthodox are leaving in droves. Even Jacques Wenger, the director of Shomre Hadas, the Jewish community center in Antwerp, is emigrating to Israel. If the current trend continues, he predicts, in fifty years’ time there will be no Jews left in Antwerp except for the ultra-orthodox.

It is often said that the Jews are the canary in the coalmine. When the Jews feel compelled to leave, the light of freedom is being extinguished. Something is badly wrong when the police need to deploy “decoy Jews.” Once again, the specter of anti-Semitism is haunting Europe. If the Europeans do not stand with the Jews, they deserve no freedom themselves and cities such as Amsterdam and Antwerp will soon be Islamic cities.


*Update 22 September 2010: Ms. Evelien van Roemburg points out that she expressed her opposition against using decoys in the context of anti-gay violence. She never stated anything about the use of decoy Jews. 

Late again as usual

A possible two-word response to the abovementioned Dummkopf von Maroc (if he fails to keep his distance): Krav maga. Or a stiletto. The polite reply, of course, might be something along the lines of "Why don't you take your own advice?" But the time for politeness may have already passed.

verboten thoughts

If France prohibits the headscarves, one might think about prohibiting other identification symbols. Maybe clogs, Lederhosen, bask barets, tatoos, ripped jeans, red ties, ...

RE: verboten thoughts

They're not banning headscarves. Get your facts straight. France, Belgium and Spain are outlawing or, at least, restricting the burqa, niqab and any other types of clothing that conceal the face and make the individual unrecognizable, unlike ripped jeans, miniskirts or tattoos. These garments are not strictly speaking obligatory in the Islamic religion, yet certain fundamentalist groups will insist they are in order to force their backward traditions on Westerners, citing religious freedom as the justification. The same is true of minarets. They are not a required part of a mosque but they have historically been built in cities where Muslims used to be in the minority as a symbol of Islam's growing power and authority. That is why they, too, must be banned if we cherish Western tradition and the rule of law. We should not allow extremist Muslims to rape the principle of religious freedom.

The coalmine is already under water

There is no hope for the Netherlands until the majority of its autochthon population regains its spine and its senses enough so that the police need to innovate further with ‘decoy Moroccans’ and decoy Green Left Party members. And for Hollanders who think this is just a problem of antisemitism that can be "cured," I recommend they rediscover the German wartime pastor Martin Niemöller and his poem.


It is Islam, stupid!

None of the emigrating Jews quoted in the article mention the economic situation as the reason why they are leaving. They ALL refer to the anti-Semitism of the "new Belgians." Certainly, the leftist newspaper mentions the economic situation. The media do not want us to see the truth. They would sooner blame global warming as the reason why the Jews are leaving than refer to Islam.

economy and diamonds

The diamond industry in Antwerp has become a main market for South Asian traders in the last decade. This is the major reason for the Jewish community leaving the town. The economic crisis only increased this process. The ultraorthodox, traditionally not strong in any market segment, are happy to continue their life isolated from society and live on a combination of state and community-based social wellfare and small businesses.
The economic reasons for migrating have been mentioned in the interviews Belien refers to, but he doesn't bother to mention them here for some reason.
Antisemitism has always existed even long before the recent increase amongst muslim groups. I don't believe this to be the main reason why Jews leave Antwerp. Solidarity with Israel is still strong and they know it.