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