The war in Gaza may be over (for now), but violent anti-Jewish sentiment in Europe continues. Our Flemish correspondent VH has compiled and translated material from Dutch-language sources about a shooting attack on a Jewish center near Amsterdam.
First, from De Telegraaf:
Safety glass holds off two bullets
Jewish center in the Netherlands shot at
The Jewish Sinai Center in Amstelveen [near Amsterdam] has been fired upon. A technician discovered yesterday morning two bullet impacts in the windows, right near the main entrance.
The Sinai Center [officially opened last year June] is a Jewish institution for mental health care, and also a psychiatric facility that specializes in Holocaust-related trauma. Why the center was shot at and by whom remains a mystery.
According to a resident of the institution, the police determined that the building was hit with 9mm caliber bullets. The bullets did not penetrate the building because there is safety glass in the windows. According to the same resident, one of the affected windows is of the waiting room to the therapy section. Right above that is the room of the chairman of the board of directors. The Executive Board would take into account that the shooting has to do with the situation in the Middle East. The police confirm that shots had been fired, but could not comment any further. Technical and tactical detectives yesterday conducted research in and around the building. Even residents of the senior center opposite are being questioned.
More than two weeks ago in South Amsterdam there was an attempt to set the door of a synagogue on fire. Since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip, Jewish buildings have had extra security.
The PVV [party for Freedom] and SGP [orthodox Christian Party] in the Parliament have filed questions with Minister of Justice Ernst Hirsch Ballin [CDA, Christian Democrat]. PVV leader Geert Wilders wants to know whether the incident in Amstelveen is reason to further tighten the security on Jewish buildings.
The SGP calls for a rapid detection and prosecution of the perpetrators, to make clear that anti-Semitic violence is not tolerated. In addition, MP Kees van der Staaij [SGP] asked whether the police and the judiciary last year received more reports of anti-Semitic incidents than in the year 2007.
Is Security on Jewish Buildings Insufficient?
Raymond de Roon and Geert Wilders [both PVV] will interrogate the government today on the shooting-up of the Sinai Center, a Jewish institution for mental health care in Amstelveen. They wonder how this incident could have take place, while Jewish buildings were supposed to be under additional protection. De Roon and Wilders also want to know whether this shooting provides a reason to tighten the security of Jewish buildings in our country.
Also from the PVV website, questions in Parliament:
Questions from Parliamentary members De Roon and Wilders (both PVV) to the Minister of Justice [Hirsh Ballin, CDA] and the Minister of Home Affairs [Ter Horst, PvdA, Socialist, Labour] about the shooting of a Jewish institution.
1) Do you know the news about the shooting at the Sinai Center (Jewish institution for mental health care in Amstelveen)? 2) How could this take place while Jewish buildings have extra security? 3) Is there any evidence that this might be a terrorist attack? 4) Do you see in this shooting a reason to tighten up the security of Jewish buildings in our country? If not, why not?
And from Elsevier:
“Next Stage Jew-hatred”: Jewish center Amstelveen shot at
“This goes a step further than a firebomb,” says director Ronny Naftaniel of the Center Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI). Naftaniel speaks of a “next stage” in the hatred of Jews in the Netherlands.
Since the Israeli offensive against the Hamas terrorists in Gaza, the number of anti-Semitic incidents (screaming, threatening) and violence has increased. “During the last month there were as many anti-Semitic incidents as throughout the year 2007, and what worries me the most is that they are of much more serious nature,” says Naftaniel to elsevier.nl.
“When anti-Semites can walk around with a gun, then that goes a step further than the making of a firebomb. That is also bad, but anyone can do that.”
The Sinai Center — a Jewish institution for mental health care — refuses to speculate on the motive for the shooting. Yesterday morning, two bullet holes were discovered in a window near the main entrance [according to De Telegraaf, the 9 mm caliber bullets got stuck in the safety glass the building is equipped with]. “We first await the results of the police investigation,” a spokesperson reports to elsevier.nl. “What we do can say is that our building was damaged in the night of February 2.”
Previously elsevier.nl reported on the basis of provisional figures of the CIDI that the hatred of Jews in the Netherlands had increased “substantially” since the war in Gaza. The number of anti-Semitic incidents rose at a rate similar to that during the war in 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah, when the Jew-hatred rose by 64 percent.
Naftaniel confirms the number, but does not want to come out with the exact numbers because the reports the police received have yet to be processed. “We want to be as complete as possible.”
VH adds these notes:
Last month Elize Friedman of the anti-Semitism monitor of the CIDI, told Elsevier the reported incidents had increased substantially. She made mention of twenty incidents in nine days. In reality this number must be higher because incidents by habitual anti-Semitic offenders are counted as one and all the numbers are not known yet.
Two occasions of violence were also reported to the CIDI. In both cases it was violence by Moroccans, who claim to sympathize with Palestinians. “We further receive many phone calls with reports,” Friedman says. “But people also take the trouble to call us with the sole purpose of scoffing at us. We also receive letters with abuse. The handwriting possibly points at older Dutch people.”
One reported incident was of a fifteen year old girl who became the victim of anti-Semitic violence when a group of Moroccans noticed the Star of David on her neck chain. They scolded her and raised their middle fingers at her. When she ran away, the scum chased her and started to kick her down. A girl with a headscarf intervened and also was hit by one of the boys, but they left the victim alone after that.
Another incident was with a Jewish man in an electric wheelchair in The Hague. He met a bunch of Moroccans when he approached his house. When they discovered a flag of Israel in the hall of his house they kicked in the door and set the doorway on fire. After the men managed to get in, they also threw a firecracker inside. A friend of the Jewish man had his hearing damaged because of this.