Thursday, May 01, 2008

In the Dutch Mountains

In Holland, these days you will hear and read comments about Israel and the Jews that - unless my memory deceives me - you would not hear and read ten, fifteen years ago. I do not know if what is behind that is anti-Semitism ( old or new, indigenous or 'imported' ), anti-Zionism, an anonymity ( provided by the internet ) that did not exist or was not very common yet in the 1990s, the effect of 9/11 and Islamist terror, a false sense of solidarity with the Palestinians or a combination of all that. Still, in Dutch online media which offer the possibility of providing feedback you will almost always encounter anti-Jewish verbal violence whenever a subject comes up that involves Israel or the Jews. And I am not talking about ( one-sided, or balanced and totally justified, even welcome ) criticism of Israel here. It appears to me that in this context there is no real difference between Right and Left, even though in Dutch politics anti-Israel bias has more and more become a characteristic of the Left. A good example of the tone of anti-Jewish comments I just found on the website of the Dutch free daily De Pers, underneath an article that is titled "Israel remembers Holocaust". I will translate the two first comments, even though they do not deserve that and should be ignored. Someone 'named' Tuurke, registered at the website since December 2007 and the writer of 540 posts since then, commented:
  • Holocaust is a word that the Jews have appropriated unlawfully. As if Gypsies, gays and many more do not fall in that category. Typical "Jews' trick".
  • From my mother I heard about the Jews. In the war a Jewish family had to leave (*). That is why they left the main household effects with neigbors. With one neigbor they left a box of with shoes. A few streets further down they also left a box with shoes. After the war, when those Jews did not come back (**), the box was checked more closely. In one box there were only left shoes, and a few streets there were only right shoes in that box. My mother always said after that: "...those are real 'Jews' tricks' ".

(*) Notice the euphemism.

(**) You can almost hear Tuurke think: "Good riddance!". Many if not most Dutch Jews who wrote or spoke about their return from the camps or from hiding mentioned neighbors who refused or were quite unwilling to return valuables, clothes and other effects that the Jews left with their neigbors before they went into hiding or were deported. The cynical term for these neighbors is "Bewarier", a combinatie of the Dutch words for 'to keep/save' ( bewaren ) and 'Aryan' ( Arier ).

( Also posted on PoliGazette ).

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