The Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security on Sunday issued a proclamation saying that as of early 2021, a National Counter-anti-Semitism Coordinator (NCAB) will set to work to strengthen the country’s approach to discrimination, threats, and intimidation against the Jewish community.
“With social media, anti-Semitism is much more visible and the online reach is greater than we have seen in past,” Justice and Security Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus said on Sunday to representatives of the Jewish community, adding that “Corona and economic hardship are a breeding ground for conspiracy theories against the Jewish community.”
There is broad support in the Netherlands’ House of Representatives to appoint a National Anti-Semitism Coordinator for a specific period, and a proposal from the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the Christian Union (ChristenUnieO to this effect has been adopted. Minister Grapperhaus also directly supported this initiative.
The NCAB is tasked with advising the Minister of Justice and Security for one year on the criminal law approach to anti-Semitism and security and strengthening cooperation between parties that play a role in the fight against anti-Semitism. Because a better approach can affect many different policy areas, the NCAB, as an expert linking these parties is asked to make recommendations for a long-term approach.
According to Minister Grapperhaus, the intervention of a national coordinator is necessary to prevent the slowly emerging hatred of Jews from creeping back into mainstream society.
“It is slowly becoming mainstream,” Minister Grapperhaus told his Jewish audience. “We hear it on the street, in schools, and at work. The many-headed monster of anti-Semitism feels at home in many places. We must not leave this struggle to the Jewish community alone.”
“One reason for the discussion with the representatives of the Jewish community on Sunday was the celebration of Chanukah at this time of the year; the festival of light and hope,” the Justice Ministry’s announcement said. Grapperhaus who, in addition to being Minister of Justice and Security is also Minister of Religious Affairs, said: “In the spirit of Chanukah, I am hopeful. Fortunately, we see that where people cross the line, they are also called back. We see that the destruction of a Jewish restaurant is rebuked. We see everyone, non-Jews, too, reacting with horror to the security situation in schools and synagogues.”
Earlier in December, Home Affairs Minister Kasja Ollongren told MPs that the Netherlands is going to appoint a new “national coordinator for discrimination and racism.” In the Netherlands, discrimination and racism fall under several different ministries, making a more coordinated approach necessary, Ollongren said, adding, “There is discrimination in almost every part of society, including work, care, the housing market, education, sport, and in public places.”