Major Dutch Political and Religious Figures Vow to Fight Antisemitism in Famous Parliament Venue Where Nazi Decree in 1940 Took Place

June 27, 2019

A very special event marking Jewish life in the Netherlands took place on Tuesday 25th June in the prestigious Ridderzaal (Hall of the Knights) in the Dutch parliament, The Hague. The Hall is usually only used for state Royal and very special other events.
The Ridderzaal also has a more chequered past. The last time it was used outside of state events was in 1940 when the Reichscommisssar Seyss-Inquart held his inauguration speech.
75 years later the Jewish community was well represented by both the Israeli Ambassador Aviv Shir-On and a few very distinguished Rabbis, along with many Christian religious and political leaders who spoke on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people.
State Secretary Paul Blokhuis, the Minister responsible for commemoration:
“We do not accept anti-Semitism in this country. That is the constitution.
Personally: as a Christian and a pastor's son, my parents helped people go into hiding. Our democracy can only function if we draw a line where discrimination and anti-Semitism arise. World War II and the Holocaust are also our history.
Rabbi Shmuel Katzman, the rabbi of The Hague, elaborated on the rich Jewish history of The Hague, the political capital of The Netherlands.
Jack van der Tang, a Christian advocate and friend of the Jewish people who organised the event said:
“Of the 140,000 Jews in the Netherlands, 102,000 were killed. We want to recognize the crimes, and write history. There are still echoes from the Ridderzaal in 1940, we must ensure that that it may never happen again”.
Aviv Shir-On, Ambassador of Israel to the Netherlands added:
“I am thankful that the Netherlands says about anti-Semitism: not here! And if everyone says so, we will eradicate it”.
Chief Rabbi Jacobs (Netherlands) gave his take:
“Is it realistic to talk about emerging anti-Semitism? It is not new after all.
 We used to have the wrong belief. In the Middle Ages we were a virus. And for that we had to be eliminated. My parents were the wrong breed. And we, the Jews of today, are all Zionists.
In 1945 my father returned home. The neighbors were not happy. It took a few weeks to get permission to go back to his own house. His windows were smashed. Like my windows were smashed a few years ago.
Minister van Schaik (just after the war) gave compliments and thanked the conductors of the Dutch railways to continue driving trains to the camps, and thus protect the Dutch economy. He said this just a few months after the liberation.
We must not exaggerate about anti-Semitism. But we must be vigilant for the danger. Anti-Semitism is increasing.
Thank God, the government protects us. I am grateful for that. But it is bizarre and unacceptable that this protection is needed. The generation of survivors is slowly disappearing.
I will tell you a small story: In deep darkness there are small candles that spread light. In the concentration camp of Westerbork, life was more or less normal: there was a hospital, a theatre and a school. A little boy stood in front of the open door of the classroom. He sang a song: “How happy we are that we are Jewish”. The teacher heard him. She picked him up and started dancing with all the children. So that little boy; in the gate to the hell of Auschwitz, on the way to the chimneys of the crematoria, brought light into the darkness.
That boy is here today…”
Rabbi Itzhak Vorst continued:
“Yes I was there. I was for eight months in Westerbork and afterwards in Bergen-Belsen. There was hardly any food in Bergen Belsen, my mother gave everything to us, so that there might be a new Jewish generation.
It is hard for me to go back.
 I saw the agents of the Marechaussee again in Westerbork. My memories came back to the camp agents. The fact that security is needed today is worrying.
We want to live. Tomorrow I will attend the wedding of my granddaughter, here in the Hague. Then I will sing my song again. “
Gert Jan Segers, the leader of the ChistenUnie in Parliament concluded:
“Israel is the last safe haven for Jews in the world. I am proud to stand here for a Holocaust survivor and for the Jewish community. I wonder why it exists; anti-Semitism. This was this place where the killing of Jews began.
There are historical reasons for fighting anti-Semitism. The signals are coming up again. There is only one correct response: get up and speak. Don't shut up.
There are also selfish reasons: if we are unable to protect our Jewish community, then we are lost as a country and society. I don't want that, so I'll fight.
 Is there a rational explanation why people hate Jews? We have dark pages in the history of the church and society. There is no rational explanation. I can only think: hatred of the Jews is hatred of the God of the Jews.
 So it is not just a fight against flesh and blood. It is a spiritual battle. That can be difficult.
 “Let this be the place where the blessing of Israel begins.”
 

Additional Articles

It was a Boiling Hot Sauna! - Chief Rabbi Jacobs

It was a boiling hot sauna!
This week we are in the days of Selichot, days of preparation for the Jamiem Noraim, the Days of awe, preceding the festival of the Jewish New Year.
Awe is of great importance, because if there is a lack of 'awe', a society just goes in the wrong direction. This thought came to my mind when I was present in Westerbork, former Dutch deportationcamp to welcome the cyclists who had participated in “Back to Westerbork”. Tears welled up in my eyes. All young people who had made the journey from Auschwitz to Westerbork, én route had visited the various concentration camps, other places of horror and were now back in Westerbork. Awe! Lack of awe can lead to anarchy. But submitting to a wrong authority can lead to what happened in WWII. Eighty percent of my family ended up in the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Sobibor via Westerbork! And now some 70 young people were cycling there, giving a stern warning about the dangers of submission to a wrong authority. Young people from Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. To my right a German Minister, to my left the ambassador of Poland and the King's Commissioner in the province of Drenthe was also emphatically present, Mrs Jetta Klijnsma. What a powerful woman! I was delighted and grateful that my speech and the sounds of the shofar were clearly heard and penetrated. As I sit here typing, I feel a lump in my throat. I would like to embrace all those cyclists with gratitude for their great performance and especially for the hard demonstration. Yes, every morning in these days before the Awe-inspiring days of Jewish New Year I get up earlier to say extra prayers, but this gathering was all encouragement and awe-inspiring. A hot shower! I also felt that warm shower this morning in Ede where a meeting was organized by a group of faithful Christians.
In October 2020, representatives of various denominations at the Israeli embassy in The Hague had pleaded guilty for the churches' negligence towards Jews before, during and after World War II. Now that antisemitism is unfortunately on the rise again, the right question has arisen as to what attitude the churches will adopt at the beginning of the 21st century. Therefore, representatives of churches organized an appeal meeting to speak on this subject. Speakers included Israel's ambassador, Z.E.N. Gilon and my person. It was clear that those present are pro-Israel. But it also became clear, and I myself have expressed this very emphatically, that the love for Israel is diminishing among the church youth. This concerns me, a concern shared by those in attendance. And yet the symposium was a hot shower, so hot shower number two. I experienced the third shower on Urk, a former island, which is know for its love and support for Israel. In the Town Hall, the ambassador of Israel, two representatives of Christians for Israel and the undersigned, were received by the mayor and his aldermen. Why were we at the Town Hall? From 14:00 to 22:00 there was a magnificent afternoon and evening for 'The entrepreneurship platform of Christians for Israel' on Urk.  Of course the ambassador was present again, whom I met there for the third time that day. In the afternoon, the 180 attendees were split in two. Group one was given a tour of the fishing company DaySeaDay and group two was shown around the alleys of Urk. More than €140,000 was raised that evening for the construction of a youth center in Jerusalem. What warmth, what friendship, what enthusiasm and what a honor and how unique that I, as Chief Rabbi, could be a part of such a gathering. Music, a Zoom connection with Israel, a dinner (for Blouma and for me kosher of course) and inspiring speeches. But if you expect me to call this evening the third hot shower, you are wrong! It was not a hot shower, but a boiling hot sauna!


During the corona time, Chief Rabbi Jacobs keeps a diary for the Jewish Cultural
Quarter. NIW publishes these special documents on https://niw.nl/category/dagboek/

European Commission partners with IHRA

Today, the European Commission is becoming a permanent international partner to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The participation of the EU in this international body will allow closer cooperation on combating Holocaust denial and preventing racism, xenophobia and antisemitism.
This is a direct follow-up to President Juncker’s call for closer international cooperation in his statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day, this 27 January, as well as the European Parliament’s resolution on combating Antisemitism of June 2017.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “With a decreasing number of Holocaust survivors and at a time when Antisemitism is on the rise, we need to foster the memory of the darkest chapter in our history. The EU joining the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance will help promote understanding so that future generations will heed the lessons of our past.”
Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourová added: “This commitment is part of our wider effort to fight against Antisemitism. Our involvement in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance has special importance at a time when Holocaust denial is spreading.”
Today, at the plenary meeting of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the EU Coordinator on Combatting Antisemitism will officially accept the role. As a result, the Commission will represent the EU in this body, which provides expertise on Holocaust denial, distortion or Antisemitism.
It will give the Commission access to the expertise of International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Working Groups on education, particularly on key challenges like multi-cultural and multi-religious classrooms and inclusive remembrance. More information on the Commission’s work on combatting Antisemitism can be found online here.

COVID Diary- Reflections from Our Advisory Board Member Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (NL) writes a diary, on request of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam, which is published on the website of the NIW, the only Jewish Dutch Magazine. Rabbi Jacobs is the head of Inter Governmental Relationships at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. We will be regularly publishing a selection of his informative, sometimes light hearted, but always wise pieces.
For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl
 
Vaccine loses to the Minister
 
Today my eyes fell on Michel Waterman's column in the NIW in which he writes: “I have to hand in my column today and I don't have a subject yet. I can tell you that my admiration for columnists who produce on a daily basis has greatly increased.”
After reading this I flattered myself wondering if that compliment was meant for me. And so the question arose in my mind: Am I a rabbi or a columnist? But then I also thought back to that psychotherapist who saw my diary as a therapy. After some thinking I came to the conclusion that my diary is a combination of 1: rabbi 2: columnist 3: therapy.
 
And so Waterman's compliment was not addressed to me. A pity, because every now and then I do need a pat on the back (with the elbow of course, because of corona!), Especially when I'm under fire again.
 
A somewhat out-of-context headline made a few front pages, after which people responded. That was great because it means I don't write for deaf ears - my message gets through.
 
What almost bothered me was that a (foreign) colleague, who apparently has little else to do than follow my diary, got in touch with a non-Jewish journalist to protest against the (admittedly clumsy) headline.
 
It went through my mind to send him a WhatsApp with my phone number. Then at the next opportunity he can first make a phone call before turning a molehill into a mountain. But I did not send that WhatsApp and I am not going to send it. Reason?
I Learned from the conversation between Avraham and Lot about which was read last Shabbath in all the synagogues of the world: “A strife arose between the herdsmen of the flocks of Awram and the herders of the flocks of Lot.... Then Awram said to Lot, Let there be
 
no strife between me and you, and between my shepherds and your shepherds.... if it is to the left, I will go to the right, if it is to the right, then I will go to the left (Bereshis/ Genesis 13: 7-9).
 
Why, we may ask, did Abraham leave the choice to Lot? The area, later Israel, was nevertheless the property of Avraham. G-d had promised him this piece of land. He could have shown Lot that he had the best papers!? If we take a grammatical look at the Hebrew
 
text, we see that the Hebrew word for contention is the first time in the masculine form and the second time in the feminine form. Quarrels arise most quickly between people who spend a lot of time together. So,the most appropriate place for disputes is marriage! How do we handle this? Should the man try to be right? Should the woman stand firm?
 
The best way to deal with (marital) differences of opinion is: accept! And that is why the word twist is once in the feminine inflection and once in the masculine. Avraham understood that he could have been right with Lot, but also realized that it is better to just let the adversary, Lot in this case, have his way.
 
And so I will not approach my old colleague on this and when we meet again, just pretend my nose is bleeding! Therapeutically (3) I have written it off with this one, I have made a column (2) of it and, most importantly, I have learned (1) from our patriarch Abraham!
 
So, what we notice is that people are often unable to see and / or think outside their own limited cocoon. Such a thing is called egotosm, a consequence of the idol ‘I’.
 
And that problem is unfortunately frequently encountered in our society and can be very harmful.
 
Dr. Marcel Levi, medical director of ten London hospitals and the son of my former president of the Sinai Center, believes the corona vaccine should be administered now. But the British Minister does not want that yet because perhaps one in 50,000 could suffer from an adverse reaction because the vaccine has not yet been 100% tested. Levi explained to the Minister that even if one in 50,000 gets an unwanted side effect, it is still worth using the vaccine now as it can prevent hundreds from becoming infected with corona and a general lockdown of society. severely dislocated.
 
The Minister responded to this, according to the newspaper that Dr. Levi quoted that if hundreds die from corona, he, the Minister, will hardly be blamed. But if even one person falls victim to the vaccine he has approved, he will be inundated with criticism. The British Minister is thus also a follower of the idol ‘I’, like my colleague, except that the behaviour of the Minister, G-d forbid, causes people to die, but the behaviour of my colleague has a positive result: a topic for my day!
 
 

בעקבות המאבק באנטישמיות: מועדון הכדורגל צ'לסי זכה באות "המלך דוד"

לארון הגביעים של מועדון הכדורגל של צ'לסי נוסף אתמול (שלישי) אות ייחודי שהוצב כבר הלילה בגאווה בין הגביעים על הישגי הקבוצה על כר הדשא.

היוזמה ארוכת הטווח מהווה חלק מעבודה מתמשכת של המועדון, באמצעות קמפיין Building Bridges של קרן צ'לסי.
יו"ר איגוד הארגונים היהודיות באירופה (EJA), הרב מנחם מרגולין, מציין: "ספורט מוציא את הטוב ביותר מאנשים, אך למרבה הצער הוא יכול גם להוציא את הגרוע ביותר. כמה מהדוגמאות הרעות ביותר של אנטישמיות מתבטאות לעתים קרובות ביציעי האצטדיונים השונים ברחבי העולם. צ'לסי לא היתה, כמובן, חריגה ממקרים אלו. אלא שבניגוד לאחרים, הם החליטו לעשות משהו בנידון".
הרב מרגולין הדגיש כי "זה באמת מעורר השראה לראות לא רק את ההשקעה המשמעותית שנעשתה במאמץ הזה, אלא גם את המחוייבות האמיתית של צ'לסי להקשיב, לפעול ולעשות שינוי. מלמטה, מהיסוד, מחדר ההלבשה, יציע האוהדים ועד לאתר האינטרנט והרשתות החברתיות של המועדון אליהם נחשפים מיליוני אנשים. מועדון הכדורגל צ'לסי הוביל את הדרך. הם דוגמה ומופת לא רק עבור מועדוני כדורגל אחרים, אלא עבור כולם.
להעניק את הפרס הזה, בשם הארגונים היהודיים והקהילות הרבות שאנחנו מייצגים ברחבי אירופה, הוא המעט שאנו יכולים לעשות כדי להכיר בתנועה הזו לשינוי. הכוח הזה מעניק תקווה ליהודים מכל העולם שהלקחים שלמדנו מהשואה לעולם לא ישכחו, והאנטישמיות תגונה בכל מקום בו היא באה לידי ביטוי. בשם כל החברים והקהילות שלנו, אנו מוקירים ומודים לכל השותפים במועדון הכדורגל צ'לסי- הבעלים מר אברמוביץ', היו"ר, הדירקטורים, הצוות והשחקנים על שהפכו את המאבק באנטישמיות למובן מאליו בדרך חד משמעית וחסרת הפחד".

חבר חדש לארון הגביעים של צ'לסי (במרכז התמונה), צילום: דינה ארליך,

ברוס באק, יו"ר מועדון הכדורגל צ'לסי, שקיבל את הפרס מטעם המועדון אמר: "אנחנו גאים להיות הזוכים בפרס המלך דוד של איגוד הארגונים היהודיים באירופה (EJA). מאז שבעל המועדון שלנו, רומן אברמוביץ', יזם את קמפיין Say No To Antisemitism בינואר 2018, אנו מחויבים לעבוד עם ארגונים יהודיים ברמה לאומית ובינלאומית כדי לסייע בסילוק האנטישמיות מהחברה. נמשיך לרתום את מגוון הפלטפורמות הגלובליות שלנו בצ'לסי כדי להגיד לא לאנטישמיות ולהיאבק בכל שאר צורות האפליה".

מר עבדאללה שאטילה, איש העסקים הלבנוני שעלה לכותרות ברחבי העולם כשנענה לקריאת הרב מרגולין נגד סחר בפריטי מורשת נאציים ורכש מזכרות נאציות שנמכרו במכירות פומביות בגרמניה בשווי 600,000 אירו ותרם אותן ליד ושם - ומאז תמך ביוזמות רבות למאבק באנטישמיות, חתן פרס המלך דוד של EJA לשנת 2020, ציין בטקס המרגש על כר הדשא כי: "אנטישמיות מכוונת אמנם ליהודים אך מדביקה את החברה כולה. לבורות, שנאה ושנאת זרים אין מקום בעולם שבו הגבולות נעשים יותר ויותר חסרי משמעות, שבו הערכים הם אוניברסליים ושבו יש להוקיר זהויות שונות.
אני גאה להיות כאן הערב בצ'לסי, להיות חוליה מתמשכת בשרשרת המחויבים למאבק באנטישמיות. למועדון הכדורגל של צ'לסי יש קהל אוהדים עצום. הם יכלו כמובן לבחור במסלול הקל, אך הם החליטו באופן מעורר השראה להתמודד עם הנושא חזיתית".
https://www.israelhayom.co.il/sport/world-soccer/article/5873477

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