US/World News

In the Netherlands, chants about killing Jews

(JTA) – A Jewish umbrella group has filed a police complaint over demonstrators in Rotterdam shouting in Arabic about killing Jews. The complaint was for racist incitement to violence. Earlier this year, a Belgian court convicted a Palestinian who shouted the same words in 2014 in Antwerp. The Dutch Central Jewish Board said in a statement Wednesday, August 30, that the July 22 incident occurred at a rally advertised by a newly formed organization called the Palestinian Community in the Netherlands, or PGNL. The Rotterdam branch of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which also advertised the event on its Facebook page, was the real organizer of the rally, according to the statement. A day earlier, BDS Rotterdam shared a call on Facebook to attend the rally by Amin Abou Rashed, a senior operative of the Al Aqsa Foundation, which the Dutch secret service and judiciary in 2003 flagged as a Hamas front and banned.

Participants in the rally shouted in Arabic, “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning,” the statement said. The cry relates to an event in the seventh century when Muslims massacred and expelled Jews from the town of Khaybar, located in modern-day Saudi Arabia.

The Central Jewish Board wrote in its statement that the incident in Rotterdam underlines the need to formally apply in the Netherlands a definition of antisemitism that includes demonization of Israel – a move undertaken since last year by the United Kingdom, Austria, Romania, the European Parliament and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, or IHRA. Last week, Justice Minister Stef Blok said, “currently the cabinet sees no added value in the adoption of a legally binding international definition because definitions have varying applications in different justice systems.” The European Union’s agency for combating hate crimes in 2013 dropped its former working definition of antisemitism, which was similar to the one adopted by IHRA, amid pressure by Pro-Palestinian activists.

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