update deskAntisemitism

Amsterdam conference to focus on rising Jew-hatred in Europe

The European Jewish Association event comes to "prioritize protecting and respecting Jewish life front and center."

A door of Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Credit: Shutterstock.
A door of Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Credit: Shutterstock.

European Jewish leaders will converge on Amsterdam next week for an “emergency summit” addressing growing antisemitism on the continent and beyond.

The European Jewish Association’s annual conference will take place June 3-4 under the banner “Shaping Together the Future of European Jewry.”

The event, organized in collaboration with the Israeli Ministry of Diaspora and Combating Antisemitism, comes on the backdrop of tensions between Jerusalem and several European governments due to the conflict in Gaza and after Ireland, Norway and Spain announced they would recognize a Palestinian state.

Based in Brussels, the EJA works to strengthen Jewish identity, expand Jewish activities in Europe and defend Jewish interests, including by creating political initiatives against the BDS movement and by representing Jews in European conversations affecting minorities.

EJA chairman Menachem Margolin will deliver opening remarks on “The Antisemitism Emergency.”

One panel discussion will focus on policies and solutions to strengthen European governments’ response to antisemitism; another will center on their responsibilities to ensure the safety of Jewish communities and institutions and the steps needed to build resilience. Yet another panel will outline practical self-defense techniques, including Krav Maga. 

Amid the rise of Jew-hatred on European university campuses, a session will be dedicated to providing solutions to Jewish and Zionist students.

Last month, police arrested 150 members of a pro-Hamas encampment at the University of Amsterdam who had called for the destruction of Israel, using genocidal chants such as “There is only one solution: intifada revolution” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

The university subsequently came under fire from lawmakers for releasing a list of Israeli research partners in an attempt to appease rioters.

Conference participants will visit Amsterdam’s Portuguese Synagogue, the National Holocaust Museum and the Hollandsche Schouwburg (English: “Hollandic Theater”) museum, which was used as a deportation center during the Holocaust.

They will also tour the Anne Frank House, a museum dedicated to the young diarist who hid in Amsterdam with her family and eventually perished in the Holocaust.

‘We gather to show strength in numbers’

The EJA selected the Dutch capital as the venue for the conference “in response to the mounting challenges confronting Jewry, characterized by significant upticks in antisemitism and vitriolic anti-Zionism.”

After Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre, “the numbers simply exploded to levels last seen in Nazi Germany in 1939,” said the organization, adding that the situation in the Netherlands was “terrible.”

“We gather to show strength in numbers and prioritize protecting and respecting Jewish life front and center,” the EJA said.

In April, the Israeli embassy in the Netherlands said it would file a formal complaint with authorities after a security officer at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport mistreated two Israelis, including a woman who was held hostage by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

The tone in the country may change as the incoming government coalition is set to include Geert Wilders’s Party for Freedom; the center-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy and New Social Contract parties; and the Farmer–Citizen Movement, a group that was founded in 2019 to protest climate policies.

Wilders won a clear victory in the Netherlands’ Nov. 22 general election, securing 37 out of 150 parliament seats and paving the way for the most pro-Israel coalition in the European nation’s history.

The coalition has agreed to study the possibility of moving the Dutch embassy in Israel to Jerusalem “at an appropriate time,” according to a draft agreement between lawmakers of the four prospective governing parties.

The 26-page agreement also calls for Holocaust education to be included in the Dutch naturalization test and tougher policing of “discrimination, racism, antisemitism and hatred against Muslims.”

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