Dutch Media and Anti-Semitism

Dutch media may be playing a significant role in the rise of anti-Semitic incidents in Holland, say the heads of two watchdog organizations.

Hana Levi Julian , | updated: 12:40 PM

In the shadow of anti-Semitism
In the shadow of anti-Semitism
Israel News photo (Flash 90)

Dutch media may be playing a significant role in the rise of anti-Semitic incidents in Holland over the past year. So say the heads of two watchdog organizations, the Israel Facts Group and the WAAR Foundation of the Netherlands.

The number of anti-Jewish attacks and other incidents in the Netherlands skyrocketed last year, according to a recent report released by the Israel Information and Documentation Center (CIDI). Many of the attacks are related to Israel’s counter terrorism operation in Gaza that took place between December 2008 and January 2009.

Almost simultaneously, CIDI researcher Wim Kortenoeven published the findings of his study on the way Dutch media are reporting on the Middle East conflict, and how those reports are influencing public opinion on the issue. Kortenoeven found that Dutch media are no longer neutral in their reporting, but instead have become “the third party in the Mid East conflict.”

Taken together, the two reports reflect the Catch-22 that is created by media coverage of controversial events, observed Yochanan Visser, a columnist for several Dutch newspapers and CEO of the Israel Facts Group. He and Marijke Slager, chair of the WAAR Foundation of the Netherlands, expressed deep concern over the rising tide of anti-Semitism in the media.

“The general public in the Netherlands gets its information about Israel from the mainstream media,” Visser explained. “The spike in anti-Semitic incidents as reported by CIDI appears to be the result of what Dutch people thought had happened before and during the Gaza war.”

Omitting and Distorting Facts
One example cited was the NOS news show, “considered reliable by 81 percent of the Dutch public.” Visser’s group documented it as omitting and distorting facts in its news reports on Israel.

On December 28, 2009, the program reported on the one-year anniversary of the start of Operation Cast Lead, using a Palestinian Authority Arab cameraman. The cameraman returned to the United Nations school building in Jabaliyah where, according to NOS reporter Sander van Hoorn, Israel had “bombed the school with white phosphorous.” However, Israel did not bomb the school at all, not with white phosophorous or with anything else – a fact that the United Nations itself confirmed a year ago.

Slager cited similar examples of other media outlet distortions as well. “In its reporting on Israel, [the respectable newspaper] NRC published many unsubstantiated reports about supposed Israeli misbehavior and cruelty," Slager observed. "Palestinian incitement and violence was almost completely ignored. Even the right of reply to the biased reports was subsequently denied by the editors of NRC."

Another example was an article published by the popular De Telegraaf newspaper, which featured a photo of Israeli schoolchildren in Tel Aviv wearing police and army costumes at a Purim party. The article stated that this was the way Israeli children were brainwashed into war mongering.  (Click here for one of many Palestinian children's broadcasts INN has reported that call blatantly for war against Israel and hatred of Zionists.)

Wake-Up Call in Holland
“Although the situation in the Netherlands (Holland) is not as alarming as it is in Sweden, where an exodus of Jews was reported recently in Malmo, the writing is on the wall,” Visser added. “The arrest of a Dutch youth last month who declared before a camera that ‘Jews must be killed’ should be a wakeup call to the ‘newsmakers’ in the Netherlands.”