Dutch supermarket denies anti-Semitism claim

Dutch supermarket chain dismisses claim of anti-Semitism as 'misunderstanding', after popular YouTube bloggers visit store with kippah.

Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA , | updated: 12:42

Albert Heijn supermarket
Albert Heijn supermarket

Bloggers published a video on YouTube Friday showing an employee of the Netherlands’ largest supermarket chain laughing as a man wearing a kippah walks by.

The Albert Heijn chain dismissed the footage Tuesday as a misunderstanding.

The bloggers, who run the Bondgenoten YouTube channel, filmed the reactions of passersby to one of them wearing a kippah. At the supermarket near a heavily Muslim part of Utrecht, a worker laughs as the blogger walks past them. A security guard asks, “What are you doing?” The employee replies: “Mocking.”

An Albert Heijn spokesperson wrote on Twitter than “the employees shared an internal joke” before the blogger walked in. “It’s a coincidence that the filmmakers misinterpreted. Very annoying,” the spokesperson added.

Elsewhere at the same shopping center, the bloggers filmed two men shouting “cancer Jew” at them, then denying shouting it and telling them to “get lost.” In the city center, a passerby told the blogger: “Dirty homo.”

Later, a spokesperson for Albert Heijn issued a statement to Arutz Sheva, emphasizing that the company would not tolerate anti-Semitism at any of its stores.

"To avoid any misunderstanding, we would like to emphasize that there is no room for discrimination or anti-Semitism at Albert Heijn," the statement read.

"Everyone is welcome to us and should feel welcome in our stores, regardless of background or religion. Obviously, we distance ourselves from any incorrect treatment of our customers. And of course, we have discussed this with local store management and our colleague."

In a recent survey on anti-Semitism among 16,395 European Jews in 12 countries, the Netherlands had the highest number of respondents — 11 percent — saying they always avoid wearing a kippah in public due to safety concerns. Less than a third of Dutch respondents said they never avoid wearing a kippah, with 22 percent saying they avoid doing so frequently.