Anti-Semitism is a troubling phenomenon in many Dutch schools and especially among Muslim students, a new government-commissioned report has found, JTA reports.
The 55-page report, entitled "Two Worlds, Two Realities - How Do You Deal with It as a Teacher" was published last week by Dutch-Jewish journalist Margalith Kleijwegt at the Dutch Ministry of Education's request.
The report is based on Kleijwegt's visits to schools across the country as well as interviews with countless teachers since last January.
It found that many teachers feel ineffectual when seeking to alter the deep-seated prejudices and/or violent outlooks of their students, particularly against Jews.
One female high-school teacher in Amsterdam recounted to Kleijwegt an incident in which a female student of Moroccan descent stood up and pronounced: “If I had a Kalashnikov [assault rifle], I’d gun down all the Jews.”
“I wasn’t getting there,” the teacher is quoted in the report as saying. “I asked her to imagine a 5-year-old Jewish girl who lives here. What would she have to do with Israel’s policies? Unfortunately, there was no place for empathy. The pupil didn’t care about that girl. She had only one message: The Jews should die."
Ruminating on her findings, Kleijwegt wrote in the report, "Anti-Semitic behavior is a recurrent problem in some schools. Some see it as a provocation [by pupils], others fear it goes deeper: That pupils receive anti-Jewish attitudes at home."
In his response, Dutch Education Minister Jet Bussemaker wrote that the report "shows a reality that is inconvenient and sometimes painful" but one that must be challenged and dealt with "in accordance to democratic values."