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Dutch Authorities Turn Other Cheek To Anti-Semitic Slurs Print E-mail

By Cnaan Liphshiz
March 3, 2009

Dutch soccer fans who last week called Rotterdam's mayor "a dirty Jew" and urged him to "go to the gas chambers" must be prosecuted, a Jewish group has told the city. But Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, a practicing Muslim of Moroccan descent, disagrees.

The dozens of soccer fans shouted the anti-Semitic slurs during a demonstration in Rotterdam last Saturday, in which they protested a ban on fan attendance at games between the city's Feyenoord team and Amsterdam's Ajax.

"We fear that not prosecuting serves as a carte blanche for others elsewhere in Holland to shout offensive slogans against Jews," the head of the Hague-based pro-Zionist CIDI organization, Dr. Ronny Naftaniel, wrote to Rotterdam Public Prosecutor Henk Korvinus.

Aboutaleb and his Amsterdam counterpart, Job Cohen, who is Jewish, imposed the five-year ban on fan attendance last week following violent clashes between fans that also featured anti-Semitic tones. Amsterdam is perceived as a heavily-Jewish city, and Ajax supporters are often dubbed "Jews" by jeering Feyenoord fans.

"I have thick skin," Aboutaleb, a former Amsterdam resident and Ajax fan, told the Dutch newspaper AD. "If insults are the worst of it, then I can live with that," he said, adding he did not intend to press charges.

"For CIDI, the issue goes beyond the personal element," Naftaniel said. "Jews were referred to in the most derogatory terms possible, and in a way deeply seated in hate."

Calls to "put Jews in the gas" have become increasingly common in the Netherlands, especially at anti-Israel demonstrations during and following Israel's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

The Feyenoord demonstration was recorded on police cameras, but Dutch police are saying it is impossible to determine who shouted the offensive calls.

On Wednesday, Rotterdam police detained a 21-year-old Feyenoord fan suspected of threatening to physically harm Aboutaleb because of the ban.
 
 

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