Dutch arrest 2 for ‘anti-Semitic’ chants at rally

Protesters in The Hague allegedly call out ‘death to Jews’ during Gaza solidarity event

Illustrative photo of a rally in solidarity with the Palestinian people on July 26, 2014 (Justin Tallis/AFP)
Illustrative photo of a rally in solidarity with the Palestinian people on July 26, 2014 (Justin Tallis/AFP)

Dutch police have arrested two people for allegedly chanting “Death to the Jews” at a pro-Palestinian demonstration, the public prosecutor’s office said on Thursday.

“They are suspected of inciting violence against people of a specific belief or race,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement after the men, both 32, were arrested early Thursday.

The Hague mayor Jozias van Aartsen has been hit by a wave of criticism for failing to act against alleged anti-Semitism at two pro-Gaza demonstrations earlier this month amid Israel’s withering offensive on the enclave, launched to counter rocket attacks on Israeli cities and a vast network of cross-border tunnels used to launch attacks on Israeli soil.

The arrests came in connection with the second demonstration on July 24, during which some protesters carried black flags associated with Islamist militants, including the Islamic State that has proclaimed a “caliphate” encompassing parts of Syria and Iraq.

An Arabic-speaking policeman reportedly said at the time that “no lines were crossed,” while video footage emerged of people chanting “Death to the Jews” in Arabic.

“The prosecutor’s office and two interpreters watched images from the demonstration… the two interpreters independently translated words that would be punishable,” the prosecutor’s statement said.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre wrote to Van Aartsen earlier this week saying he may have contravened Dutch anti-terrorism legislation by allowing demonstrators to carry the jihadist flags.

The letter expressed “shock at your authorization, on two occasions, of demonstrations in the Hague… calling for ‘the death of Jews.””

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