Dutch urge swift fine for Holocaust denial

By Toby Axelrod, February 10, 2011

Punish Holocaust-deniers in the same way that we punish drink-drivers - haul them into court and fine them.

That is one of several novel suggestions made by two Dutch political parties, the Christian Union and the Reformed Political Party, in response to rising antisemitism in the country.

The parties also suggested the use of "Jewish decoys" - an idea floated by the Mayor of Amsterdam last year - to lure perpetrators, and immediate fines for antisemitic harassment.

Elise Friedmann, head of antisemitism research at the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel in The Hague, said that when antisemites are caught in the act, police should treat them as if they were bicycle thieves.

Such a response might encourage more people to report such crimes and discourage criminals, who are usually young and have no money, said Ms Friedmann.

The call for faster punishments was spurred by a debate in the Dutch parliament last week on antisemitic crimes.

A recent survey showed that reported antisemitic incidents rose 48 per cent in 2009, to 209. While some blame the increase on Holland's large Muslim population, Ms Friedmann says it is not so simple. "There is also middle-of-the-road antisemitism," she said.

Last updated: 12:28pm, February 10 2011