Netherlands Bans ISIS Flag After Anti-Semitism Surge
In anticipation of an anti-Israel rally organized for Sunday in Amsterdam, the government of the Netherlands added the flag of the terrorist group Islamic State to its list of banned political hate paraphernalia. Flying the flag in the nation will be considered a crime.
The Irish Times reports that a police spokesman announced that individuals protesting Israel's Operation Protective Edge against the terrorist group Hamas will be prohibited from displaying the black flag of the jihadist group, which has made significant gains in conquering land in Syria and Iraq. “Nazi symbols, Hitler salutes and burning flags will not be tolerated," the spokesperson said in a statement. "The same applies to the ISIS flag. Demonstrators may not carry it.”
Supporters of the Islamic State has been particularly problematic in the Netherlands after an ostensibly "pro-Palestine" rally in The Hague prominently featured the group's distinctive black flag. The crowd displaying a number of Islamic State flags also reportedly chanted "Death to the Jews" and promoted jihad.
The Dutch residents of The Hague started a petition calling for their mayor, Jozias van Aartsen, to resign following the rally, as it was sanctioned by his government and he later insisted the group did not break any laws. The Irish Times clarifies that, upon reviewing video evidence, two individuals were indeed arrested for violating the nation's hate speech laws and inciting violence against an ethnic group.
The rise of the Islamic State's profile in the Netherlands has occurred in tandem with a rise in anti-Semitic hate speech and crimes in Western Europe generally. In the Netherlands, a woman was beaten in her home for publicly displaying an Israeli flag in her home, and incidents of public hate speech have increased in quantity. While Jewish people living throughout Europe have reported a rise in anti-Semitism, France and Germany are battling an especially violent wave of anti-Jewish sentiment.
The Netherlands appears especially concerned about the potential presence of Islamic State supporters at Sunday's Amsterdam rally because of the group's public overtures to Palestinians. While previously remaining relatively silent on the war between Israel and Hamas, Islamic State spokesmen released a statement this week promising that they would aid Palestinians in the fight against the Jewish state, describing Jews as "barbaric" and vowing to "continue striking down every apostate who stands as an obstacle on [the Islamic State's] paths towards Palestine." The Islamic State has made clear its intentions to expand beyond Syria and Iraq to establish a "global Caliphate" over lands in which large populations of Muslims live, including nations as distant as Spain and Indonesia.