The Jewish restaurant, HaCarmel in Amsterdam, which had its windows smashed by a man holding a Palestinian flag and shouting “Allah Akbar” last month has been repeatedly targeted since it made international headlines.
The owner of the restaurant, Daniel Bar-on, found the latest attack on Sunday when he opened his shop. Eggs and mayonnaise smeared across his windows.
He has decided to leave the mess on the windows, apparently after repeated smearings.
“I do not clean it any more, it does not matter, it’s hopeless, I’ll be back tomorrow, and I’ll have to clean it again,” he says.
The attacks against the restaurant have become almost daily occurrences, with some people spitting at the windows as they walk past. He also receives anonymous phone calls with people saying “Free Palestine” or “Allah Akbar”.
“I just throw the phone down again and again,” he said.
Despite the constant attacks, Bar-on is no longer reporting the incidents to police. “That’s a waste of time,” he said. “I’ll be at the police station for a few hours, but I do not have time for that.”
Last month, many were stunned to see the video of Syrian asylum seeker Saleh Ali carrying out his attack on the Jewish restaurant. Two police officers were present as Ali smashed the windows of the store, entered the shop and took an Israeli flag. The officers wrestled him to the ground and arrested him after he exited the store moments later.
While the incident itself was alarming, what may have shocked the Jewish community more was the response from Dutch officials who refused to call the incident anti-Semitic or a hate crime.
Despite the clear crime committed, the video evidence and the fact it was witnessed by two police officers, Saleh Ali was released just two days later.
In contrast, a Dutch Jew, Michael Jacobs, was arrested and held for a week simply for standing next to anti-Israel protesters wearing an Israeli flag. He committed no crime and yet was punished far more severely.
The attacks on the restaurant, and their increasing frequency, show that the lack of action by local authorities to tackle the issue are empowering those committing the crimes to be at liberty to continue. And the lack of action is leaving the shop keeper feeling helpless and clearly despondent, with no one to turn to for help.
After the first attack politicians and local community leaders came to the restaurant to show their solidarity against hatred. However, while words have been spoken, and political gestures made, nothing further has been done to protect the victims.