A lack of knowledge and of literally not knowing each other is the basis of misunderstanding and enmity.
In recent years, Antisemitism has made a startling comeback. Conspiracy theories about Jewish sponsored mass migration and pedophile networks have large segments of society under their spell. Spiritual gurus advise their supporters to read the Protocols of Zion. Antisemitism hate-crimes lead all statistics on racist violence.
At the same time, a strong intersectional social justice movement has emerged that connects all forms of oppression. Marginalized groups stand up for each other, but Jews suffer from the conflation between Jewish identity and the Israeli state, finding it difficult to identify a place within the social justice movement. Jews are seen as white and privileged and barely as a marginalized minority.
At intersectional Holocaust commemorations, Jews are often deliberately omitted, as if trauma Jews experience – with state apologies and reparations – no longer matters. Statistics about Antisemitism are brushed aside or excused with a “But what you are doing in Israel…”or a “Yes, but all forms of discrimination are equally bad.” Knowledge about the specific and shapeshifting nature of Jew-hatred is lacking and Jewish communities often turn inwards, rather not making a fuss.
If Jelle has learned one thing from his work as a dialogue facilitator around Antisemitism, it is that a lack of knowledge and of literally not knowing each other is the basis of misunderstanding and enmity. Unknown makes unloved. He has noticed that there is a huge gap in the Netherlands when it comes to knowledge about Antisemitism and its numerous and dangerous manifestations. This leaves Jews in a precarious position where it is hard for them to find allies in the fight against anti-Jewish racism and prejudice.
With this project Jelle wants to contribute to two components:
Increase knowledge about anti-Semitism.
He wants to increase knowledge about Antisemitism and why and how it differs from other forms of racism and discrimination, specifically within the social justice movement in the Netherlands. He aims to accomplish this through online content – such as explainers and Instagram live sessions – and offline through lectures and panels.
Pave the way for improved ally-ship and solidarity.
Jelle sees the writing of a Jewish manifest as a critical piece to explain the position of Jews in Dutch society and the various ways in which they encounter Antisemitism. The Jewish Manifesto, and the content and programming around it, will expose a broad audience of Dutch activists, change-makers, and leaders to Antisemitism and its consequences. This will contribute to a better understanding of the position of Jews in the Netherlands and hopefully will pave the way for improved allyship and solidarity.
Exchange of knowledge and experiences.
Jelle wants to increase solidarity between different marginalized groups by facilitating meetings (both public and behind closed doors) and exchange of knowledge and experiences that help us grow as allies and as a Dutch social justice movement.
Updated February 2022.
Jelle on Antisemitism in the Netherlands for Het Parool
Landecker Fellow Jelle Zijlstra's op-ed on Antisemitism in the Netherlands was published by Het Parool, a major Dutch newspaper.
Jelle on Antisemitism for NU.nl
Landecker Fellow Jelle Zijlstra was interviewed by NU.nl, one of the biggest news platforms in the Netherlands.
Jelle to discuss the Jewish Manifesto and more
On March 17, 2022, Landecker Fellow Jelle Zijlstra is discussing his Action Project: the Jewish Manifesto. The event is part of this year's Festival Together against Racism.
Oy Vey Acts' website updates
Oy Vey Acts is a grassroots Jewish movement located in the Netherlands. Recently, its website has received an update with new texts focused on who Oy Vey Acts is and what are their goals.
Jelle Zijlstra interviewed by AT5 on 'covid-critical' protest
Landecker Fellow Jelle Zijlstra was recently interviewed by Amstel Television 5 (AT5) during his participation in a counter demo against the presence of extreme right and neo-Nazi groups in 'covid-critical' protest.