Thursday, December 31, 2015

Anti-Israel hate-mongering in the Netherlands - Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

by Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

An in depth report of one European country's surge in anti-Semitism. One can extrapolate.

Nowadays the Netherlands is proving an abundant source for anti-Semitism and anti-Israel hate mongering. We will limit ourselves here to several recent events and incidents concerning Israel. These occurred against the backdrop of an opinion poll which found that 38% of the Dutch population believe that Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians.[1] This and other radical lies concerning Israel reflect the result of the widespread anti-Israel incitement in the Netherlands by left of center parties, numerous media outlets, various NGOs, some Christian groups and many others.

In October Youness Ouaali, a Turkish-Dutch representative of a Salafi charity World Wide Relief,[2] suggested on his website that visiting Israeli tourists should be beaten up. Pauw, a leading Dutch talk shows invited him to explain his thoughts.[3] A few days later the same talk show invited Constant Kusters, the leader of the NVU, a tiny extreme right-wing party. Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher, a Labor party member, said in Parliament, “I was shocked to see a neo-Nazi representing concerned citizens on television.” [4] No such response was forthcoming from Asscher with regard to the incitement to beat up Israelis.

One of the two annual Kristallnacht memorial meetings has become a regular event for incitement against Israel. It is organized by a group that hides its real views behind the innocuous-sounding name of “Platform for anti-Racism.” This year it invited the anti-Israel Arab MK Haneen Zoabi to speak.[5] The meeting took place next to the Amsterdam monument for the Jewish Resistance during the Holocaust, and prompted a petition asking the Amsterdam Mayor and aldermen to no longer give permission to the monument’s desecration through such anti-Israel gatherings.[6]

In 2015 a number of schoolbooks were published in The Netherlands containing distortions of Israel’s history and activities. These schoolbooks create bias against Israel among pupils by means of bogus information. In May Noordhoff Uitgevers released a history book for vocational high schools, which puts forward the suggestive claim that David Ben Gurion declared Israeli statehood only after “Jewish militias carried out murders in Arab villages, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled and settled in refugee camps across the border.” The book makes no mention of any of the many documented Arab atrocities toward Israelis, both over many years prior to Israel’s inception, and during the war of Independence itself. [7]

Several months later, another Dutch publisher, Thieme Meulenhoff, released a high school textbook on the Middle East, which claimed that the Balfour Declaration, promising a homeland in British Mandatory Palestine for the Jews, was an attempt to woo Jewish bankers to invest in British war efforts.[8]

The same firm also published a geography textbook. Likoed Nederland, a Dutch pro-Israel organization, discovered thirty-nine obvious errors in the twelve pages about Israel. These included the lie that the Jews refused the UN’s 1947 partition plan when the opposite was true: the Arab nations refused it.[9]

In July 2015, Bert Koenders, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs placed a wreath at Yad Vashem. In the guestbook he wrote “discrimination and anti-Semitism are still alive today. We owe it to the millions who were murdered in the Holocaust to continue to fight this evil through remembering the past and by educating today.”[10]

However, when a motion to counter anti-Semitism within the educational system was brought in Parliament, Koenders’ Labor party, the junior partner in the government, opposed it.  He has also firmly backed the labeling of 'West Bank' and the Golan products by the European Union. This is a typical anti-Israel version of classic anti-Semitic double standards.[11]

In June 2015 an anti-Israel debate took place at the major Amsterdam Free University organized in coordination with the SRP, the Dutch Students for Justice in Palestine. The theme of this was Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Only BDS supporters were allowed to speak freely. Opponents were booed. At the end of the meeting, Jaap de Winter, the President of the University’s Board, summarized this extremely biased discussion as “a nice debate which befits the Free University.”[12]

The Amsterdam municipal council voted recently in favor of collaboration with Tel Aviv and Ramallah.[13] The mayor of Amsterdam Eberhard Van der Laan, a member of the Labor Party, is rightly proud of his parents, who were resistance activists and helped Jews during the German occupation.[14] This did not prevent him, however, from supporting the twinning of Amsterdam and Ramallah, a city where murders of Jews are a frequent occasion for official glorification.[15] The municipal council imposed various constraints with regard to collaboration with Tel Aviv, but collaboration with Ramallah apparently required no preconditions.[16] This story in itself merits a separate article.

Van der Laan’s Labor Party colleague Ahmed Aboutaleb, mayor of Rotterdam, prepared a trade mission to Israel. It was opposed in the municipal council by the extreme left Socialist Party, the Green Left party and a Muslim party NIDA. Aboutaleb responded that the possibility of such a visit was still being looked into.[17] Later in the year he visited Saudi Arabia. The Socialist Party and two other parties opposed it. The Green Left and NIDA apparently did not mind.[18]

The reality in the Netherlands is such that most probably in a few months more can be published on the same subject, as fresh examples on hate mongering against and Israel in the Netherlands are emerging even as this article is being written.
[2] Carel Brendel, “Woordvoerder World Wide Relief roept op om toeristen total loss te slaan,”, 15 October 2015.
[3] Shari Deira, “Man roept op tot mishandelen Israëliërs, uitgenodigd door Pauw,” Elsevier,16 October 2015.
[4] “Asscher windt zich op over 'neonazi' bij Pauw,” NOS, 29 October 2015.
[5] Esther Voet, “Spreek me niet van waardigheid, meneer Van der Laan…,” Jalta, 9 November 2015.
[6] “Joden in Verzet tegen misbruik van het verzetsmonument te Amsterdam,” GoPetition, 2 November 2015.
[7] “Israeli Embassy slams ‘outrageous’ Dutch textbook,” Times of Israel, 27 May 2015.
[8]  “Dutch textbook: Britain endorsed Zionism to gain favor with Jewish bankers,” The Jerusalem Post, 10 September 2015.
[9] “Tweede schoolboek van ThiemeMeulenhoff boordevol fouten,” Likoed Nederland,” 16 September 2015. [Dutch]
[10] Yad Vashem Jerusalem, volume 78, October 2015.
[11] “Koenders zet etikettering weer op agenda,” Telegraaf, 20 November 2014.
[12] “Israël-vrije VU?” N.I.W., 18 June 2015.
[13] Roelf Jan Duin, “Gemeenteraad akkoord met samenwerking Ramallah en Tel Aviv,” Parool, 6 November 2015.
[14] Rob Rombouts, “Eberhard van der Laan eert op de Dam ook zijn eigen ouders,” Parool, 5 May 2014.
[15] “PA Names Ramallah Street After Hamas Terror Mastermind,” Haaretz, 7 April 2010.
[16] Elise Friedmann, “Amsterdamse gemeenteraad voor uitgeklede samenwerking Tel Aviv,” Cidi, 6 November 2015.
[17] Mark Hoogstad, “Aboutaleb moet afzien van bezoek aan Israel,”, 21 July 2015.
[18] Mark Hoogstad, “Aboutaleb geeft hypocriet signaal af,”, 27 November 2015.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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