Manfred Gerstenfeld Netherlands

DR.MANFRED GERSTENFELD: SANTORUM, DUTCH EUTHANASIA AND GOLDSTONE……..

Recently, U.S. Presidential candidate Rick Santorum claimed that in the Netherlands 10% of deaths are caused by euthanasia, half of which are involuntary. The following article published yesterday on YNet imagines what would happen if Judge Goldstone investigated the Netherlands on the basis of these accusations.

Santorum, Dutch Euthanasia & Goldstone

Manfred Gerstenfeld

Recently during his campaign, American Presidential candidate Rick Santorum stated that ten percent of those who die in the Netherlands are killed by euthanasia. He added that half of these cases were involuntary.[1] As in the Netherlands 136,000[2] people died in 2010, Santorum was in fact claiming that Dutch doctors kill close to 7,000 mainly elderly people per year without their permission. Over a few years, this would make the Dutch medical profession a far bigger murderer of civilians than Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

There were many loud protests from the Netherlands stating that Santorum’s claims were false, as euthanasia is applied on 2.5% of all dying people per year. There are also no exact data on how many people were killed without their permission. A contributor to Forbes however, pointed out that when applying certain calculations, Santorum’s claims may not have been so far off.[3]  Whatever the exact figure is, there are hundreds of cases every year of euthanasia in The Netherlands, without the patient being asked his or her permission.[4]

Let us now employ a bit of fantasy and assume that Muslim states were intent on assailing the Netherlands. They would then claim in the United Nations Human Rights Council that such killings are a severe breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These states could easily muster a majority to have the UNHRC appoint a commission of inquiry into this matter. This all the more so, as many other states need Muslim votes on issues of interest to them.

Who would be better qualified to head such a committee than the Grand Master of Flawed UNHRC Reporting, Judge Richard Goldstone? As his report on Israel was a classic exercise in distorted methodology, its model should be followed. His committee of inquiry would include one member who had already condemned the Netherlands on euthanasia and another who was hostile to the country.

Goldstone and his associates would set out with their proven procedural methods. The commission would reach its conclusion on the basis of what it ‘saw, heard and read’. [5] The commission had accepted hearsay in the Gaza war investigation. It would thus do the same in the Dutch situation.

As there are many medical doctors in the Netherlands who consider euthanasia immoral, a number of them would likely testify and present the facts they have about its abuse. The refusal of these doctors to commit euthanasia has already led to another contested initiative – a system of mobile euthanasia units that will travel around the Netherlands to respond to the wishes of sick people who want to end their lives.[6]

Some individuals would appear before the Goldstone commission relaying that family members had asked to apply involuntary euthanasia on a patient in order to lay their hands on his inheritance. As hearsay is accepted as evidence, I could also appear before the commission. I have a Dutch acquaintance who told me how hospital doctors exercised extreme pressure on her to authorize euthanasia on her mortally ill husband. She stated that only because she has a son who is a doctor and another who is a lawyer, she had resisted their coercion.

As tens of babies born with an open back have been killed by Dutch doctors in recent years, there would likely be other doctors who would testify to the Goldstone commission that children born with an open back have been unjustifiably characterized in Dutch society as “misfits.” Others who might appear before the commission would be from Helping Hands, a Christian organization for the handicapped. They wrote in the past to the Deputy Minister of Health requesting better protection for the handicapped.[7]

Due to the commission inquiry, the international public argument on euthanasia would be widened. There would be articles stating that there have been quite a few doctors in history who were also mass-murderers. They would then refer to Josef Mengele of Auschwitz infamy. This theme of doctors who murder could be extended to the late Haitian dictator Papa Doc François Duvalier and to Bashar al Assad, as well as many other lesser known ones.

If Goldstone were consistent, the report would be damning. After some time had passed and major damage to The Netherlands was done, he would write an article recanting part of his report, just as he did concerning Israel.[8]

All of this of course, is pure fantasy. Deeply flawed UNHRC reports only focus on the one country which it condemns consistently – Israel. All other countries, including the Netherlands, needn’t worry.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld has published 20 books. He is Chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.


[1] “Gedwongen euthanasia in NL, NOS 18 February 2012. {Dutch]

[3] Tim Worstall, “For Senator Santorum: Now the Dutch have Mobile Euthanasia Units,” Forbes, 2 March 2012.

[4] Gerbert van Loenen, “Het bedrog van zelfbeschikking,” Trouw, 12 February 2012. [Dutch] See also: Gerbert van Loenen, “De arts mag niet bepalen wat even draaglijk maakt,” Trouw 9 June 2011. [Dutch]

[5] Trevor Norwitz, “Letter to Justice Goldstone,” in Gerald M. Steinberg & Anne Herzberg, (ed), The Goldstone Report “Reconsidered,” A Critical Analysis,  (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2011) 153.

[6] Kate Connolly, “Dutch mobile euthanasia units to make house calls,” The Guardian, 1 March 2012.

[7] www.refdag.nl/nieuws/binnenland/groeiend_verzet_in_zaak_open_ruggetje_1_107868

[8] Richard Goldstone, “Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes,” Washington Post, 2 April 2011.

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