Muslim mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, who has spoken out on earlier occasions against Jew hatred, is now refusing to connect the obvious dots between the PRC and Hamas for whatever his reasons.
He has to be confronted, that he’s is not going to get away with this and without being noticed.
The Honorable Chris Smith
2373 Rayburn House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman Smith:
As the Israel director of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), I have spoken with you and met with your staffers on a number of occasions regarding several issues of interest to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and Foreign Affairs Committee, on both of which you thankfully play a leading role. I particularly have appreciated the assistance of your office concerning American victims of overseas terror. As does Sarri Singer, daughter of New Jersey State Senator Bob Singer and one of your constituents, who is herself a terror victim with whom I work closely.
I write to call your attention to another—albeit not totally unrelated—matter. Thanks to the outstanding efforts of a number of Jewish leaders (for example Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, famously known for his expertise on anti-Semitism), Jewish organizations have become aware of the upcoming conference of the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC). Scheduled for April 15th in Rotterdam, Holland, the event promises to be one laced with anti-Semitism: Both Germany and Israel have identified the PRC as a Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood affiliate; senior figures among the PRC’s British leadership have been identified as Hamas and/or Muslim Brotherhood activists.
Dutch Jewish leaders are deeply concerned, including Netherlands Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, who said the conference “will incite anti-Semitism or pro-terrorist sentiment.” Urged by Jacobs and other Jewish leaders to cancel the conference, Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb nonetheless refused, claiming there is no proof of a PRC-Hamas connection. (Aboutaleb is considered to be a moderate orthodox Muslim, and has spoken out passionately against antiSemitic violence.)
Mr. Smith, I watched your subcommittee’s recent hearing, “Anti-Semitism Across Borders,” in its entirety. I was heartened by the testimony of the expert witnesses, and by your opening remarks, observations, and willingness to work with similar bodies in Europe to do whatever is needed to stem the rising anti-Semitism tide.
Past PRC conferences have been marked by a plethora of hate speech and invective. Even as freedom of expression is a sine qua non for any truly democratic society, anti-Semitic speech that is likely to result in anti-Jewish violence should not be considered protected speech. As you so astutely had pointed out, there are “cross-Atlantic links between anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic remarks.”
The ZOA also considers fighting anti-Semitism to be a top priority, as is stressed on our website. My office, along with American colleagues in Israel, is therefore calling on Congress to request a communication from the State Department encouraging the Netherlands government to prevail on Mayor Aboutaleb to cancel the April conference.
As in past instances, I might have addressed such concerns to the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. However, Ira Forman, who was especially helpful to me concerning antiSemitic gravesite desecrations on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives, no longer holds that position. I understand there may be a bid to scrap that position completely. Since you had been a driving force behind the 2004 Global Anti-Semitism Review Act that created the Special Envoy office, I also would respectfully request an upgrade of that position to Ambassador at Large, and that a replacement for Mr. Forman be designated as quickly as possible given the disquieting increase in worldwide anti-Semitism.
Thank you for all that you do on behalf of Israel and the global Jewish community.
Sincerely, Jeff Daube, Israel Director Zionist Organization of America