A SMALL REVIEW OF DUTCH ANTI-ISRAEL INCITEMENT
At the beginning of September, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit the Netherlands. A succinct summary of anti-Israel incitement there may help him and his staff to better understand how the current Dutch reality differs from the distorted positive image many people still hold: the one based on the much publicized story of Anne Frank and her diary.
The Anne Frank story has entirely overshadowed a far more important one: the total disinterest of the Dutch government in London during the Second World War in the fate of its Jewish citizens under the German occupation. Three quarters of the 140,000 Jews in the Netherlands were murdered in the German death camps in Poland. The Netherlands is now the only Western European country which has never admitted to the wartime failure of its government’s attitude toward the Jews. Even Luxemburg and Monaco have recently done so.1 Furthermore, though archives contained the information for decades, it has only recently been published that Dutch SS volunteers participated in mass killings of Jews in Eastern Europe.2
Around the turn of this century, the major anti-Israel attitude in many Dutch circles has strengthened. The ongoing incitement against the Jewish state by many Dutch politicians — mainly extreme left and center left — leading media, pseudo-humanitarian NGOs and so on has greatly influenced Dutch citizens. A Eurobarometer study in 2003 asked which countries are most dangerous to world peace. Israel came in 2nd place after Iran – 59% of Europeans held this opinion. Of all countries polled the Netherlands had the highest percentage at 74%. This opinion can largely be explained by the widespread Dutch incitement against Israel.3 A 2011 study by the University of Bielefeld in Germany found that more than 38% of the Dutch population agreed with the statement that Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians.4
The most dangerous political party to Israel nowadays is Labor, the junior partner in the current government led by liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The Labor party incites against Israel in many ways. During its first Middle East Conference in 2013, party leader Diederik Samsom singled out the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the only one in which patience is running out. He placed the entire responsibility for solving the conflict on Israel.5
Labor, the D66 Democrats and the Christian Democrats have also promoted a parliamentary motion which may lead to sanctions against Israel.6 Earlier this year, Labor Party foreign minister Bert Koenders tried to fool his Israeli counterparts by saying that while there is freedom of opinion in the Netherlands and the Dutch government is against BDS.7 He did not mention that the Dutch government subsidized the BDS promoting Catholic development aid organization, Cordaid, with half a billion Euros from 2007 to 2011 and with lesser amounts since. Cordaid’s support of extreme incitement against Israel goes back at least 15 years.
A major scandal developed in 2002 when it became known that the Ford Foundation had partly funded the anti-Israel hatemongers of the Palestinian LAW organization which had to be disbanded due to widespread corruption. No attention was given to the fact that Cordaid had donated even more money to LAW. The current Labor Party Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Liliane Ploumen, held top positions with Cordaid from 2001-2007. Other Dutch pro-BDS bodies also received large amounts of government funding.8 Koenders has been active in the European labeling of products from the West Bank as well.9
The list of Jewish guests for the 2013 dinner hosted by Dutch King Willem Alexander for the visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres has never been published. The heads of the two largest Jewish communities, the Ashkenazi Orthodox and Liberal, were not invited. The head of the tiny extreme Jewish anti-Israel group EAJG was.
For the first time in Dutch independent history – thus leaving aside the German occupation – a number of Jewish businessmen had to hire private bodyguards in 2014 as a result of threats.10 The most severe anti-Semitic incident in the Netherlands was a robbery last year (by criminals who appeared to be of Moroccan-Arab descent) of a couple of elderly Holocaust survivors in Amsterdam. The woman was a survivor of Auschwitz. The robbers called them dirty Jews and beat them severely.11
The most recent scandal is a claim in the NRC daily that the Mossad is threatening a human rights activist in the Netherlands.12
From time to time Prime Minister Rutte visits Israel with a delegation of Dutch businessmen. He is accompanied by two Labor Party ministers who visit the Palestinian territories. Perhaps next time Prime Minister Netanyahu can invite Rutte and his ministers for a memorial meeting at the site of the terrorist attack at the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem where a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up in 2001. Among the fifteen killed were five members of the Schijveschuurder family. Two parents and three of their children were murdered, and three others were wounded.13 They were children and grandchildren respectively of Dutch Holocaust survivors.
The above are a small sample of the widespread incitement against Israel in the Netherlands. This topic can easily be extended to book format.
3 European Commission, “Iraq and Peace in the World,” Eurobarometer Survey, Flash Eurobarometer 151, November 2003, 81.