Dr. Manfred GerstenfeldThe writer has been a long-term adviser on strategy issues to the boards of several major multinational corporations in Europe and North America.He is board member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and recipient of the LIfetime Achievement Award (2012) of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.
“At the United Nations, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once predicted that the apocalyptic Mahdi will arrive, lead the war against the Jews and subjugate the entire world to Islam. This destruction is exactly what Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders want to carry out. Religious fanatics do not accept our rational arguments. I am concerned about my two sons, but also about the future of the Netherlands and our culture. That is why I became a parliamentarian.
“In 1993, I opposed the Oslo agreements explaining that they were a disastrous trap. When Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu came to the Netherlands, I said that Israel should construct as many settlements as possible in Judea and Samaria. The country needs borders with strategic depth. In some areas, the 1967 armistice line is only twelve kilometers from the sea.”
Wim Kortenoeven was a Dutch Parliamentarian for the Freedom Party from 2010. He left the party in summer 2012 when its platform for the September parliamentary elections called for the prohibition of all ritual slaughter. Before, Kortenoeven was in charge of research and documentation at the Dutch pro-Israel lobby CIDI. He grew up as an active Protestant, but later left the church.
“My 2007 book about Hamas was the first Dutch study on this organization. Despite its many terrorist acts, successive Dutch governments presented Hamas as a movement with different political, humanitarian and military branches. The socio-economic recruitment mechanism for the terror branch was seen as a hopeful alternative to the PLO. It would help build the desired Palestinian society.
“After the Netherlands changed its policy in 2003, it made a major effort to put Hamas on the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations. This came about only after a few years. This development reflects the character and naïveté of Dutch Middle Eastern policy. Such mistakes can have fatal consequences - and not only for the Dutch. Yet once the Dutch become aware of their blunders, they often try to correct them. The question remains - if Europe had acknowledged Hamas’ murderous intentions earlier, would there have been fewer murdered Israelis?
“My book received positive critiques from many scholars. However, not a single major Dutch paper reviewed it. The Jewish weekly NIW had it heavily critiqued by a member of a Jewish pro-Palestinian organization who saw Hamas as a reasonable alternative to the PLO. This, despite the fact that the Hamas charter and several spokesmen stress that all Jews have to be murdered and that Muslims will conquer the Western world. The book also documented the worldwide ambitions of the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is a supporter. Yet bearers of bad news, as my book was, aren’t very welcome and that is not only a Dutch phenomenon.”
Kortenoeven continues: “In 1976 when I was 21, I came on my first visit to Israel. At a kibbutz on the Jordanian border, I worked on a former minefield with a tractor. This created a connection to the land for me. The link with Israel and its people has become central to my life. I also recognize the intrinsic value of the Jewish religion."
“My love for Israel led me to my previous position at CIDI. Israel has many opponents in the Netherlands. Several development aid organizations try to make Hamas acceptable. These Dutch ‘humanitarian agitators’ include Oxfam Novib, the Protestant Icco and the Catholic Cordaid, as well as peace organizations such as the Protestant IKV and the Catholic Pax Christi.
“Many Dutch media outlets have a negative influence on Israel’s image. A number of factors are involved. One is sensationalism, another is Arab manipulation of the media vis-a-vis the openness of Israeli society. The change in character of the Dutch population also plays an increasing role. Political parties have a growing interest in the views of the Muslim minority, which now represents one million people among the sixteen million-plus general population.
“In the Labor Party, the situation is bad. A variety of its officials are Muslims. Since the Dutch municipal elections of 2006, Muslims are in control of various local branches. A number of these officials cannot even express themselves properly in the Dutch language. Some admitted publicly that they don’t even know the party’s platform.
“The extreme left Socialist Party and the Green Left Party are even more dangerous for Israel. Many influential members see an ideological bond between international socialism and Islamism. They falsely believe that the so-called non-racist structure of Islam expresses international solidarity and justice. Furthermore, they view Muslims and other non-Western immigrants as a new proletariat and thus a target voter group.
“I often say in my lectures, ‘It always starts with the Jews, but it never ends with them.’ There are politicians in the Netherlands who also want to understand Israel’s problems. They do not realize however, that the clash of civilizations with Islam is unavoidable and borderless.
"The Netherlands will not be able to escape it in the long run.”