Op-Ed: The Anti-Israel Lobby in the Netherlands
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.
“A number of Dutch anti-Israel NGO’s are partly financed by the Dutch government for their general activities. Three of them, the Protestant ICCO, the Catholic Cordaid and the general Oxfam Novib, have created an anti-Israel front organization called United Civilians for Peace (UCP). An additional partner is the Christian peace movement IKV Pax Christi, which is also subsidized by the Dutch government.”
Wim Kortenoeven is a Dutch Middle East specialist with a long career in pro-Israel advocacy. He has published several books on the Middle East and was a Member of Dutch Parliament. Today he is director of a public affairs and consultancy firm.
Kortenoeven continues: “UCP is indirectly partially financed by Dutch taxpayers. UCP piously states that they are ‘for a just peace and not against Israel.’ In practice, they are combatants in the anti-Israel war. On their website one finds a description of the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict which is full of historical falsifications and omissions.
"In 2007, CIDI, the Dutch equivalent of AIPAC where I worked at the time, published a major report on the UCP titled, ‘United Civilians tegen Israel’ (United Civilians against Israel’). This led to parliamentary action from the Liberals, the three Christian parties and the Freedom Party against Israel-bashing. Yet UCP is still alive and kicking.
The major Dutch agitator against Israel is former Prime Minister Dries van Agt.
“UCP has legitimized anti-Zionism more than any other organization in the Netherlands. Their sophisticated anti-Israel propaganda, BDS actions and corruption of historical narratives wrapped in lofty words about justice and international law, are on the internet and used in schools and churches. I fear that the damage UCP has caused in public opinion is already beyond repair. UCP is respected because of the ‘altruistic and institutionalized image’ of its ‘mother organizations.’
Kortenoeven adds: “The major Dutch agitator against Israel is former Prime Minister Dries van Agt, a Catholic Christian Democrat. Initially, Van Agt’s organization for his personal crusade against the Jewish State was the ‘International Forum for Justice and Peace’ (IFJP).
It included Swedish anti-Semite Jöran Jermas, who posed as a Jew using the alias Israel Shamir. I was involved in unmasking this ‘Swedish connection’ when I worked for CIDI. After the ensuing scandal, Van Agt terminated the IFJP. He then established a new crusade medium - The Rights Forum.
“At the 2007 Palestinian-European Conference in Rotterdam, Van Agt said that the three Western demands of Hamas were extremely unreasonable. They are: abandoning violence, recognition of the State of Israel and of Palestinian agreements with the State of Israel.
“Anti-Israel and anti-Jewish organizations tend to cooperate on a project basis in different configurations and sometimes even covertly. The ‘Tear Down the Wall’ (‘Sloop de Muur’) civil initiative collected 50,000 signatures. That forced the Dutch Parliament to debate the legitimacy of the Israeli security barrier in June 2013. In this anti-fence campaign, the Rights Forum was not mentioned as an organizer. There is no reference to it on internet sites of the Rights Forum or the ‘Tear Down the Wall’ foundation.
“It was however, Van Agt who presented the ‘Tear Down the Wall’ initiative in Parliament. Several participating organizations in the initiative, such as the ‘Nederlands Palestina Komitee’ (‘Dutch Palestine Committee’) deny Israel’s right to exist. Such organizations are working with a hidden phased plan: first to delegitimize Zionism, second to delegitimize and boycott the Jewish State, third to force the Jewish State to withdraw behind indefensible borders and ultimately to make way for the final solution which is the ‘peace of the grave’ for Israel’s Jews.
"UCP was also not officially related to the ‘Tear Down the Wall’ project. Yet on the latter’s website, a promotional movie was posted which UCP had commissioned.
“For decades already, organizations in the Dutch anti-Israel and the anti-Jewish lobby have overlapping structures. For instance, the Board of the Dutch Palestine Committee was involved with Pax Christi. Several people from the anti-Zionist ‘Stop the Occupation’ organization of Gretta Duisenberg – widow of former European Central Bank Governor Wim Duisenberg – are in the Rights Forum.
"Van Agt in turn was on the Board of Recommendation of Mrs. Duisenberg’s organization. He only left after her vulgar anti-Semitic remarks, such as the one about ‘Jewish influence reaching even the posh restaurants of Amsterdam,’ became a liability.
"Several of Van Agt’s anti-Israel supporters are also responsible for the content of a recent advisory document of the Advisory Council for International Affairs (AIV) to the Dutch Government and Parliament. In that text, the history of the Arab-Islamic conflict with the Jews and their state is rewritten, the anti-Semitic and genocidal goal of the Islamists and Hamas in particular is white-washed, the government is advised to downgrade relations with the Jewish State and to sanitize and talk to Hamas, an organization that promotes committing genocide on all Jews, not only the Israeli variety.
"This is an official advisory council of the Dutch State, and Van Agt’s helpers of the Rights Forum are in. This is a system, which is far more than a private activity.”
Kortenoeven concludes: “Anne Frank was betrayed by Dutch people in the Netherlands. Commenting on Dutch collaboration with Nazi Germany, Commander of Dutch land forces, General Mart de Kruif recently remarked on his Facebook page that during and after World War II, right and wrong always had shades of grey. De Kruif may have meant well, yet he shows a total lack of understanding and thus falsifies history".
“There was no grey area involved in Nazi doctrines and orders of extermination of the Jews. Similarly, there is no grey area today when deceitful peace promoters knowingly and willingly collaborate with those who openly state that they desire to eliminate the Jewish State and exterminate its Jewish inhabitants.”