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.
"In line with our program, our party Voor Nederland (In Favor of the Netherlands), supports Israel. Our program has four core elements. We want everyone to pay a similar percentage of tax. Secondly, we want to invest heavily in police, justice and defense activities. The current Dutch army is, as far as its arsenal is concerned, an ennobled boy scouts organization.
“Thirdly, we want to use the Australian immigration model: people should only be allowed to settle in the Netherlands on the basis of their skills and capabilities. We are against immigration of groups of people who have nothing to contribute. Most of these potential immigrants come from Muslim countries. Finally, we want to replace the European Union with its predecessor, the European Economic Community.”
Joram Van Klaveren comes from a reformed Protestant background. When Geert Wilders left the Liberal Party, (VVD) in 2004, Van Klaveren decided to join Wilders’ new Freedom Party (PVV) where he became a member of the House of Representatives. In 2014, when the PVV moved to the left on economic matters, Van Klaveren split from the party but remained in the parliament. Together with another former PVV parliamentarian, Louis Bontes, Van Klaveren created Voor Nederland (VNL).
Van Klaveren says, “We often discuss parliamentary issues which concern Israel. There are many worrisome developments in the Netherlands. For instance, the BDS movement, aims to boycott Israel, disinvest, and institute sanctions and to destroy Israel economically. Labeling products from the supposedly ‘occupied territories’ is one example of tactics used by the BDS movement. Unfortunately, Dutch Foreign Minister from the Labor Party (PvDA), Bert Koenders, supports this approach.
“When the new EU regulations were accepted the issue of how labelling should be maintained and controlled was not discussed. Labeling Israeli-made products is used as a method by the EU to undermine Israel. It is important to expose and fight this extreme anti-Israeli attitude.
“Dubious organizations often promote BDS. Some supporters express their support of terror groups. Others are indirectly linked to terror organizations. For example, the major Dutch development organization Oxfam-Novib financially supports the Palestinian Badeel. Former terrorists make up some of the staff of this organization. Oxfam-Novib is subsidized by the Dutch government. The Netherlands thus indirectly supports the aims of Badeel, including terror. We want the Dutch government to stop subsidizing Oxfam-Novib.
“The Dutch government usually gives only vague answers to our questions. Once, in a question to the parliament, I quoted a report titled ‘Anti-Semitism Worldwide’ which shows that where the Muslim community grows, anti-Semitism increases. The government answered that the report doesn’t exist. I remarked, ‘I’ll bring it to you,’ which I did. Despite our efforts, nothing changes.
“Fortunately enough there is still a majority in the Dutch parliament which supports Israel. However, the Christian Democrats (CDA) are not a reliable partner. If they no longer support Israel in the future, the pro-Israeli majority has ended.
“In the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs there are many officials who belong to the left. With one exception, all members of the Dutch parliament who were formerly with that ministry also belong to the left. The one exception is Sjoerd Sjoerdsma of the center party D66. He and Michael Servaes of the Labor Party are the most active anti-Israeli parliamentarians.
“I once put forward a neutrally formulated motion to fight anti-Semitism in the educational system. Both D66 and the Labor Party voted against. In 2007 Labor parliamentarian Martijn van Dam visited Hamas together with parliamentarians from the extreme left Socialist Party SP and Green Left (Groen Links). They thus legitimized a terror organization that wants to kill all Jews.
“The Labor Party never asks questions in the parliament about anti-Semitic incidents. If a Jew with a kippah is spit at or even physically attacked, one waits in vain for this party that claims to show solidarity with the weak to ask questions or demand investigation.
“Concerning the Jews in the Netherlands, I do not understand why society allows this group of people to be encouraged to leave the Netherlands. Many of these people serve society. Most Dutchmen however don’t care, as whoever remains silent agrees.
“It is also absurd that the Netherlands refuses to admit its many shortcomings toward the Jews in the Second World War. Nobody who has studied the documentation denies this fact even a little bit. I put forward questions to parliament as to why the Netherlands does not recognize that the government in exile in London acted wrongly in this matter. We are now the only remaining country in Western Europe that denies the truth of its wartime past. Prime Minister Mark Rutte answered that the government backed the speech of then Queen Beatrix in the Knesset in 1995. However, what she said there, content-wise, meant nothing.
“The great cultural change in the Netherlands has its origins in the 1960s, a time of cultural relativism. There were many who wanted to destroy all authority. This led to public doubt in the belief in Western values.
“It is greatly naïve to think that all cultures are equal in value. That is dangerous ideology. It has brought with it a deterioration of society. Yet many people think that in the future everything will become pleasant in a nice world.
“Our country and the Western world find themselves in an awkward situation. I still believe in the Netherlands and the ‘healthy farmers’ sense of our culture. This can ultimately also lead to a change for the better in the Dutch attitude toward Israel.”