The Dutch-Israeli monitor group Israel Facts (IF) which I represent published a report about the way the Dutch government funded news show NOS Journaal hushed up a Dutch anti-Semitic incident in the old city of Jerusalem on October 31. This report, sent to the Dutch government, caused the Christian Union party to decide to discuss the issue at the upcoming debate about the media budget in the Dutch parliament on November 30.
In another related development, the Daily Standard, a Dutch operated news site, exposed the funding of anti-Israel groups by EU tax money via charities like Cordaid and Oxfam.
The anti-Semitic incident took place at a festival organized by a Dutch group for the Moslem holidays, which are taking place now. It was sponsored by the European Union via the Dutch charity Cordaid. NOS Journaal featured this festival in its prime time news
Dutch artistic director Merlijn Twaalfhoven accused Israel of turning Jerusalem into a purely Jewish town.
On the show, reporter Sander Van Hoorn blasted Israel for curtailing Arab culture in Jerusalem and interviewed Dutch artistic director Merlijn Twaalfhoven, who accused Israel of turning Jerusalem into a purely Jewish town. He said that the festival’s aim was “to show the beauty of all those cultures which have been living together in Jerusalem for hundreds of years”. Twaalfhoven reported that there is tension in Jerusalem and that an arrest the day before the festival prevented him from “drinking tea with Israelis”. Van Hoorn added “No Jewish visitors are allowed at the festival of Twaalfhoven”.
Journalist Gil Zohar was one of those unwanted Jewish visitors. He recounted how festival director Jamal Goseh asked him where he lives and when he replied that he was a Jerusalem resident, Twaalfhoven told him and other Israeli peace activists that they were not welcome. Zohar told Twaalfhoven that he was a journalist and had an invitation, but to no avail. This occurred in the presence of the foreign press.
The next day Zohar met with Twaalfhoven to give him a chance to explain the incident. In an apparent attempt to excuse himself, he told Zohar that months before the festival, the Dutch team had to promise the local Arab people that Jews could not attend.
Officially acceding to this demand would have meant losing the subsidies from the EU via Cordaid and the Anna Lindh Foundation, so it was decided to tell Israelis that the “multicultural” festival was fully booked.
Zohar published an article in the Jerusalem Post about his experience with Dutch anti-Semitism in Jerusalem. IF wrote the NOS editorial news staff pointing out that they did not mention it in their coverage.
NOS Journaal was asked to comment on the incident and to explain how it could be that Jews were banned from the festival, but has not responded to date.
An earlier Israel Facts report this year exposed the NOS Journaal as a news show which is extremely biased against Israel. It proved that NOS violated its own journalistic code by not giving Israeli spokesmen the right of reply. The report stated that NOS was omitting facts and manipulating video footage to portray Israel in the most negative light. This has lead to questions in Dutch parliament and to a proposal for an overhaul in the state funded media by Remkes, a member of parliament for Dutch Liberal party VVD.
NOS Journaal was caught red handed when it tried to hush up one of the most serious anti-Semitic incidents recorded in Israel in recent years, an incident instigated by Dutch foreigners in the presence of the foreign press. By hushing up the incident, NOS crossed a red line, and recommends that the Dutch government implement the budget overhaul
One article denied the existence of the Jewish people.
advocated by the VVD. Measures should be taken which will assure that the Dutch public will be informed about Israel in a responsible and professional way once again.
In the Netherlands the number of anti-Semitic incidents connected to events in Israel rose sharply this year. Israel Facts feels the reason may be the biased way events in Israel are reported by main stream media in the Netherlands. The visit of Israeli foreign minister Lieberman lead to a sharp increase in biased anti-Israeli articles in the main Dutch newspapers. One article denied the existence of the Jewish people. Even worse, most newspapers refuse to publish op-ed articles in which claims like these are countered.