Eight defamatory programs on Israel by Dutch Public TV

This distorted TV series is an expression of a much more profound problem about the Netherlands. The country benefits internationally from a far too positive image, partly because few people know its language.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

OpEds Jewish cemetery in Delden, Netherlands
Jewish cemetery in Delden, Netherlands
Manfred Gerstenfeld

The Dutch public television company, NTR, recently broadcast eight weekly programs about Israel. These were made by two Dutch journalists who are rather ignorant about Israel. They also had an axe to grind. Raoul Heertje, a Jewish stand up comedian, speaks Hebrew. He studied a few decades ago in Jerusalem and returned to the Netherlands after three years without finishing his first degree. Heertje claims that he left Israel because he opposed the Israeli attitude toward the Palestinian Arabs. 

Frans Bromet, who mainly operated the camera in this documentary has a Jewish father. He said in 2007: “I am angry over the war in Israel and angry about the wall in Israel. That moves me. I find it almost a scandal to feel yourself a Jew.” Bromet has also mentioned his aversion to Israel's policies. He regularly intervenes in the documentary.

A decent television company would not have used him here.

Heertje says that he was an ardent Zionist as a pupil of the Jewish Youth Movement, Habonim, in the Netherlands. The main pretext for the TV series was whether he had been right to leave Israel. 

Much emphasis in the series was given to the suffering of the Palestinian Arabs caused by Israelis. The huge unabating antisemitic hate propaganda by Palestinians was not part of the documentary. No mention was made either that in the only parliamentary democratic elections, those of 2006, the Palestinians gave a majority to the Hamas movement, which promotes genocide against Jews. The only other significant Palestinian party is Fatah, which controls the Palestinian Authority (PA). That body has a ‘pay for slay’ policy which pays terrorists - or if they are killed, their families. The PA receives substantial financial aid from the Dutch government, while also terrorists who murdered Israelis who originated in The Netherlands are paid.  

There is no mention in the eight programs of the pre-1948 calls for violence by the Mufti of Jerusalem, the main pre-war leader of Palestinian Arabs. He was a war criminal who helped the Nazis establish Muslim SS units in Bosnia and Kosovo.

The series does not mention that on three quarters of the territory of the British mandate of Palestine, the Palestinian state of Jordan exists. Nor does it mention the Arab refusal of the establishment of a second Palestinian state in 1948.

It does not mention that Arab states -- helped in part by some Palestinians -- started a war to exterminate the local Jews in 1948. The refusal of the PA to the generous peace proposals of Israeli prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert is also not mentioned.

The Dutch journalists do not correct the most blatant false remarks by interviewees.. The interviewers may be biased, but that is rather secondary because their ignorance is so overwhelming. A Dutch blogger, Martien Pennings, has analyzed each of the eight programs in great detail. Many tens of his critical remarks are valid. Any inquiry into the waste of money for this far below standard documentary should also include the role of its researchers. Perhaps a diligent Dutch parliamentarian will ask why substantial taxpayer money was wasted on this mainly incompetently executed project on an individual’s frustration. NTR has much to explain. 

This distorted TV series is an expression of a much more profound problem about the Netherlands. The country benefits internationally from a far too positive image. Few people know its language. As a medium size country, not being confronted with huge problems, there is little international media attention on it. 


The Dutch, to a substantial extent, cover up the country’s huge past failures and crimes. The country has created a totally dishonest attitude of moral superiority. 
This means that the hypocritical attitudes of parts of its elite are not exposed internationally. This despite the fact that these people, to a substantial extent, cover up the country’s huge past failures and crimes. The country has created a totally dishonest attitude of moral superiority. Its colonial crimes in what is now Indonesia were not radically different from other colonial powers. Yet, they have probably been much less investigated.  

The role of the Dutch in the Yugoslav war in Srebrenica is typical. Its UN soldiers were involved in what has been declared the only genocide in this war. Dutch soldiers helped the Bosnian Serbs separate Muslim boys and men from women and children. An estimated 8,000 were then murdered. 

Before that happened, they left to the Croatian capital Zagreb. A festivity was arranged for them in the presence of the Dutch Prime and Foreign Ministers, as well as of the current Dutch King, then still Crown prince. Sociologist Henry Beunders wrote: “While the Muslims stood to their knees in their blood, the Dutch stood to their ankles in beer.” 

Rather than making an exceptionally incompetent documentary about Israel , NTR should produce a twenty or thirty part documentary about the Dutch crimes in Indonesia. Furthermore, it could make another series: How Dutch culture leads to obfuscating past crimes and failures.

  • In it there would be place for a program on how the Dutch government in exile in London during the Holocaust was entirely disinterested in the discrimination and murder of Dutch Jews living in the occupied Netherlands.
  • Another program would detail how the post-war Dutch government failed the returning Jews.
  • A third program would explain how the Netherlands were the last Western Europe country to admit the failures of their war time London government toward the Jews and how successive prime ministers avoided honest answers on these issues.

Dutch arrogance also manifests itself from time to time toward Israel. In 2019, the Dutch government gave money to the Israeli leftist extremists of the B’Tselem movement to write a critical report about Israel's Supreme Court. The Dutch government even specified the goals.

No Israeli in his right mind would use public money for a documentary about the multiple failures of the Netherlands. Yet for somebody with much better knowledge than Heertje and Bromet, making such a program that reveals the full truth about the failures of the country would not be difficult. It could start with the Netherlands as drug poisoner of Europe as so many drugs are smuggled via Rotterdam harbor and spread over the continent. A comparison of drugs found in the sewage system of major European cities shows that the highest concentration of drugs is in Amsterdam.  

Such a program could also show the failure of the Dutch state of law in which the police didn’t deal with 27,500 cases in 2018 even though it had indications about the perpetrators. Another program of the series would discuss the intimidation of more than half of the women in Amsterdam in the streets. In the age category 15-34 years, the bother is as high as 81 percent. Almost every woman in Amsterdam is harassed in the street, in public transport or when going out. Another program would deal with failed integration politics that result in many Turkish citizens of the democratic Netherlands voting for the reduction of democracy in Turkey and in support of Erdogan.  

Such a movie could also show that 54% of boys and men born from at least one Moroccan parent in the Netherlands have committed at least one crime by the age of 22. This as opposed to 14% of the entire population.  It could also register the shouts of "Hamas Hamas, Jews to the gas," at Dutch football stadiums when the Amsterdam Ajax football team plays there. It could furthermore show pictures of ISIS adherents marching through The Hague and shouting "death to the Jews."

In the days close to the last NTR program broadcast about Israel it became known that the number of antisemitic incidents in the Netherlands in 2019 was higher than ever in the past thirty years. It is also known from a 2011 study by the University of Bielefeld that 38% of the Dutch adult population or 5 million people agree with the extremely false statement that Israel conducts a war of extermination against the Palestinians. This is the result of the widespread anti-Israel incitement in The Netherlands. 

It is a pity that the TV series of Heertje and Bromet is in Dutch. If it were in English, it could be used internationally to teach students how incompetent and biased journalists defame Israel by deleting much essential information. 



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