President Shimon Peres and Dutch prime minist
President Shimon Peres and Dutch prime ministFlash 90

The Dutch Prime Minister has responded to a letter by the Simon Wiesenthal Center last month, in which he was asked to disband a statutory government body that has called on the Netherlands to develop closer ties to the terrorist organization Hamas at the expense of Israel.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s letter to Prime Minister Mark Rutte condemned a report by the Advisory Council on International Affairs, which calls for the Netherlands to distance itself from Israel and develop closer ties with Hamas.

In his response, dated October 20, Rutte said that the government has no control over the Advisory Council’s reports, noting it is a body which is independent from the Dutch government.

“The Dutch government has taken note on the views of the Council, which is an independent body that advises the government and parliament on foreign policy,” wrote Rutte.

“The government has no control over the content or subject matter of the Council’s reports. The decision to adopt or ignore a given recommendation is entirely up to the government,” he added.

“I would like to emphasize that the Netherlands is committed to a lasting and peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we will continue to support the peace process wholeheartedly in our foreign policy,” wrote Rutte.

In the original letter to Rutte, the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, said the Council’s report is riddled with factual errors and calls for closer ties with Hamas, a terrorist organization whose founding document invokes the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a basis to "carry out genocide against Israel's six million Jewish citizens."

The Protocol of the Elders of Zion is a fabricated document detailing Jewish plans to control the world.

Rabbi Cooper said, "It is clear that the advisory Council on Foreign Affairs has produced a fatally flawed document that does not serve the cause of peace but only the most extreme forces in the Middle East."

The letter also said it was dismayed at a worrying trend in the Netherlands quoting a university poll in 2011 that found "38% of Dutchmen thought Israel was exterminating the Palestinians."

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, who has published extensively on Dutch anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism, commented on Rutte’s response.

“This reply of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center is like an earlier one polite and saying very little,” he told Arutz Sheva.

“It doesn’t address major issues raised by SWC concerning Dutch anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism. Rabbi Cooper had asked in his letter to the Prime Minister that the Dutch government disbands the AIV Advisory Council, a statutory body which is financed by the Dutch Government. Its scandalous report on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, written at the demand of the Dutch Senate, has been taken apart in a detailed analysis by former Dutch parliamentarian Wim Kortenoeven. He has shown that the report has structurally falsified major facts and omitted essential data. These include the religious aspects many Muslims give to the conflict, the genocidal character of the Hamas charter and many others. The SWC was right in claiming that such a biased organization has no right of existence in a democracy such as the Netherlands. Mr. Rutte doesn’t refer to this at all.

“Rabbi Cooper also mentioned in his letter that 38% of Dutch adults believe the extremely evil lie that Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians. He also mentioned that he had broached this issue already in an earlier face-to-face meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher. Also on this issue Mr. Rutte remains silent. Avoiding these issues means that, most likely, additional incidents will occur soon which will justify further complaints against the Dutch Government.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)