Friday, November 21, 2014

The Netherlands: Dutch officials demonize Israelis

An increasingly popular argument, when certain Dutch officials and Muslim commentators discuss Islamic State [IS] jihadists from Europe, is that these jihadists are really no different from European Jews who choose to serve in the Israel Defense Forces [IDF].

In The Netherlands this trend seems to have started when an op-ed, entitled, "Jihad for Israel," written for Al-Jazeera by Columbia University PhD. candidate Hanine Hassan, was translated into Dutch for the website "Wij Blijven Hier," which means "We Are Here To Stay." The website is hugely popular among Dutch youths from a Muslim background.  The main thesis of the op-ed was that serving in the IDF should be as punishable as joining IS, as the IDF, too, is a genocidal regime, just like IS.

The truth is that there has never been an Israeli genocide against Palestinians, neither systematic nor acute, and that Israel has done everything in its power apart from not going to war at all -- that is, apart from surrendering -- to spare innocent lives, including the lives of the people trying to destroy it. This argument falls on deaf ears among many Muslims, as well as on those of the youths who support them.  Sadly, it was not long before more prominent and mainstream Dutch figures began expressing similar thoughts. 

Pieter Broertjes, Labour Party mayor of the Dutch city and "media capital" Hilversum, said during a radio interview, when asked what to do about Dutch Muslims travelling to foreign battlegrounds: "They are adults. Dutch citizens went to Israel to fight the British, we didn't stop them either."  After his remarks produced a backlash, Broertjes's spokesperson formally apologized, but not Broertjes himself, although he did comment on his self-described "clumsy" comparison during later interviews.

A few months earlier, his Labour Party colleague, Yasmina Haifi, championed the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion, by stating (with a straight face): "ISIS has nothing to do with Islam. It is part of a plan by Zionists who are deliberately trying to blacken Islam's name" -- in other words, part of the supposed "Zionist conspiracy."

Jan Wijenberg, a former Dutch Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Yemen among other places, and known for his fierce anti-Israeli stance, wrote an op-ed that took the comparison even further: "The IS goal is to establish a utopian religious state, just as the Zionists have done."

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