The Netherlands’ Profound Hypocrisy on the Jews

SPECIAL REPORT

The following report is reproduced in full with permission from the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

by Dr Manfred Gerstenfeld

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The Netherlands’ attitude towards the Jews reveals Dutch society to be profoundly hypocritical. The Dutch government remains the only one in Western Europe that consistently refuses to admit, let alone apologize for, the massive failures of its predecessors towards the Jews during WWII. Ignoring the truth of its past enables the Dutch government and parts of the political system to act as moral judges over others, with Israel a prime target.

The Netherlands is a profoundly hypocritical society. To prove such a statement in detail would require a lengthy book. One shortcut to support this claim is to look at the history of the relationship between Dutch Jews and the society at large.

The synagogue in Veghel, the Netherlands. All the Jews in the town of Veghel were killed during the Holocaust.  Photo via Wikipedia

The extreme behaviour of the Dutch is not readily visible. The Netherlands isn’t particularly hospitable to its Jews, but neither can one rank its attitude towards them among Europe’s worst. Only a handful of foreign correspondents are based in the country, so negative aspects of the Netherlands rarely make it into the international media.

In May 1940, the Netherlands was occupied by the invading Germans within a matter of days. In the years to follow, more than 70% of its 140,000-strong Jewish population were murdered after having been sent to German camps, mainly in Poland. In the preparatory activities for what would lead to genocide, the Dutch authorities followed Nazi orders. Dutch police arrested Jews, including babies, simply for being Jews. Dutch railways transported Jews to the Dutch transit camp Westerbork, and from there to the German border. Dutch police guarded the Jews in the camp.

The Dutch government in exile in London gave no instructions to the bureaucracy in their occupied country. One government employee in London, Henri Dentz, wrote a report in December 1943 that stated that most Dutch Jews had already been murdered. This report was sent to all ministries and to a number of other Dutch institutions in London, including the Red Cross. After the war, Dentz testified that nobody wanted to read it.

While authorities in the occupied Netherlands assisted the Nazis, a small minority of good Dutchmen helped 24,000 Jews to hide. A third of these were ultimately betrayed. According to a historian with whom I spoke, the Netherlands was the only occupied country in which a group of volunteers and a special police unit were paid to hunt down Jews in hiding.

In spite of all this, the Dutch government remains the only one in Western Europe to consistently refuse to admit the huge failures of its wartime predecessors towards the Jews. Even the small states of Luxembourg and Monaco have admitted their wartime misconduct and offered apologies.

In an interview with an Israeli government radio station in 2000, then Dutch PM Wim Kok said: “The Dutch have never been responsible for the misconduct of the Germans in the Netherlands during the war.” He made no reference to the responsibility for wartime misconduct towards Dutch Jews by Dutch authorities, institutions, and many individuals. It was a classic straw man argument. No one accuses the Dutch of committing the Nazis’ crimes, only of committing their own.

This absence of admission and apology for crimes and negligence is a key element of the hypocrisy of Dutch society. That hypocrisy can be seen in Dutch behaviour elsewhere. The Netherlands committed major war crimes in the military campaigns of 1947 and 1948 – euphemistically known as “police actions” – in its then colony, the Dutch Indies, now Indonesia.

Over the decades, hardly anyone has cared about those Dutch crimes, even after the publication of information about them. Consider, for example, the case of Dutch officer Raymond Westerling, who was in charge of “pacifying” parts of the island of Sulawesi during the Indonesian war. An interview with him in which he admitted to war crimes was filmed in 1969. Not a single Dutch TV station agreed to broadcast it. It was finally shown in 2012. In 1971, Westerling told a journalist over a glass of diluted whisky that he had court-martialed 350 captives and personally executed them. Again, no action was taken by justice authorities. In the late 1960s, a young Dutch historian, Cees Fasseur, was officially charged with investigating these “police actions.” He later admitted the superficial nature of his research.

In 1997, historian Ad van Liempt wrote a book, The Train of Corpses, in which he detailed how the Dutch starved to death about half of the local captives on a train transport during that war. Van Liempt told me that many had found it scandalous that he had written the book. A Dutch filmmaker known personally to me made a movie in 1995 about the Dutch army’s mass killings of hundreds of men in the village of Rawagede on the island of Java. He told me the locals spoke of similar crimes that had taken place in nearby villages.

In 2017, Dutch-Swiss historian Rémy Limpach published an 870-page book – with more than 2,400 footnotes – about Dutch war crimes that had been committed in 1947 and 1948 in the Dutch Indies against independence fighters and criminal bands. He concluded that these crimes were structural, not incidental, as had been previously claimed. The book gives many examples of the soldiers committing arson, torturing and shooting prisoners, and killing women and children. It also mentions their rape of minors. Several reviews were published, but there were no major reactions in Dutch society.

I asked two leading Dutch historians why the Netherlands is so indifferent towards its problematic past. Frank van Vree answered: “The history of war memory shows that the Netherlands is willing to look at the weaknesses of its society. But at the same time, the obstinate thought exists that the Netherlands has erred in many ways; but all in all, it has done many things better than others…The feeling of  ‘if we haven’t done it well, we’ve done it better than others’ is deeply ingrained in Dutch culture. On the one hand, there is an acknowledgement, on the other hand, there is glossing over.”

Hans Blom said, “The Netherlands is a country where the need to make compromises was present very intensely early in its history. In addition, one can say that the Netherlands in the 19th and 20th century has developed a tradition to think that ‘we’ are a country with very high moral standards. In the 19th century, it became unavoidably clear that the powerful Netherlands of the Republic of the United Netherlands was no longer a significant factor…In these small Netherlands, a self-image emerged that it is nicer to be the world’s most moral nation, rather than the most powerful. In such a tradition of high moral self-image, it is more difficult to publicly and properly treat events where that is evidently not the case.”

In this environment of make-believe, Dutch PM Mark Rutte even dared, in 2015, to say about the Netherlands: “We have a marvellously perfect country, full of energy and creativity.”

The above are only some examples of Dutch indifference to its own criminal past. Many others can be added. Neglecting this past enables the Dutch government and parts of the political system to act as moral judges over others. Israel is a prime target.

Dr Manfred Gerstenfeld­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ is a Senior Research Associate at the BESA Center and a former chairman of the Steering Committee of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He specializes in IsraeliWestern European relations, anti-Semitism, and anti-Zionism, and is the author of The War of a Million Cuts.

The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (also known by its acronym, the BESA Center) is an independent, non-partisan think tank conducting policy-relevant research on Middle Eastern and global strategic affairs, particularly as they relate to the national security and foreign policy of Israel and regional peace and stability.

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Hizb ut-Tahrir. Ban this terrorist organisation now!

Hizb ut-Tahrir: Antisemitic. Anti-Christian. Pro Pan-Islamist Terrorist Organization. Banned in many Muslim countries, but not in the UK, USA or Canada!

Hizb ut-Tahrir regards itself as a “peaceful pan-Islamist organization.” What complete and utter garbage!

   by Alan Simons

Hizb ut-Tahrir is front and centre of an enthusiastic Islamist bunch of antisemitic, anti-West, anti-Christian, anti-capitalist and anti-democratic educated ideological vicious revolutionists.

I’ve been reporting on this terrorist group for nearly twelve years. To remind my readers and to put it as succinctly as possible: This terrorist organisation wants to conquer the world with its blatant egregious wish to demolish the democratic system of your government and in its place initiate a caliphate in your country. It has been quietly waiting in the shadows for the opportunity to pronounce itself as the foremost trustworthy leader in the Muslim world. Their timing is impeccable. Their aim is clearly defined. I repeat. To establish an Islamic Caliphate or Islamic state in your country and to resume the Islamic way of life for all.

Over the years Hizb ut-Tahrir has matured into a global sophisticated organisation that maintains the illusion, to ignorant Westerners, that they have an interest in reaching its goals of a caliphate peacefully and through non-violent means.  Poppycock! They believe the establishment of the caliphate would provide stability and security. This forms part of their primary objective.

 Hizb ut-Tahrir YouTube video

By last count, Hizb ut-Tahrir is operating in more than 50 countries worldwide including the USA, Canada and the UK. Australia has been pussyfooting to ban the organisation for years. However, HuT is “banned in many Muslim-majority countriesincluding Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Uzbekistan. In Malaysia, the Selangor Fatwa Committee  has outlawed Hizb ut-Tahrir, declaring the group ‘deviant.’   

Recently the Indonesian government, the most populous Muslim country in the world, revoked Hizb ut-Tahrir’s charter, “citing incompatibility with government regulations extremism and national ideology.” Needless to say, Hizb ut-Tahrir is currently fighting Indonesia’s revocation with the same vigour as they do in expressing their hatred of Jews. And boy, do they hate Jews!

In the UK, the group’s so-called world ‘nerve-centre’ headquarters, Hizb ut-Tahrir, according to The Times“has relocated to the Sparkhill area of Birmingham, which has been home to several convicted terrorists, including the UK’s first al-Qaeda inspired terrorist. The Times adds, it has now set its sights on Birmingham’s inner-city youth and “has launched a recruitment drive in an inner-city neighbourhood that is linked to more homegrown terrorists than anywhere else in the UK.

“Campaign materials for its youth roadshow, launched in July, make no mention of the group’s name and do not feature its usual logo of the Islamic state flag. They instead aim to present the group, which two prime ministers considered banning, as an innocuous community organisation.”

The Daily Mail went one step further. Last week in an article they reported Hizb ut-Tahrir, “is using children as young as 13 to peddle books supporting suicide bombing and jihad in Britain.”

They added: “An undercover reporter who attended a number of the meetings was sold books suggesting suicide strikes are acceptable, and others saying jihad was ‘compulsory’ to spread the message of Islam.

“The group allowed a 13-year-old to sell pamphlets comparing Westerners to animals over their ‘filthy promiscuity’ and urging followers to shun British culture.

“The reporter also saw children as young as ten bowing their heads in prayer and reading from the Koran at meetings – despite Hizb ut-Tahrir’s claim only over-16s can ‘engage’ in its work.”

In addition, The Daily Mail research found:

  • A member boasted of having active recruiters at universities including Oxford, University College London and the School of Oriental and African Studies – despite the group being banned from speaking on campuses;
  • A separate Hizb ut-Tahrir speaker said ‘we need to try to change’ homosexuals;
  • Devotees are warned that women will be punished for leaving home ‘uncovered’;
  • Followers, who believe ‘jihad’ should be waged against Israel, back Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for ‘saying it how it is’ amid the party’s anti-Semitism crisis.

None of this surprises me. It was in 2009 that I found Hizb ut-Tahrir showed its antisemitic hand. To quote from -18th Shawwal, 1430 A.H. Hizb ut-Tahrir. October 6, 2009.

  •         “Al-Quds [Jerusalem] cannot be liberated by resorting to protests and sit-in… it can only be restored by mobilizing armed forces to eliminate the Jewish entity!
  •         “That way is to mobilize the Muslim armies and bring together all able-bodied Muslims to eliminate the Jewish entity from its roots and only then will the al-Aqsa be liberated and cleared of the scum and evil of the Jews and their offsprings….
  •       “The way is to regard the entire Palestine as one right from the banks of the river in the east to the sea in the west, without differentiating the lands occupied in 1948 or in 1967; whoever relinquishes even one part of the land, actually facilitates surrender of part after part, whoever displays weakness, humiliation is his destiny…” 

Two years earlier, in 2007, BBCs Panorama took this organisation to task.  A former British supporter, referring to Hizb ut-Tahrir, stated, “They always promoted hatred, they promote hostility…”

Let us hope Sara Khan, chief of the British Government’s newly created Commission for Countering Extremism, as well as her equivalent colleagues in the USA and in Canada, will respond effectively and ban this abhorrent terrorist group now!

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Splenetic small-minded antisemite bigots of this world. We have your number!

“Let’s stop pussyfooting with terminology and call a spade a spade. The vile photo above published by a BDS group shows a hatred of all Jews and everything that is decent. It is time for ordinary Jews everywhere to raise their voices and cease being on the sidelines expecting others to do the work for them. 14 million Jews can and must make a difference. The clock is ticking”

..

   by Alan Simons

For the past twelve years, jewishinfoNews has done its best to live up to its mission statement which consists simply of two sentences. “To foster democratic participation for the achievement of peace and security between Jews and non-Jews by the free flow of information and knowledge, and to advance understanding, acceptance and solidarity between all people.” And secondly, “To reject intolerance, antisemitism/virulent Judeophobia, hate, Islamophobia, ethnocentric violence and conflict through dialogue and negotiation among individuals.” 

Nelson Mandela in his book  Long Walk to Freedom, said: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” 

Unfortunately, over the past twelve years of publishing jewishinfoNews, and especially over the past two years, I have seen a diminishing amount of love and in its place more diatribe than I ever imagined possible. Sadly, we no longer live in Nelson Mandela’s world, a world where hate and love can be used with such simplicity in the same sentence. And sadly, I’ve started to question the validity of our mission statement.

Over the years I have seen groups of splenetic small-minded antisemite bigots of this world become more adventurous in their misguided fantasy that we Jews are weak, pathetic individuals, without any backbone.

Over the years I have seen once respected newspapers, such as Britain’s The Guardian, turn its back on striving to present a balanced view of Middle East issues, to be now in the forefront of stoking the fires of antisemitism and hate.  And it is of no surprise, we find that one of their former journalists, a rabid Israel hater, is currently the British Labour Party’s Executive Director of Strategy and Communications under Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition.

Over the years I have seen NGOs and international rights groups fervently compete for funding by branding themselves as leading authorities on Middle East issues – translate this as Israel apartheid- yet refuse to focus their resources on victims of democide in the region. 

Which brings me to today. When the former UK and Commonwealth chief rabbi, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks warns of ‘existential threat’ to British Jews by the likes of Corbyn and his followers, we must not only listen but act.

To quote: “Britain’s former chief rabbi has doubled down on his scathing criticism of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, warning that Jewish people are thinking about leaving the United Kingdom because of the ‘existential threat’ of anti-Semitism. Jonathan Sacks told the BBC in an interview broadcast Sunday that for the first time in the 362 years Jews have lived in Britain, many question whether it is safe to raise children there.”

When Stephen Harper the former Prime Minister of Canada and Nobel Laureate Lord Trimble jointly publish in Britain’s The Telegraph this past week a blistering attack on the rise of antisemitism across Europe and with particular reference to Jeremy Corbyn, we must not only listen but act.

It was only a few years ago that the American Jewish newspaper, the Algemeiner, published an article about the lead photo featured above. The paper pointed out:

A Facebook page supporting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on Wednesday uploaded a Photoshop image of Nazi concentration camp prisoners holding anti-Israel signs. The picture, posted by a page named “I Acknowledge Apartheid Exists”, shows skeletal survivors holding up signs that read “Israel Assassins,” “Break the Silence on Gaza,” “Stop the Holocaust in Gaza” and “Stop US Aid to Israel.” A sign in the far back of the image says Gaza is “the world’s biggest concentration camp,” while another poster shows a Palestinian flag along with the words “Free Palestine.” A slogan at the bottom of the offensive image reads, “Whatever happened to ‘Never again?’”

“Non-Jews do not want to hear our complaints. They want to know our solutions.”

 Perhaps we should turn to Frank Luntz. For many years now, this US-based political and business pollster has been telling us that, “the Jewish community is often torn between those urging private pressure and those preferring to express public outrage. Matters are complicated by traditional territoriality among Jewish community groups and occasional splits between the local Jewish community and Israel.” He adds, “It does not matter what you say. What matters is what people hear.

“The hardest lesson for the Jewish community to grasp is that the best communication is education – and you have to listen before you can teach.”

The hardest lesson for the Jewish community to grasp is that the best communication is education – and you have to listen before you can teach. The reflexive, accusational approach, accusing opponents of antisemitism, may make us feel better, but it does not capture hearts or change minds. A more positive, aspirational approach, “build bridges, not boycotts”, is almost always more effective. Non-Jews do not want to hear our complaints. They want to know our solutions.”

Yet for the vast majority of Jews, we must understand right now that we need to urgently invest in leaders who are young enough to lead the next generation into battle. Young and articulate leaders, who speak, not the language of Mandela, not my language, and not, with no disrespect intended, the language of our dear Holocaust survivors, but the language of today. And in this respect, there are far too few young Jewish leaders able to rise up to the challenge.

As Luntz has said, “Greenpeace does not wait for the next oil spill or seal hunt. The Jewish community should not and cannot wait for the next bombing or boycott.” The time to organise is now! The clock is ticking.

“Never again!” for many Jews today seems to be just a dream fading into obscurity.

Shanah Tovah Umetukah. May you have a good and sweet year.

Alan Simons is the publisher and editor of jewishinfoNews.