Saturday, October 27, 2007

On Thursday a report that I wrote, together with Markus Flamman and Indra Barry, for the Dutch-Jewish Center for Information and Documentation on Israel was published. The report's publication was covered by several Dutch media, and even Ha'Aretz contacted me for an interview. Here are links to some of the articles about the report that I found online:
  • NIS ( Dutch News in English )
  • Ha'Aretz ( link to the text of the original article. One of the feedbackers calls CIDI " Bar-On's ultra-right wing pro-settlement pressure group". Nobody will claim that CIDI is not pro-Israel, but you have to be totally unfamiliar with the Dutch situation and with CIDI's activities to call it ultra-right wing and pro-settlement. Notice that we do not have any problem with UCP's one-sidedness as such, only with the fact that that organization - unlike CIDI - is paid for entirely by five organizations that exist merely by the grace of Dutch and European public funds, funds that ought not to be used for a one-sided political smear campaign; a significant portion of the report deals with Palestinian-Israeli and Arab-Jewish cooperation projects that in our view - and according to experts - lay the foundation for a better future for both peoples, unlike the polarizing activities of UCP. In a reaction to the report an UCP spokeswoman refered to a passage in the report in which we describe how UCP-spokesman Lambrecht Wessels defended Iran's right to and desire for nuclear weapons in an opinion article ( "Iran wants to change, but on its own conditions", I wrote about that article earlier on this blog ). According to the spokeswoman "the situation in Iran is not within our mandate. We only concentrate on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians ". Our questions are: if that is so, why did Lambrecht Wessels, who in April still was one of the main faces and voices of UCP, write the opinion article? Why did he feel such an obvious urge to defend Iran's right to nuclear weapons, even though the country itself continues to claim that its nuclear program only has peaceful purposes? Why did he say that only America and Israel are the aggressors, and that Israel is wrong to assume that Iran's nuclear weapons would be used against the Jewish state? Why did he ignore the many threats that President Ahmadinejad has vented in the direction of the Jewish state? Why did he claim that the occupation of the Palestinian territories is one of the threats that push Iran towards seeking nuclear weapons? If the situation in Iran is not linked to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, why did Lambrecht Wessels wrote such an extensive opinion article about that situation? It should be noted here that UCP has not responded with respect to the report's content. In the report we already show how, when confronted with claims of one-sidedness, UCP and the organizations that participate in it defend that one-sidedness, often with the following rationale: the conflict kills more Palestinian than Israeli victims > Israel is stronger and bears most of the responsibility for the ( continuation of the ) conflict > only Israel should be pressured and punished.
  • ANP ( Netherlands national news agency ), press release found on the website of the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament )
  • Reformatorisch Dagblad ( Dutch daily ): used an ANP press release; the same press release was used by De Telegraaf.
  • A report on the Dutch news show Netwerk
  • Updaid ( A Dutch site about development aid and development countries )
  • Israel Matsav ( Israeli weblog )

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