Sunday, January 04, 2009

Intifadah in the Low Countries?

I would like to thank the DBI readers who sent me a link to this videoclip of the anti-Israel demonstration yesterday in Amsterdam ( supported by 25 leftwing, Muslim and Palestinian organizations, about 1,500 participants according to the police ), and to photographer Thomas Schlijper ( excellent website, beautiful pictures; he happens to be a friend of a friend of mine, who mentioned Thomas's name when I interviewed him ) for making the clip and posting it on YouTube. The New Dutch and the New Left can be seen demonstrating against Israel, ahum, for the Hamas and Hezbollah, ahum, for ayatollah Khomeini, ahum, I almost forgot ( as did the demonstrators, it appears ), for the people of Gaza. Very creative slogans such as "Allahu Akbar", "Hamas, Jihad, Hizbullah", "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas" can be clearly heard while Dutch MP ( of the socialist SP, not to be confused with the social-democrat Labor party, which is part of the government right now ) Harry van Bommel and others walk in front, undisturbed by anything being shouted behind them, and shouting "Intifadah, Intifadah, Palestina Free!". That slogan echoes the call, by Khaled Mashaal - that other supporter of the Palestinians in Gaza, who lives ( or maybe today: hides ) in or around Damascus -, for a third Intifadah. While Israel and the Jews are often cursed, verbally attacked, and unilaterally accused these days in Holland ( as anywhere else ) on online fora, in demonstrations, and in various printed and electronic media, I do not get the impression that those attacks are carried out or those feelings of hatred shared by a majority of the Dutch. First of all, several courageous columnists and other opinion makers have spoken out against the onesided condemnations of Israel, and some even openly supported its actions. But also in online feedbacks you can see that many ordinary Dutchmen and -women understand quite well whom Israel is fighting against, and that Hamas - and Islamism in general - is not only a problem for Israel. There seems to be a stark contrast between what you see, read and hear in some, maybe most, media and what the average Dutch citizen thinks. Finally, the Dutch government ( and particularly the Dutch Prime Minister Balkenende and Foreign Minister Verhagen, both members of the Christian Democratic party CDA ) has maintained a very balanced approach, calling on both parties to stop the violence but refusing to condemn Israel for defending its citizens against the attacks by Hamas.

No comments: