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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘mark Rutte’

Dutch Premier Honors Pro-Israel Activist

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

Ronny Naftaniel, the former leader of Holland’s main pro-Israel lobby, was feted by the Dutch prime minister and hundreds of others.

“I grew up observing you,” Premier Mark Rutte told Naftaniel Monday at a speech at Naftaniel’s retirement party at the Hague’s Royal Theater. “Your optimism is unparalleled and as long as you maintain that courage, so shall we.”

Naftaniel led the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, for approximately 40 years. In addition to pro-Israel work, under Naftaniel the center became the country’s leading watchdog on anti-Semitism.

Also in attendance were former foreign minister Maxime Verhagen and Frits Bolkestein, an ex-European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services.

Established in the wake of the 1973 Arab oil boycott, the Hague-based center has a staff of about 10 and is considered one of Western Europe’s most active pro-Israel groups. Along with its youth division, CIDI sends dozens of Dutch and Belgian journalists, teachers and politicians on fact-finding mission to Israel annually.

Haim Divon, Israel’s ambassador to the Netherlands, said: “You are the voice of the Dutch Jewry and saying ‘thank you’ doesn’t begin to cover it.”

In interviews with Dutch media, Naftaniel said that because of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic tendencies, CIDI’s work “is unfortunately more relevant now than ever.” He added: “I found the turnout extremely impressive. Friends of Israel from all corners of the Netherlands and beyond came especially for this event and I hope it shows something about what my work has meant for the community.”

In addition to his work for Israel and against anti-Semitism, Naftaniel also had a key role in restitution talks with the Dutch government for Holocaust-era property, which yielded $500 million in compensation in the years 2000-2002.

Dutch Premier Opposes Banning Israeli Products

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

The Netherlands opposes any kind of import ban on Israeli products, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, though it must enforce European Union legislation on labeling settlement goods.

“I would like to stress that the Netherlands opposes any type of import ban or the boycott of Israeli products,” a Dutch official wrote in Rutte’s name last month to the European Jewish Congress, or EJC.

The letter, obtained by JTA, was sent to EJC President Moshe Kantor in response to Kantor’s letter to several EU heads of states, including Rutte, in which Kantor warned that labeling products from areas the European Union considers as illegal settlements was counterproductive to efforts to reach a peace settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Rutte’s letter followed reports in July that several Dutch supermarkets were boycotting “settlement goods,” though the supermarkets denied they had such a policy.

In March, the Dutch government advised business owners to refrain from labeling products from the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem as made in Israel.

A decision last year by the EU Foreign Affairs Council to label settlement goods “obliges the Dutch government to fully and effectively enforce existing EU legislation,” Rutte wrote.

The council has yet to release practical guidelines on labeling.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague struck a less conciliatory note in his reply to Kantor’s letter.

“I am afraid that I cannot agree with your concerns about EU labeling of settlement produce,” he wrote. “The settlements are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace.”

On Sept. 16, Kantor published a full-page ad in the Financial Times of London arguing against new EU guidelines prohibiting EU funding for Israeli projects in areas the European Union considers settlements.

The ad said the guidelines singled out Israel for criticism and “serve to minimize the chances for lasting peace.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/dutch-premier-opposes-banning-israeli-products/2013/09/24/

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