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Posts Tagged ‘the Netherlands’

Netanyahu Visits the Netherlands, Praises Strong Stance on Iran

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, on a two-day trip to the Netherlands, lauded the support of the Dutch government in efforts to frustrate Iranian nuclear ambitions.

“The one issue in which we stand together is in opposing Iran’s nuclear ambitions,” Netanyahu said in a speech at the 17th-century Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam. “I thank the Dutch government for their strong stance on sanctions against Iran.”

Netanyahu also repeated an invitation to PA President Abbas to immediately revive direct talks.

 

Dutch Legislator Seeks Govt. Apology to Jews for Holocaust “Passivity”

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders called on the government of the Netherlandsto  issue an apology to the Jewish people for its “passive” role in the mass deportations of Jewish citizens by the Nazis during World War II.

Wilders, a Dutch right-wing politician and leader of the Netherlands’ third-largest political party, Party for Freedom,  wrote to Prime Minister Mark Rutte with the request on Wednesday, after two former Dutch government ministers said in a book published in October that the Netherlands did not take a strong enough stand on behalf of the Jews during the war.

Former health minister Els Borst was quoted in “Judging the Netherlands” by Manfred Gerstenfeld as saying that she believes the Dutch government in exile, led by Queen Wilhemina and Prime Minister Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy,  would have appealed more resolutely on behalf of the Jews to the Dutch people if the deportees had been Catholics or Protestants.  She was involved in talks during the 1990s on reparations for Jewish survivors, which led to an agreement in 200 to pay $180 million in restitution.

Former finance minister Gerrit Zalm, who was also involved in 1990s reparations talks, said in the book that he would also support calls for an official apology.

Wilders is a long-time vocal critic of what he perceives to be aggressive Islamic encroachment on the West, and a supporter of Israel’s war on terror.  He has praised Israel for defending the West against an Islamic onslaught, warning that “if we do not stop Islamification now, Eurabia and Netherabia will just be a matter of time.”

“Thanks to Israeli parents who send their children to the army and lay awake at night,” Wilders said in a speech in New York,  “parents in Europe and America can sleep well and dream, unaware of the dangers looming.”

Germany invaded the Netherlands in 1940 despite Dutch assertion as a neutral state.  When the first Jews were deported in 1941, Dutch citizens conducted the “February Strike” a unique general strike of Dutch workers in protest of the measure.   The Nazis responded by cracking down on protest leaders and acting even more harshly against the Jewish community.

The Dutch were the first Europeans to strike against Nazi actions against the Jews, followed only by the Danes and Luxemburgers. Only 30,000 of Holland’s 140,000 Jews survived the Holocaust.

Wilders wrote to Prime Minister Rutte that apologizing for not doing more is “the least thing to do”.

Spokesman Chris Breedveld said the government would carefully consider Wilders’ request.

In December 2010, Wilders flew to Israel and took part in a conference of MK Aryeh Eldad’s HaTikvah movement.  There, Wilders called Israel “an immense source of inspiration for me,”  saying “I will always defend Israel.” Wilders also reaffirmed the Jewish right to Judea and Samaria.  “Israel, including Judea and Samaria, has been the land of the Jews since time immemorial,” he said.  “Never in the history of the world has there been an autonomous state in the area that was not Jewish.”

In The Netherlands, Animals Are Winning, Jews Are Losing

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Animals are advancing in the Netherlands and Jews are regressing. There are many examples of this. A large building project was halted recently because it was the habitat of a protected owl. However, the habitat of the head of the Dutch Rabbinical Seminary, Rabbi Raf Evers – easily recognizable as a Jew by his clothing – is not protected. Due to aggressive behavior the rabbi has encountered – mainly from Muslims – he no longer uses public transportation and ventures out of his home as infrequently as possible.

Another example is the proposed law on the prohibition of ritual slaughter. The proposal has wide support among the Dutch population for whom, apparently, it is easier to understand the supposed mindset of a cow than that of an Orthodox Jew. The bill is presently supported in the Dutch parliament by a large majority, with only the three Christian parties opposing it, despite the fact that it would affect a small amount of kosher slaughter – 3,000 cows per year – and some halal slaughter.

The leader of the tiny left-wing Party for the Animals, Marianne Thieme, had supported her proposed law with poor scientific data and false claims, several of which have been debunked.

One of the myths she propagates is that the Rabbinical Assembly condones stunned ritual slaughter. The R.A. has since requested an apology from the Party for the Animals for this untruth. A recent study by world-renowned food science expert Professor Joe Regenstein at Cornell University is devastatingly critical of the Dutch scientific reports on which Thieme bases her claims. Advertisement

In the meantime, some cracks have begun to appear in the positions of the major parties that support the bill. In the largest opposition party, Labor – which draws the most Muslim voters – there is strong opposition in Amsterdam and several other branches. And there seems to be opposition to the bill in the country’s largest party, the Liberals of Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

There were also newspaper reports that there is substantial dissent in the Freedom Party of Geert Wilders. This anti-Islam Party had not understood that Orthodox Jews would become the main victims of the proposed law, since a majority of Muslims are willing to consume halal meat from stunned animals. Several PVV parliamentarians are very pro-Jewish and fight against the manifestations of anti-Semitism in the Netherlands.

Wilders probably understands by now that the many negative reactions to the proposed law from foreign Jewish organizations may have an impact on his international projects. When speaking abroad, the last thing Wilders needs are questions as to why he supports a major anti-Jewish measure at home.

But even if a compromise is found, damage to the Dutch image abroad has already been done. The long list of foreign Jewish organizations that have approached Parliament or the Dutch government with criticism of the bill has no precedent in Dutch history. It is clear to these organizations that if this law passes it will unleash further attacks on Jewish rituals in Europe.

Those who have expressed their criticism include the Anti-Defamation League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the American Jewish Committee, the World Jewish Congress, the European Jewish Congress, the Conference of European Rabbis, and the Assembly of Italian Rabbis.

In addition, the chief rabbi of Great Britain, Lord Sacks, and the chief rabbi of Moscow, Pinchas Goldschmidt, have written to the Dutch Parliament. The latter mentioned that under the totalitarian regime in the Soviet Union Jews were hoping for the day they could perform their religious rituals freely. They saw in the Netherlands a country of tolerance.

In the Netherlands itself, official Jewish voices are heard which are stronger in tone than anything said publicly by community leaders in the last fifty years. The only resident chief rabbi, Binyomin Jacobs, stated earlier this month on National Liberation Day: “Many Jews think back to the prelude of the Second World War . the psychological danger is major . There is fear.”

Rabbi Jacobs predicts that the next attacks on Jewish rituals will be the prohibition of circumcision and that Jewish schools will be forced to close because of a shortage of students.

In a recent book of mine, The Decay: Jews in a Rudderless Netherlands, the former Dutch EU commissioner and Liberal leader Frits Bolkestein was quoted as saying that Jews would do well to advise their children to leave the Netherlands for the U.S. or Israel.

A Warning To America

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

I wish I could take you all on a visit to my country and show you what Europe has become. It has changed beyond recognition as a result of mass immigration. And not just any mass immigration, but mass immigration driven by Islam.

Islam wants to establish a state on earth ruled by Islamic sharia law. Islam aims for the submission – whether by persuasion, intimidation or violence – of all non-Muslims.

The results can be seen in Europe.

Islam is an ideology of conquest. It uses two methods to achieve this goal.

The first method is the sword. The second method is immigration.

Islam’s founder Muhammad himself taught his followers how to conquer through immigration when they moved from Mecca to Medina.

This phenomenon of conquest through immigration is called al-Hijra. In Europe we have been experiencing al-Hijra for over 30 years now. Many of our cities have changed beyond recognition.

Just a few weeks ago, the British press revealed how the so-called London Taliban is threatening to kill women who do not wear veils in the London borough of Tower Hamlets.

In some neighborhoods Islamic regulations are already being enforced, also on non-Muslims. Women’s rights are being trampled. We are confronted with polygamy, female genital mutilation, and honor-killings where men murder their wives, daughters or sisters because they do not behave in accordance with Islamic rules.

Polls show the influence of those Muslims who live according to Islam’s requirements is growing, especially among young people.

Among 15-year-old German Muslims, 40 percent consider Islam more important than democracy.

Among Muslim university students in Britain, 40 percent support sharia. One in three of those students considers it legitimate to kill in the name of Islam.

Muhammad personally participated in the ethnic cleansing of Medina, where half the population once was Jewish. On his deathbed, he ordered his followers to cleanse Arabia of all Jews and Christians.

To this very day, Christian and Jewish symbols are prohibited in countries like Saudi Arabia.

If you wear a cross or a kippah in certain urban areas in Europe today, you risk being beaten up. In the capital of my own country, Amsterdam, a tram driver was forced to remove his crucifix from sight – while his Muslim colleagues are allowed to wear the veil.

In June 2008, the Christian church authorities in the Danish town of Arhus decided to pay so-called protection money to Islamic so-called security guards who ensure that churchgoers are not harassed by Islamic youths.

On March 31, 2010, Muslims entered the Roman Catholic cathedral of Cordoba, Spain, and attacked the guards with knives. They claimed the cathedral was theirs.

Last month, the bishops of Sweden sent out a letter to priests advising them to avoid converting asylum seekers from Islamic countries to Christianity, because the converts would risk losing their lives.

Meanwhile Jews are no longer safe on European streets. In Amsterdam, the city of Anne Frank, Jews are again being harassed. Even political leaders acknowledge that life has become unsafe for Jews in Holland. Do you know what they said? They advised Jews to emigrate.

What is needed is a spirit of resistance.

Why?

Because resistance to evil is our moral duty. This resistance begins with expressing our solidarity with Christians, with Jews – indeed to all people worldwide – who are the victims of Islam. There are millions of them.

We can see what Islam has in store for us if we watch the fate of the Christians in the Islamic world, such as the Copts in Egypt, the Maronites in Lebanon, the Assyrians in Iraq.

Almost every day, churches are torched and Christians are killed in Islamic countries.

Rivers of tears are flowing from the Middle East, where there is only one safe haven for Christians. You know where that is.

The only place in the Middle East where Christians are safe is Israel.

That is why Israel deserves our support. Israel is a safe haven for everyone, whatever his or beliefs and opinions. Israel is a beacon of light in a region of total darkness. Israel is fighting our fight.

The jihad against Israel is a jihad against all of us. If Israel falls, we, too, will feel the consequences. If Jerusalem falls, Athens, Rome, Amsterdam – and Nashville, Tennessee – will fall.

The Anchor Who Fell For An Obvious Hoax

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Back in November 1991, Forbes FYI, a supplement to Forbes magazine, ran an article that, as had to have been clear to anyone of even piddling intelligence, was an obvious put-on, a joke, a hoax.

The article began with the notice that “It has come to our attention through private channels that the Soviet government is preparing to make a very unusual, indeed unprecedented, offering: the embalmed remains of [founder of Soviet Communism] V.I. Lenin.”

The piece went on to explain: “With its ruined economy fast approaching crisis point, and a severe winter food shortage looming, the Russian government is being forced to undertake some very drastic measures in an attempt to bring in desperately needed hard currency…. The Deputy Minister, Mr. Victor Komplectov, first proposed selling Lenin’s remains last April, pointing to the enormous profits earned by the British government when it sold London Bridge to an Arizona developer in 1962.”

If the analogy between a bridge and a corpse wasn’t enough to tip off even the most credulous of readers, the following should have been:

“In an attempt to save the significant commission that an auction house such as Christie’s or Sotheby’s would charge – as well as to discourage an extraordinary, and to the Russians, unseemly, public spectacle – the [Interior] Ministry has decided to hold a closed, sealed bid auction. Bids must be received by the Ministry no later than midnight (Moscow time) on December 31 of this year…. A condition of the sale is that the Lenin corpse not be used for any ‘commercial, or improper’ purpose, the deed of purchase to be administered by the International Court of Justice at The Hague, in the Netherlands, making the conditions of sale enforceable by that international legal community.”

And if, by chance, there breathed an individual so naïve or intellectually challenged that he still had no idea his leg was being royally pulled, here was the description of the Lenin corpse offered by Forbes FYI: “Mr. Lenin’s body was embalmed at his death in 1924, and stored in a sealed, climate-controlled glass casket. (Shades of Sleeping Beauty!) It has been periodically re-embalmed. Every five to ten years the skin, somewhat yellowish but by no means jaundiced-looking, requires a special application of preservative, or ‘waxing.’ Under the terms of sale, maintenance is to be provided only by qualified Russian mortuary specialists from the Interior Ministry, expenses to be paid by the purchaser. (Estimated annual upkeep: $10,0000-$15,0000; varies with climate.)”

Finally, there was this: “Obviously, the Lenin corpse is not for everyone. But as a conversation piece, it would certainly have no equal. You might have some explaining to do to the lady of the home, but the item is fairly compact and could be accommodated to fit most large dens.”

Several years after the article appeared, Christopher Buckley, the then-editor of Forbes FYI (which would be renamed ForbesLife in 2006) reminisced about the incident on C-Span’s “Booknotes,” describing to host Brian Lamb the transparently phony details of the story and how the piece had been faxed to news organizations at the precise time the day’s evening newscasts were being prepared.

Most journalists were a little too savvy to fall for the hoax, related Buckley. There was, however, one exception.

“I was on my NordicTrack cross-country ski machine that night watching Peter Jennings … and on came a photo of Lenin. And I thought, ‘Oh, my God.’ I felt a little bit like, you know, the kid who puts the rock on the railroad track and the next day hears grownups talking about the train derailment. So that became a big story, quite a big story….”

How big? The interior minister of Russia, no doubt wondering why American networks employ morons as news anchors, had to make an appearance on Russian TV to reassure his people there was no plan to sell off Lenin’s corpse. Jennings subsequently apologized to viewers, saying “we were had.”

Why is the Monitor bringing this story up at this time? Well, August 7 marks the 4th anniversary of Peter Jennings’s passing, and the Monitor detested everything about Jennings – his smarmy demeanor, his skewed reporting, his pronounced anti-U.S. and anti-Israel bias, and the way his colleagues showered him with so many posthumous tributes you’d have thought he was a tribune of unvarnished truth and objectivity, a figure of unimpeachable trustworthiness, Diogenes’s Honest Man personified.

Jennings was none of those things, and apparently he wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer either.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Title: Rembrandt’s Jews

Wednesday, February 11th, 2004

Title: Rembrandt’s Jews
Author: Steven Nadler
Publisher: University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL

 

There is currently a major retrospective of the works of Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn at the Fine Arts Museum in Boston. Rembrandt, who was born in 1606 in Leiden, the Netherlands, became one of the most prolific painters of all time.

Rembrandt, who is particularly known for his psychological insight, worked in many media, including oils, charcoal, and, famously, in copperplate etchings from which he “pulled” numerous prints in various editions. He experimented with colors, chiaroscuro (light and shade), pigments and artistic materials.

Moving his artist’s atelier and workrooms from Leiden to Amsterdam was particularly propitious, both for his own livelihood and for his many new patrons - and willing subjects – Amsterdam’s Jewish community. In this book Mr. Nadler provides not merely some biography of the artist, who is called the “Master of Masters,” but quite a bit of history of the Amsterdam kehilla and some of its members who were among Rembrandt’s subjects and patrons.

Seventeenth-century Amsterdam must have been an exciting place to live and work in. Located at the center of several trade routes, and with a very liberal attitude among its ruling elite, it became a magnet for Jews who were escaping persecution from Germany, Poland and Russia to the east and from the Iberian Peninsula to the south. As was the case in America, the Spanish and Portuguese conversos and other Sephardic Jews were the first to arrive, followed by their Ashkenazic brethren in later years.

Rembrandt established his atelier in the home he purchased at No. 4 Breestraat, which is now a museum incorporating many extant examples of his work. Within short walking distance are the Portuguese (Sephardic) and Ashkenazic synagogues, at which many of his subjects and patrons attended religious services.

Why were they such willing subjects and such avid patrons? According to Nadler, a “great and abiding fiction about Judaism is… wholesale rejection of visual arts,” that we don’t issue or collect representational art of people, animals or nature (i.e., landscapes). This is based on a literal interpretation of the second commandment, forbidding “graven images.”

Nadler points out this fallacy, and at least partly attributes the patronage of Amsterdam’s Jewish community to their need for “public relations” to demonstrate their arrival and success as a community, and their need to memorialize their lifestyle and momentous occasions. Remember – they didn’t have cameras. Many attribute the prominence of Jewish artists and collectors in abstract art to this cause. The Jewish community in Amsterdam and in the Netherlands in general achieved much success, and the art of Rembrandt and other artists of his time served to demonstrate their achievements.

Rembrandt is depicted as the only artist of his time who accurately included Hebrew phrases – in Hebrew – in various works. It is said that he studied Hebrew while a student at the University of Leiden, and that his portrait subject and patron, Rabbi Manasseh ben Israel, and others assisted him in accurately representing the Hebrew text exactly as it appeared in the siddur. Most other artists of his time merely “scribbled” lines of hieroglyphics as representational of Hebrew in their own works.

Professor Nadler is director of the Moses/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and is also the author of Spinoza: A Life, for which he was awarded the Year 2000 Koret Jewish Book Award for biography, as well as other titles. Although the present book is also quite nuanced with art history and historical biography, Nadler covers a lot of ground in a succinct, very readable, style. He touches on economics, geography, architecture and ethnography of the Jewish communities of the time. This thin volume (6×9 quarto, less than 250 pages, with index and chapter endnotes) packs in as much
information as a textbook, with the readability of a novel. This difficult-to-categorize book can even have its place as a Baedeker – a travel guide – the next time you make the “Grand Tour” and visit the artist’s studios and the synagogues and former Jewish residences in Amsterdam.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/title-rembrandts-jews/2004/02/11/

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