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First Published: Arutx Sheva -Tuesday, November 22, 2011`
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld
“The Netherlands is to a certain extent a decadent country, in particular if one observes Dutch society. In the 1960’s, a process started in which all forms of deviant behavior that one could imagine were openly tolerated. Normative behavior – civil decency – has been lost.”
Leon de Winter was born in 1954. He is one of the Netherlands’ best known writers. For several years he was associated with the Hudson Institute think tank. In 2006, he was awarded the Buber-Rosenzweig medal in Germany for his battle against anti-Semitic and racist attitudes in society.De Winter remarks: “I am a Dutchman and I very much like the Netherlands, its craziness, its contradictions and the schizophrenia. On the one hand, it has a strong Calvinist slant in combination with an almost anarchistic tolerance. Dutch Society continuously seeks equilibrium and has many faces, which makes it very interesting.“Identifying with Israel makes me Jewish. I am not religious, but I clearly show where my sympathies lie in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I think that many people take that as a sign of my Jewishness.”De Winter claims that he doesn’t care about “extreme reactions” to what he says. “When I have participated in a debate about Israel on TV, I do not want to know about the emails the station receives in response. I know that there are many negative remarks about me on Moroccan, Muslim and Neo-Nazi websites, but I’m not going to search for them.“I also do not frequent places where a confrontation could take place.
On the trains, I am sometimes cursed at by Moroccan youngsters who want to provoke a Dutch passenger if they see that he or she doesn’t like their noise-making, for instance.”
About Israel, De Winter says: “A number of Dutchmen who are part of the political establishment express sentiments which they call anti-Zionist, while at the same time they will claim, ‘But I am not an anti-Semite.’ Whoever is obsessed with the fate of the Palestinians, which is relatively light compared to that of many others, also suffers from an excessive interest in Jews. For anti-Semites, “Zionism” becomes a cover to express themselves negatively about Jews.“It is intriguing how these problems have become an obsession for some people. The non-Jewish Dutchman can choose to focus on many different sufferings in the world. It could very well be that people know that this particular conflict will always draw attention.
“In the Netherlands there is a small anti-Israeli Jewish organization called ‘Another Jewish Voice.’ They continuously claim, ‘We Jews have lived through the Shoah and have an obligation to exhibit the highest morals.’ They present the Shoah as an educational institute for Jews to teach Jewish morals. In other words, the Nazis held courses in the concentration camps in order to imbue Jews with humanity. These are Jews who pervert the memory of the Shoah. It is a noisy group which attracts much media attention because its conveys a message which many non-Jews like to hear.
“The Dutch newspapers put Israel on the front page all the time – as if what happens there is the most important thing in the world. The mass murders in Darfur and Congo with their huge death counts in recent years are apparently irrelevant because the newspapers write very little about them.
“The radio and TV have created intense images. One sees in the Netherlands an enormous change in the depiction of Israel in the past 25 years. The media has been influenced by news sent back home by Dutch correspondents in the Middle East and the filtered information. It is also related to changes in democratic attitudes and the immigration of North African and Turkish Muslims to the Netherlands and Europe.
“The classic hard core anti-Semitism among North Africans in the Netherlands is very worrying. It is related to the identification of Moroccan youngsters with Palestinians and with viewpoints that are part of traditional Islam. Yet in the Dutch community, there also remain stereotypes about Jews.”De Winter concludes: “What is happening in the Netherlands and Europe is a prelude of terrible things to come. The great story of the love Jews have for Europe has come to an end. In this sense, the Nazis have been successful. The presence of Jews in Europe will end.“Instead of restless, difficult, creative, funny and smart Jews, Europe has imported Muslims who are generally poorly educated and frequently frustrated, aggressive and destructive. I have written about these issues for years already. But people only start to understand it a little bit when something dramatic happens such as the murder of the Dutch media maker Theo van Gogh, or the suicide attacks in London.”
This is a shortened version of an interview which appeared in Dutch in Manfred Gerstenfeld’s bestselling book “The Decay: Jews in a Rudderless Netherlands.”(2010)
The writer has been a long-term adviser on strategy issues to the Boards of several major multinational corporations in Europe and North America. He is the Chairman of the Board of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
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FESSING UP TO FOREIGN (POLICY) FAILURE IS FIRST STEP TO PREVENTING MORE DANGEROUS DISASTERS, PROTECTING WEST
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