Dutch plan to reveal university ties to Israel and Jews 'reeks of antisemitism'

Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt condemns 'attempts to stigmatise and incite prejudice'


Former Dutch prime minister Dries van Agt *2008

Dutch university staff have been ordered to reveal ties to Israeli and Jewish bodies - a move Holland’s Chief Rabbi says “reeks of antisemitism”.

Pro-Palestine advocacy group The Rights Forum put in a freedom of information request to force the disclosures.Administrators at more than a dozen universities in the Netherlands are now compiling information on links to Israeli and Jewish organisations.

Gerard Jonkman, director of The Rights Forum, said the request was to find out about “institutional ties with Israel universities, institutions and businesses and with organisations that propagate support for the State of Israel.

”But the lists of bodies includes Jewish communal organisations, among them the Central Jewish Board of the Netherlands, the Anti-Defamation League, and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

In a statement, Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands Binyomim Jacobs said: “The clear inference is that some shadowy Zionist/Jewish cabal is operating in the Dutch university system. This reeks of antisemitism, but it comes as no surprise to me given this group’s reputation…

“What really concerns me is the number of universities that were so compliant with such a transparently antisemitic request.

“It reminds us that most mayors cooperated during the occupation to pass on the names of their Jewish citizens to the Germans.”

Under Dutch freedom of information law, The Rights Forum is also requesting information on links to Elbit, the Israeli weapons manufacturer, B'nai B'rith and Christians For Israel.

It is unclear whether university administrators will comply with the request and hand over the information to The Rights Forum.

President of the Conference of European Rabbis Pinchas Goldschmidt said: “The ironically-named ‘Rights Forum’ has revealed its dystopian, antisemitic core.

“We urge Dutch universities to use all available means to resist their attempts to stigmatise and incite prejudice against Jews. We stand in solidarity with the Dutch Jewish community.”

The Rights Forum was established in 2009 by former Dutch Prime Minister Dries Van Agt to promote a “just and durable solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict”, according to its website.

The Forum says it aims to “monitor Dutch politics and reveal what positions politicians take regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” and “record violations of international law which the parties commit and report on these”.

Mr Agt, who served as Prime Minster from 1977 to 1982, has been repeatedly accused of antisemitism.

In 2008 he compared Israel to Nazi Germany, and in 2017 he praised the Dutch Labour party for being “good for the Palestinians despite the strong Jewish lobby”.

While serving as Justice Minister Mr Agt cited his “Aryan roots” as a reason to pardon four Nazi war criminals.

The Rights Forum has been contacted for comment.

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