Dutch government ‘obsessed’ with Israel, Simon Wiesenthal Center says

AMSTERDAM  — The Simon Wiesenthal Center said the Dutch government has an “obsession” with Israel following the publication of a foreign policy platform singling out the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

“The Dutch are fixated” on the conflict, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the center’s associate dean, wrote in an article published Tuesday by the Huffington Post website, co-authored with Manfred Gerstenfeld, an anti-Semitism researcher with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

The op-ed noted that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was the only international conflict mentioned in the coalition agreement of the new government of the Netherlands, which was announced this week.

The coalition agreement was reached following protracted negotiations between the ruling People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose center-right party was reelected in March, and three other partners, including the left-wing D66 party.

The 70-page coalition agreement states that “the Netherlands will contribute to peace and security in the Middle East, using its good relations with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to promote and achieve a two-state solution: an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state alongside a secure, internationally recognized Israel. We will also strive to improve relations between Israelis and Palestinians.”

The reference to Israel appears in the coalition agreement’s 590-word chapter devoted to foreign relations. The only other foreign countries mentioned in it are Germany, Belgium and Venezuela – all three in the context of bilateral relations requiring the lifting of obstacles or deserving “special attention,” in Venezuela’s case.

Despite growing concern in Europe about jihadists returning from Syria, where according to the United Nations some 400,000 died since 2011 in a civil war, the country is mentioned only once, in a section about the treatment of refugee children.

“Key European Union issues such as Brexit and the Catalonia conflict are absent. Nothing is mentioned about a nuclearized North Korea, nor about the problems with the nuclear agreement with Iran,” wrote Cooper and Gerstenfeld about the agreement. Iran’s name is absent altogether.

“Nothing about the Dutch military involvement in Afghanistan or its presence in Mali,” they added.

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