Jewish lobby shocked by Liberation Day debate
3 May 2006, AMSTERDAM — Reform Minister Alexander Pechtold has outraged the Jewish Community in the Netherlands by his decision to debate with the controversial leader of the Arab European League (AEL) on Liberation Day.
3 May 2006
AMSTERDAM — Reform Minister Alexander Pechtold has outraged the Jewish Community in the Netherlands by his decision to debate with the controversial leader of the Arab European League (AEL) on Liberation Day.
Pechtold and AEL founder Dyab Abou Jahjah are taking part in a discussion on "Terrorism versus Freedom" during the Liberation Day festivities in the central Dutch town of Wageningen on Friday 5 May.
The town played a key role at the end of World War II in the Netherlands. General Johannes Blaskowitz, commander of the German forces in the Netherlands, surrendered to Canadian General Charles Foulkes in Wageningen on 6 May 1945.
The Netherlands remembers its dead in that war and other conflicts on 4 May every year. Liberation Day ceremonies are held on 5 May.
The Hague-based Centre Information and Documentation Israel (CIDI) sent an angry letter to Pechtold about his involvement in the debate with Jahjah. CIDI said it was "totally objectionable that Pechtold would draw swords in debate, precisely on the day that the Netherlands celebrates its liberation from the Nazis, with a man who wants to abolish Israel and set communities against each other."
Jahjah has been accused of supporting the call for the destruction of Israel and anti-Semitic cartoons were placed on the AEL website for a short time earlier this year at the highpoint of the row about the Danish Mohammed cartoons.
A Lebanese-born Shi'a Muslim living in Belgium. Jahjah founded the AEL in Antwerp in 1991. It launched its Dutch branch over two years ago. The group is avowedly anti-Israel and has signalled support for attacks on US and International troops in Iraq.
The Dutch intelligence service AIVD has monitored and eaves-dropped on AEL meetings and has placed operatives within its ranks. Jahjah is suspected by the Belgian authorities of forming a private militia and of inciting violence.
Separately, Dutch rail company NS confirmed its trains will stop running at 8pm on Thursday 4 May to allow the crew and passengers to observe the two-minute silence for Remembrance Day.
The NS will hold its own ceremony in Utrecht at 1pm to remember its personnel who were killed during the Second World War. Ceremonies will also be held at other NS stations around the country.
The Transport Ministry reminded motorists not to stand on the hard shoulder of highways to take part in the two-minute silence. Traffic displays over main roads advised car drivers to go to a car park if they want to join the tribute. Similar advice was relayed teletext and traffic updates on radio stations in a bid to prevent accidents.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news