Herzog Dutch Holocaust Museum visit prompts angry protests

  • Post last modified:March 10, 2024
  • Reading time:6 mins read

Dutch King Willem-Alexander officially opened the country’s first Holocaust Museum on Sunday 10 March. However, there were widespread protests. This is because the Dutch government had permitted Israel‘s far-right president Isaac Herzog to attend – the man whose genocidal incitement is being used by the International Court of Justice [ICJ] as evidence of a ‘plausible‘ genocide being carried out by his country in Gaza.

Dutch Holocaust Museum: long overdue

The Holocaust Museum, in the heart of the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam, will open to the public on Monday 11 March – almost 80 years after WWII ended.

Striped Auschwitz uniforms, buttons taken from clothes stripped on arrival at the Sobibor death camp, poignant letters, and photos will be on display. There will be 2,500 objects, many never seen before in public.

Before the war and the Nazi occupation, the Netherlands was home to a Jewish community of around 140,000 people, mainly concentrated in Amsterdam. By the time the Nazis had committed the Holocaust, they had murdered an estimated 75% of the Jewish population in the Netherlands; 102,000 people.

So, the Dutch Holocaust Museum is long overdue. However, Herzog’s attendance certainly wasn’t.

He said the museum sent:

a clear and powerful statement: remember, remember the horrors born of hatred, antisemitism and racism and never again allow them to flourish.

Unfortunately never again is now, right now. Because right now, hatred and antisemitism are flourishing worldwide and we must fight it together.

Herzog: genocidal intent

No one would deny the need to fight antisemitism. However, Herzog’s referral to “racism” is sickening. He previously said of Gaza – and Hamas’s attacks on 7 October 2023 – that:

It is an entire nation out there that is responsible… It is not true this rhetoric about civilians not being aware, not involved. It’s absolutely not true. They could have risen up. They could have fought against that evil regime which took over Gaza in a coup d’etat.

His words were used in the ICJ as an example of potential incitement to genocide, which the court is currently investigating plausible accusations of against Israel.

So, less than one kilometre away from the new Holocaust Museum were protests against Herzog’s appearance at the ceremonies. They were organised by, among others, Jewish groups urging an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Hundreds gathered waving Palestinian flags and banners, and shouting “Never Again Is Now,” a reference to Israel’s genocide in Gaza:

They booed and shouted slogans as the dignitaries arrived at the museum:

Herzog at the Dutch Holocaust Museum: at the wrong place

Estelle Jilissen, a 25-year-old consultant, said:

There’s only one place for him here and that’s the ICC [International Criminal Court]. A lot of Jewish people are against his arrival here as well because the pain of their ancestors, the suffering of their ancestors, is being smeared by this president’s arrival.

Protesters had hung signs on lampposts reading: “Detour to International Criminal Court” along the route:

Israel’s genocidal bombardment and ground offensive in Gaza has killed 31,045 people, mostly women and children. It has also caused at least 23 children to die from malnutrition and dehydration. Meanwhile, far-right Herzog is directly implicated in this genocide. So, people were right to call out his appearance at the Dutch Holocaust Museum.

Additional reporting via Agence France-Presse

Featured image supplied

Source link