Balkenende, Van Gaal call for end to anti-semitism
De Telegraaf newspaper today contains a full-page ad with calls from several well-known Dutch people to end the rising anti-Semitism in The Netherlands. On the back of the newspaper, in large black lettering is written: "No excuse for anti-Semitism." Politicians, actors, artists, activists, and television personalities call on the Dutch population to put an end to discrimination. "In The Netherlands, everyone should be able to live safe and in peace, also the Dutch Jews. We call on the Dutch population not to tolerate anti-Semitism under any circumstances." The ad emphasizes that it is not a pro-Israel stance, nor is it a declaration of solidarity with the Israeli government. "We, as signatories also differ of opinion on that", write, among others, ex-PM Jan Peter Balkenende, football trainer Louis van Gaal, ABN Amro boss Gerrit Zalm and tv personality Gerard Joling. Anti-Semitism in The Netherlands has increased significantly in The Netherlands recently, taking into account the rising number of anti-Semitic incidents. In Amsterdam, police are reportedly receiving daily reports of discrimination against Jewish people. In The Hague at the end of July, an anti-Jewish demonstration shocked and angered many. Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that there will be no patience for anti-Semitism in this country, while mosques prepare to engage in talks with their congregations, urging for peace. Foreign Affairs Minister Timmermans also calls on Dutch demonstrators to remember the conflict in gaza as one between territories, and not to persecute based on religion. According to the NOS, PVV-leader Geert Wilders said that CIDI (the Center for Information and Documentation about Israel) also asked him to sign the ad. Wilders tweeted: "Strange CIDI-politics. Did ask if I wanted to sign, but didn't publish". According to e-mail exchanges between Wilders and CIDI, which Wilders published, CIDI replies that the message was placed by the people who signed it. "CIDI won't do this, and is therefore not also present in the ad." Other politicians have signed, including Emile Roemer of the SP, and SGP faction president Kees van der Staij.