Pro-Israel protesters shout down ex-PM in church
Former Prime Minister Dries van Agt faced angry pro-Israel protesters on Sunday at Singel kerk in Breda where he was scheduled to read from the Bible.
Van Agt, who served as Prime Minister from 1977 to 1982 was invited to deliver the church’s Preek van de Leek (Sermon by the Layman), in which a well-known Dutch person is asked to read from the Bible. Before he started reading though, a group of persons hung a banner in the back of the church that read “Van Agt, the Jews are tired of you.” Below there were three names of the Three of Breda, three German war criminals who were serving life sentences in the Koepel prison in Breda, but for whom Van Agt had considered pardon when he was Prime Minister. “Friends of Himmler who he set free; that is what it started with,” the protestors chanted. They also called Van Agt a “thug” and a “hypocrite”. The atmosphere was tense, which prompted reverend Rob Visser to get up and stand between Van Agt and the protesters. The protestors left and calm was restored after police came. The organizers of Preek van de Leek have meanwhile contacted the Jewish community in the city to discuss the incident. The organisers are also speaking to Rabbi Raphael Evers later this week. Van Agt has been a vocal advocate for the Palestinian people.