Dutch Mayor Likens Jihadis to Jews Who Left for Pre-state Israel

When Islamic State meets Herzl: Holland should not prevent citizens from leaving for Syria, just as it didn't stop Jews from immigrating to prestate Israel, says mayor of Hilvrsum.

JTA
JTA
People watch smoke from an airstrike by the US-led coalition rising outside Kobani, Syria, from a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, Oct. 23, 2014.
People watch smoke from an airstrike by the US-led coalition rising outside Kobani, Syria, from a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, Oct. 23, 2014.Credit: AP
JTA
JTA

A Dutch mayor said Holland should not prevent Islamists from leaving for Syria just as it let Jews immigrate to prestate Israel.

Pieter Broertjes, the mayor of Hilvrsum — a small, affluent municipality near Amsterdam which is considered to be the country’s media capital — made the comparison on Thursday during an interview for Radio 1.

Later that day, a municipal spokesperson called the comparison “unfortunate.”

In the interview, Broertjes, a politician for Dutch Labor and former editor-in-chief of the highbrow Volkskrant daily, was asked whether he thought jihadists who are leaving to fight in Syria and Iraq should be prevented from departing.

He opposed such steps, and added: “Dutchmen after World War II went to Israel to fight the English. We didn’t prevent them then,” he said.

Esther Voet, the director of the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, reacted to the comparison by calling it “ridiculous” on Twitter. And Elbert Dijkgraaf, a lawmaker for the conservative Reformed Political Party in the Tweede Kamer, the Dutch parliament’s lower house, said it was “astonishing” and “devoid of any understanding of historical context.”

Interviewed about Broertjes’ comparison by the local Gooi-en Eemlander paper, a spokesperson for the municipality of Hilversum said: “What Broertjes wanted to say was that government just can’t forbid people to settle elsewhere for whatever reason. That’s the point he wanted to make. He made a blunt comparison and that was unfortunate.”

Broertjes himself was not available for further comment on the issue, Dutch media reported.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

$1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

A family grieves outside the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Wednesday.

Israeli PM Offers Condolences After Texas Gunman Kills 21 at Elementary School

U.S. President Joe Biden, this week.

Biden Decides to Keep Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Terror List, Says Report

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

Progressive Jews Urge ADL Chief to Apologize for Calling Out Democratic Activist

Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders with Jessica Cisneros in San Antonio last week.

It’s AIPAC vs. Bernie Sanders in Too-close-to-call Texas Democratic Runoff

U.S. President Joe Biden. Making a historic pivot to Asia.

Biden Does What His Three Predecessors Talked About Yet Failed to Do

Meir Kahane addressing his followers during a demonstration in Jerusalem, in 1984.

Why the U.S. Removed Kahane Chai From Terrorist Blacklist