Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Manfred Gerstenfeld interviews former Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi for the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs. Here is a selection of excerpts:


"I have visited the Palestinian quarters in Jerusalem as well. Their side is dilapidated, for which they blame the Israelis. In private, however, I met a young Palestinian who spoke excellent English. There were no cameras and no notebooks. He said the situation was partly their own fault, with much of the money sent from abroad to build Palestine being stolen by corrupt leaders.

"When I start to speak in the Netherlands about the corruption of the Palestinian Authority and the role of Arafat in the tragedy of Palestine, I do not get a large audience. Often one is talking to a wall. Many people reply that Israel first has to withdraw from the territories, and then all will be well with Palestine.

"Before I joined the VVD liberal party, I was a member of the Labor party. They have forgotten the positive role they played in the creation of Israel. Their great model thinker is the Israeli philosopher Avishai Margalit, who promotes solidarity with those who are weak. In socialist eyes whoever isn't white or Western is a victim, and this includes Muslims, Palestinians, and immigrants. My position is that I am not a victim. I am responsible for my acts like anybody else and so are all people."


"There are many other cases of minority racism. For instance, a nephew and a niece may have to get married because the family wants to keep its blood pure. Marrying someone from another race, of course, is completely out of the question. If, however, a native Dutch woman says, ‘I'm not interested in a Moroccan man,' then it makes all the headlines. The Dutch think this manifests the decline of their society.

"If a Dutchman says he doesn't want a Moroccan or a Turk as a neighbor, he is a racist. If a Moroccan says, ‘I want to live next to other Moroccans,' that is viewed as a sign of group attachment, because he has been isolated by immigrating. So that is not considered racism. If a right-wing skinhead draws swastikas on a Jewish cemetery, that is Nazism and he will be punished. If a Moroccan immigrant does the same, it is an expression of his displeasure with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


"The crisis of Dutch socialism can be sized up in its attitudes toward both Islam and Israel. It holds Israel to exceptionally high moral standards. The Israelis, however, will always do well, because they themselves set high standards for their actions.

"The standards for judging the Palestinians, however, are very low. Most outsiders remain silent on all the problems in their territories. That helps the Palestinians become even more corrupt than they already are. Those who live in the territories are not allowed to say anything about this, because they risk being murdered by their own people."

When asked whether the moral standards to which many Dutch hold Israel are often also far higher than those they apply to the Netherlands, Hirsi Ali replies: "The VVD and parts of the CDA Christian Democrats do not apply double standards to Israel, nor do the smaller Christian parties. Many other politicians do, however.

"This also has to be seen in a wider context. Not only the Netherlands, but many other European countries have changed their minds after more than fifty years of commemorations of the Holocaust. They are happy to free themselves of its history and of Israel's history. Thus they apply these very unequal criteria. They also think they are entitled to have their double standards, whereas the Israelis are not."

Read the entire interview here.

1 comment:

The Gharqad Tree said...

Is Loewenstein a Dutch name?