Time to scrutinize ‘Cordaid’
In 2001 the Dutch Roman Catholic NGO Cordaid was indirectly involved in financing the largest anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish hate campaign of the twenty-first century, the UN World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa. This supposedly humanitarian, but heavily politicized pressure group is subsidized by its country’s government and recently again undertook an anti-Israeli campaign. On 8 June, before the visit of Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Verhagen to the Middle East, 52 prominent Dutch citizens, mainly well-known pro-Palestinians, issued, through paid advertisements in the Dutch press, an astutely slanted pro-Palestinian public statement calling on the Dutch government to break the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Cordaid was one of its initiators; the other was Pax Christi, another pro-Palestinian Roman Catholic group. However, local events in the territories would soon ridicule the timing of the statement. A few days later the latest Palestinian murderous events in the Gaza Strip broke out, where again both the “extremists” of Hamas and the “moderates” of Fatah demonstrated elements of a barbarian culture. Features of this violence included the shooting of wounded people in hospitals and throwing others from high buildings. THE SUBTITLE of the statement by the 52 Dutch signatories seems to suggest that before 1967 the Palestinian territories were independent. In reality they were ruled – or “occupied” to use the terminology of the statement – by the Egyptians and Jordanians. The statement primarily mentioned the suffering of the Palestinians. More importantly, the statement conveniently “forgot” to mention that Palestinian Arab culture has a record of at least 75 years of genocidal calls and incitement to violence. Nor did it mention that according to a 1947 UN resolution, the Palestinian Arabs could have become independent already in 1948. In line with the policy as expressed at the 1967 Khartoum Conference, all Arab states refused to negotiate with Israel after its victory. Thus the Arabs became probably the only people in modern history unwilling to negotiate with a victor to reclaim land after a defeat. Nor did the Palestinians take up a generous offer for statehood by former prime minister Ehud Barak in 2000 during the Camp David negotiations. THE DUTCH statement comes into a different perspective in view of the recent writ of summons brought to a court in Holland by the families of the victims of Srebrenica against the state of the Netherlands and the United Nations. Four of the signatories to the anti-Israel statement were government ministers directly involved in decisions on the Dutch army’s role in Srebrenica, where the greatest genocide in Europe since World War II occurred. The sheer number of people murdered in Srebrenica after the Dutch UN soldiers fled the town and left its inhabitants unprotected is unknown; estimates vary between 6,000 and 10,000. These former ministers are shameless to consider themselves qualified to intervene in the Palestinian conflict against Israel. This was not, as stated, Cordaid’s first anti-Israeli role. In 2003 the Jewish Telegraph Agency investigated the Ford Foundation’s financing of anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish activities. In this investigation the JTA named Cordaid as the one institution which had given even more money than the Ford Foundation to a Palestinian NGO, LAW. According to several sources, LAW was one of the main pressure groups, if not the main one, in creating the anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic atmosphere in Durban. The JTA also mentioned that $2 million LAW received were unaccounted for or misappropriated, rather than spent on programs. This is one more opportunity to scrutinize so-called humanitarian NGOs with a heavy political slant, especially one which is government-funded. The least I would expect from fair-minded Dutch parliamentarians is questions to their government. The writer is chairman of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is presently working on a book entitledThe Netherlands, the Jews and Israel, sponsored by the Israeli Maror Foundation.