A Dutch ship was organized as part of the Gaza flotilla in order to help Hamas, portray that effort as humanitarian, and create anti-Israel sentiment. The story of how this effort backfired is a fascinating tale of contemporary political warfare. Indeed, the end result has been to make the Dutch debate more pro-Israel and anti-Islamist.Read the whole thing.
Many articles — often with Dutch Internet media taking the lead — exposed alliances between Dutch far leftists and local Islamists who, together with some Christian groups, formed the organization Nederland-Gaza organizing Dutch participation in the second Gaza flotilla. The result has been a serious public debate and an actual increase in pro-Israel activity and support in the country.
The Dutch blog KeesjeMaduraatje was one of the first to publish material about extremist elements in the second Gaza flotilla, revealing that Free Gaza Holland’s chairman, Rob Groenhuizen, was a convicted communist extremist who used to be a member of Dutch groups affiliated with the German terrorist Rote Armee Fraktion.
Groenhuizen’s group also had ties with the Palestinian terrorist organization PLFP and members participated in a terrorist training camp in Yemen in 1976.
In an e-mail exchange, Groenhuizen’s wrote about the second flotilla’s real goal:
This game about humanitarian aid is part of a tremendous plot — something that Israel tries to postpone as long as possible — but with every uprising in the Arab world and each mistake Israel makes, the end is coming nearer. … Everybody knows Israel is not sustainable.
Other Internet media reports about ties between Dutch NGOs and extremist Palestinian groups caused the Dutch government to change the guidelines on government subsidies for NGOs that fund anti-Israel groups. There is now a debate in the country over cutting back sharply on such funding.
While these developments have exposed the Gaza flotilla as an operation of Hamas and radical left groups seeking to delegitimize and discredit Israel, they also have much broader significance. What has happened in Holland is a case study showing how Internet publications and research on the hidden radicalism and extremist ties of purportedly humanitarian and moderate groups can change government policy, media attitudes, and public opinion.
Speaking of the Dutch, here is an update on the amazing disappearing Dutch flotidiots from Radio Netherlands:
The Netherlands-Gaza Foundation www.nederland-gaza.nl had reserved 32 places on board the Stefano Chiarani. Prominent Dutch citizens had been invited. In the end, 15 people expressed an interest. Now there are only seven people left, and one or two might still jump ship before the boat actually sets sail. All the Dutch journalists, including myself, withdrew last week after we lost confidence in the organisation.The floatards think that they are winning, though:
Another day has passed. And yet another delay. One of the latest press releases from the Netherlands-Gaza Foundation quotes 19-year-old Chris Verweij, the youngest of the Dutch participants: "Whatever happens with our flotilla, Israel will not stop us. We might not sail today or tomorrow or next week or next month. As Mahatma Gandhi said: first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”He has it exactly backwards: Last year they fought, now the world is laughing at them, and next year they will be ignored.