THE HAGUE – Gretta Duisenberg, a famous socialite with inroads to the royal
family, is organizing Friday’s Global March to Jerusalem in the Netherlands.
While some organizers view this as an advantage, others point to Duisenberg’s
penchant for provocation and statements against Jews.
picture appears on the European section of the website for the so-called march –
a series of events in various locales designed to raise awareness of “the
legitimate struggle of the indigenous Palestinian people with the expansion of
[Israel’s] apartheid rule.”
The website also reads: “We say no to Zionism
and to an exclusive Jewish colonial state.”
Demonstrations against Israel
were off to a slow start on Thursday, with a gathering of some 25 people across
from the Dutch parliament.
Duisenberg’s association, Stop the Occupation,
is planning a demonstration across from the Israeli Embassy on
“Duisenberg is a well-known figure which can be helpful, but she
says things that some find disturbing and that deter people,” says Paul Lamp, a
former member of Duisenberg’s association. He left because he “could not find
his place there.”
One of her “disturbing” statements concerned the
“strong” Dutch and American Jewish lobbies that “play” on Holocaust- related
guilt, according to Duisenberg. She once expressed the hope that “the Jews
realize they can’t take over the south of Amsterdam the same way they took over
the West Bank.” She also tried to collect six million signatures for a
“Indeed, some people are turned away by what
she says,” Lamp said. He added he believed that Duisenberg was “honestly
concerned about the fate of the Palestinians.”
Duisenberg – the widow of
the first president of the European Central Bank – grabbed headlines independent
of the Palestinian issue last year, for talking loudly on her cellphone in a
crowded restaurant during the annual two-minute memorial silence to honor the
fallen in Holland’s wars. She was asked to leave the premises.
Naftaniel, director of the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel
seems pleased to have Duisenberg as an opponent.
“I’m completely happy
with these demonstrations because they show how little support this movement
has. It makes people fed up with these antics, especially when the Arab world is
turmoil yet nobody does anything to help,” said Naftaniel, who heads Holland’s
largest pro-Israel body.
“Duisenberg is alienating the Dutch with her
antics and the horrible things she says. They do nothing to help the cause of
the moderate Palestinians.”
Duisenberg did not reply to a request for