Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
(photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
Tunahan Kuzu, a Dutch MP of Turkish origin wearing a pro-Palestinian button, refused to shake Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hand in a receiving line in the parliament in The Hague on Wednesday, meriting a dismissive look from the premier and some angry responses in the Dutch blogosphere.
Netanyahu, before going into a meeting with the parliament’s foreign affairs committee, was being introduced to lawmakers
When he came to Kuzu, a former Labor Party legislator kicked out of that party in 2014 and now part of a two-man faction, Netanyahu extended his hands, while Kuzu kept his behind his back.
Quickly grasping what was unfolding, the prime minister said, “Oh, okay,” gave a mocking, dismissive look, withdrew his hand and moved on to the next MP.
Following the incident, Netanyahu – on his airplane on the way back to Israel – related to the incident. “Today we saw another clear example of those who want peace, and those who don’t,” he said. “I will continue to proudly present Israel’s position to the world and strengthen its international standing.
As the late Menachem Begin once said, those who twist their noses, will remain with noses that are twisted.”
Michael van der Galien, the editor of the conservative website De Dagelijkse Standaard, wrote that the incident was “really embarrassing,” and that even if one disagrees with Netanyahu’s policies, he is entitled to respect when he visits the parliament.
Van der Galien noted that Kuzu has no problem shaking the hand and defending Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, despite his crackdown against journalists, academics, lawyers, judges, soldiers, policemen, writers and others.
Kuzu, and another Muslim MP of Turkish origin, were ejected from the Dutch Labor Party two years ago after breaking with the party over an issue involving surveillance of Turkish Islamic organizations in the Netherlands. The two men have established a new party, Think, that is expected to contest the 2017 Dutch elections as a party for immigrants..
The video of Kuzu’s snub of Netanyahu is expected to be used in his election campaign, in an effort to attract Muslim voters.