Controversial celebrity heading Dutch march

Global March to J'lem in the Netherlands organized by Gretta Duisenberg, who has grabbed headlines for statements about Jews in past.

Dutch anti-Israel protest 370 (photo credit: Naomi Mestrum)
Dutch anti-Israel protest 370
(photo credit: Naomi Mestrum)
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.
Duisenberg’s 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 Friday.
“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 pro-Palestinian petition.
“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.
Ronny 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 comment.