Dutch city al­lows PRC event but bans counter-march

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY JENNI FRAZER

THE MAYOR of Rot­ter­dam has come un­der fire after he al­lowed a con­fer­ence to take place last week­end or­gan­ised by the Lon­don-based Pales­tinian Re­turn Cen­tre (PRC), but re­fused per­mis­sion for a counter-protest.

Is­rael out­lawed the PRC in 2010 over al­leged af­fil­i­a­tions with Ha­mas, and a 2011 re­port by the Ger­man In­te­rior Min­istry stated: “Ha­mas does not op­er­ate openly in Europe. In­stead it uses, for in­stance, the Pales­tinian Re­turn Cen­tre in Lon­don as a fo­rum.”

The PRC or­gan­ised an event at the House of Lords last year at which au­di­ence mem­bers com­pared Is­rael to Daesh ter­ror­ists and sug­gested Jews were to blame for the Holo­caust.

The con­fer­ence went ahead de­spite protests from Jews and se­nior Dutch politi­cians. How­ever, a si­lent coun­ter­march by Chris­tians for Is­rael, planned to take place out­side the con­fer­ence venue, was re­fused per­mis­sion.

The Mayor of Rot­ter­dam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, had been urged by Dutch Chief Rabbi Biny­omin Ja­cobs to can­cel the con­fer­ence. Rabbi Ja­cobs said the mayor had re­fused but promised that “a few of his peo­ple” would be pre­sent to “make sure noth­ing an­tisemitic will hap­pen or will be said”.

The mayor later said the con­fer­ence had been au­tho­rised by the Dutch Na­tional Co-or­di­na­tion Board for Coun­tert­er­ror­ism and Se­cu­rity, though a spokesper­son for the group re­port­edly de­nied this.

The Is­raeli Em­bassy in the Nether­lands is­sued a re­buke, say­ing: “The si­lent march in Rot­ter­dam, which is the least one can and should do against those who preach hate, ex­trem­ism and ter­ror, was not al­lowed to take place.”

Among the speak­ers at the PRC con­fer­ence was Dyab Abou Jahjah, a Lebanon-born ac­tivist who was fired by Bel­gian daily De Stan­daard in Jan­uary for de­fend­ing vi­o­lent at­tacks on Jewish Is­raelis. After a truck was driven into a group of IDF sol­diers in Jerusalem, he wrote on Twit­ter: “An at­tack on oc­cu­pa­tion sol­diers in occupied ter­ri­tory is not ter­ror­ism! It is an act of re­sis­tance. #FreePales­tine.”

Among the speak­ers was JahJah, who de­fended a ter­ror at­tack

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