Israel's President Isaac Herzog faces Gaza protest at Dutch Holocaust museum

March 11, 2024 11:20 am

[Source: BBC]

Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s presence at the opening of a Holocaust museum in Amsterdam has sparked protests over Israel’s military operations in Gaza.

Activists calling for a ceasefire gathered in a square near the National Holocaust Museum, in the city’s Jewish quarter.

Some people protesting were themselves, Jewish.

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Both Palestinian and Israeli flags were seen being held by demonstrators.

Some protesters climbed onto police vans, and riot police beat them away as they started to throw fireworks and eggs, Dutch media outlet De Telegraaf reported.

Signs were seen reading “Jews against genocide”, and “The grandchild of a holocaust survivor says: Stop Gaza Holocaust.”

The museum said it had invited Mr Herzog before the Hamas attack on 7 October, which led to Israel’s ground offensive in Gaza.

In a statement, it said it recognised Mr Herzog’s attendance raised questions, but added that he represented the homeland of Dutch Holocaust survivors who had emigrated to Israel.

In a speech, Israel’s president said the museum would “remember the horrors born of hatred, antisemitism and racism”.”Unfortunately ‘never again’ is now, right now. Because right now, hatred and antisemitism are flourishing worldwide and we must fight it together,” he said.

Mr Herzog called for the “immediate and safe return” of hostages taken by Hamas in the 7 October attacks.

Also present at the opening ceremony were Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and the president of the German Federal Council, Manuela Schwesig.

They were met with booing from the crowds as they arrived at the museum.

In a speech to Dutch Holocaust survivors gathering at a nearby synagogue, King Willem-Alexander said: “This museum shows us what devastating consequences antisemitism can have.”

The Holocaust Museum will open to the public on Monday, to mark almost 80 years since World War Two ended. It will display 2,500 objects that have not been seen in public before.

Before the Nazi occupation, the Netherlands was home to a huge Jewish community of around 140,000 people.

However, it was estimated that 75% of them – about 102,000 people – were murdered during the Holocaust.