5. The Letters sent and responses received
Letters were sent to the concerned Ministerial cabinets and to the Flemish Catholic education responsible mentioning the anti-Semitic nature of the document, the distortion of history, the other hate acts of the participating organisations, and their responsibility in the sponsoring or distribution of it to the Flemish Youth.
The introduction letters state:
Dear Sir Uyttendaele,
According to our telephonic conversation I send you this letter, also in the name of the parents and grandparents from different religious opinions who don't wish their children and grandchildren to be educated with the feelings of hatred which have been used in the 1930s and the 1940s.
After World War II, during which some six million Jews, an unknown number of gipsies and a huge number of other people have been killed by the Hitler Regime and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when the tenths of millions victims of the Stalin Regime were finally confirmed, we wish to build up a tolerant society for our descendants.
We therefore were very happy to hear the following words from our King during his speech of July.21 2002:
“Other communities neither were spared. Attacks on synagogues do prove this. It is intolerable discrepancies from the Middle East are imported to us.”
Our disappointment therefore was extreme when we were informed about an initiative which obviously was supported by the Flemish Development Cooperation Minister, Mrs Vogels, in order to import the Middle East conflict not only in Belgium but also in the Education system and moreover on an unilateral and untruthful base.
A few NGO's such as 11.11.11., Pax Christi, the Oxfam Group and others,
which are presently using citizen’s taxes money to spit hate by exploiting a language of hatred against the state of Israel and indirectly against our Jewish population already are well-known for their anti-Jewish feelings and thrive to fuel a state of mind close to the Nazi Regime, especially in the schools by offering a pamphlet and a CD at a minimum price.
In the name of a tolerant society and loyal to the words of our King we ask you to remove and even withdraw completely all this documentation from the schools.
In the hope you share our concern about this difficult subject we are ready for further argumentation and additional information at your best convenience.
The only response received was from the Cabinet of Minister Sannen!!! (original text annex n° XXX)
Subject: Re: so-called "educative" packet on Israel-Palestine
Date: Mon, 08 Sep 2003 09:38:03 +0200
From: "Uyttendaele Bart"
By order of Sir Guido Steenkiste, principal private secretary of Ludo Sannen, Flemish Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Development Cooperation, I confirm the reception of your remarks concerning the file of Palestine Committee and I wish to express my appreciation for your sincere wish to build a tolerant society in Flanders.
Concerning the remarks about the same file the Minister received the Israeli Ambassador on Friday 29/08/2003. The Ambassador clarified his concern about the contents of the document to the Minister. During this conversation the Minister insisted that neither the Minister nor his services are responsible for the specific contents of projects funded by the Flemish Government. This not only concerns development cooperation subventions but also subventions assigned to other sectors. The contents of the subvention proposal were conformed to the stated requirements and therefore the project was funded.
The responsibility for the contents entirely lies within the organisation itself, which can be called to account for the contents. Concerning the use of the Palestine Committee file in the schools, within the framework of the freedom of education it's up to the schools to determine the contents taking into account the statements of the Education Minister. Concerning the Middle East problem the Minister never took any position pro or contra one of the involved parties.
In the hope to have answered your demand of clarification we meanwhile stay
Development Cooperation Councillor
6. Short comments on the content of the brochure and CD-rom
When reading the booklet or viewing the cd-rom one cannot help but feel that their first and maybe only goal is to slander Israel, Jews and everything Jews cherish. The authors definitely consider the existence of a Jewish state as an anathema. And to prove their point they do not shirk from rewriting History. Their work contains so many omissions, misrepresentations and half-truths that even a halfway correction of it would fill another booklet. For the sake of briefness, we will limit us here to some of the most glaring examples of plain bad faith
The making and flowering of the Jewish Nation in Antiquity is given scant attention if any attention at all. Moses is not even named. Neither is the part that the Jews played birth to monotheism. King David is mentioned but only as a warrior king. That the Jewish nation was at the time of King David already hundreds of years old is conveniently forgotten. As is the post-David Jewish realm.
However, if the authors forgot Moses, they took great pains to mention Judah. Just in case probably the reader had forgotten that, a Jew allegedly sold Jesus to his executioners. That this accusation has led to two thousand years of anti-Semitism, persecutions and pogroms does not seem to disturb them. Anyhow, they never seem to have heard about these pogroms and persecutions. Nor do they show any awareness of the fact that for two thousand years Jews all over the world have longed and prayed for a return to their Promised Country, the land where once the Jewish Nation stood and now stands again on a small part of it. Emphasis is put, again and again on the Arab character of those who have governed the area then called Palestine. Only when one reads between the lines does one find out that the majority of them were Kurds or Turks. Actually the Arab reign over the area lasted barely twenty-seven years.
Important historical facts are deliberately concealed, such as :
- Trans Jordan, now Jordan, was part of Palestine and made up 70% of its territory till it was given away by the British to an Hashemite sheik in 1922 ;
- the mufti of Jerusalem, Arafat’s uncle and mentor and the leader of the Arabs in the area then called Palestine actively collaborated with Hitler ;
- in the same period the Locarno Treaty omitted to give an independent state to the Kurds, as promised to them by the Neuilly Treaty. They now still suffer persecution trough five Middle-eastern countries (presently they no longer persecuted in Irak).
- That between 800000 and 900000 thousand Jews were driven out of Arab countries with nothing more than the clothing on their backs and that a majority amongst them found refuge in Israel.
- The authors do not mention that all other refugee problems of the same period have been successfully solved and that the main reason Palestinian refugees have been kept in refugee camps, for more than fifty year instead of being resettled, was and is that their resettlement would not only serve their own interest but also Israel’s interest.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive.
We also found quite some gross distortions of the actual facts. Following examples are again not exhaustive:
- The authors pretend that Jews were granted full citizenship in Arab and Muslim Countries. Have they never heard about the ‘dhimmi status’ and everything it entailed for Jews in Muslim countries?
- Concerning Israel’s War of Independence the authors pretend that the Zionists were well armed, well organized and that they had it all mapped out… History though is somewhat different. The Zionists did not have more or better arms than their enemies and they were out numbered. So, what made the difference? In contrast with the Arabs, the Zionists had no choice. They had to win if they wanted to live. The same was not true for the Arabs.
- According to the authors of the pamphlet, Israel starts a preventive war in 1967, using as an excuse some ‘strong’ language of Nasser and Egyptian troop movements in the Sinai. Really? How come no mention is made of the real reasons for this ‘preventive war’, the most important reason being Nasser’s blockade of the Israeli port of Elat on the Gulf of Aqaba by closing the Strait of Tyran? This, of course, is an act of war in international law. Left unsaid is also that Nasser had demanded and obtained the withdrawal of UNO Peacemakers in the Sinai.
Concerning the civil war in Lebanon the authors note:" In Lebanon starts a cruel civil war in which the Palestinians get more and more involved.” Actually, the Palestinians started this war!
Concerning the Sabra and Chatila disaster, the authors state without a speck of proof :
“The Israeli army looks on without even trying to intervene” This version of the facts was categorically denied by one of the perpetrators of the killings. Furthermore :
- The authors constantly quote Jewish and Israeli personalities out of context, so as to put them in the worst light possible.
- The term ‘ethnic cleansing ‘ is exclusively used in criticising Israel. The fact that the Palestinians want a country that is “Judenfrei” is omitted. The fact that Jews are not even allowed to set foot in many Arab countries is also omitted.
- Worldwide Palestinian terror acts such as the hijacking of planes, the murdering of Israeli athletes at the Olympic games, the burning down of Jewish places of worship, the Achilles Lauro-terror act and so on are condoned by the authors as a justifiable way to keep the plight of the Palestinians refugees in the spotlight.
- The murder of Prime Minister Rabin by a Jewish extremist and the murder of worshippers in a mosq in Hebron by a deranged man both get lots of space. But the lynching of two Israeli reservists who lost their way, by the Palestinians is not even mentioned. Nor is mention made of the many Israeli children, women, old people and men who have lost their lives in Palestinian terror attacks since the Oslo Accords. Anyhow, according to the authors, these attacks have nothing to do with terror but are just resistance to the occupier.
And as a cherry on the cake, we get this statement: “A prime minister who is acceptable to Israel (read: who is corruptible) is appointed.”
Is still more proof needed that this Actieplatform is not so much devoted to working for peace between Israel and the Palestinians as to working towards the destruction of Israel as a Jewish State? And that it tries meanwhile to import the Middle East conflict in our schools with blatant pro-Palestinian propaganda and a good dose of anti-Semitism to booth?
7 Statement of the Belgian King on July 21th, 2002
Our King in His speech to the Nation on July 21th, 2002, stated that “it is inacceptable to import the antagonism existing in the Middle-East.”
original French text:
D'autres communautés ne furent pas épargnées non plus comme en témoignent les attentats contre des synagogues. Il est inadmissible de chercher à importer chez nous les antagonismes qui existent au Moyen-Orient.
Original Dutch text:
Andere gemeenschappen werden ook niet gespaard. Aanslagen op synagogen getuigen daarvan. Het is ontoelaatbaar dat tegenstellingen vanuit het Midden-Oosten bij ons worden ingevoerd.