“Holland’s powerful Jewish lobby is playing on the country’s sense of guilt over the Holocaust,” a prominent Dutch activist said last week, triggering angry reactions and accusation of anti-Semitism from pro-Israel Dutch Jews.

Gretta Duisenberg, the widow of the first president of the European Central Bank and a friend of the Queen of the Netherlands, said in an interview for Islam Online that “the Jewish lobby in Holland, like in the United States, is very strong and powerful, and it is still playing on our guilt feelings although it is 63 years since the Holocaust.”

Duisenberg, a leading pro-Palestinian activist and well-known member of Holland’s high society, added that “whenever you have something against the Jewish people in Holland, they call you an anti-Semite.”
“These are anti-Semitic remarks, based on the libel of the Protocols of Zion, that the Jews dominate the world,” said Ronny Naftaniel, head of Holland’s largest pro-Israel group and watchdog on anti-Semitism, the Center for Information and Documentation Israel (CIDI.)

Duisenberg’s spokesperson, Paul Lamp, rejected this, telling Haaretz that in the interview Duisenberg also referred to “Zionist Jews and orthodox Christians who dominate our government and the government of the United States.”

While this quote does not appear in the piece, the interview does contain a quote by Duisenberg saying that “Holland’s right-wing government is Christian radical, and the radical people within the Jewish people have very strong feelings toward Israel, and they dominate our government.”

Duisenberg once said she wants to collect six million signatures for a pro-Palestinian petition. In a 2005 television discussion, she said: “I hope the Jews realize they can’t take over the south of Amsterdam the same way they took over the West Bank.”

“She doesn’t realize it, but with this kind of statements she doesn’t only insult Jews, but is also severely damaging the Palestinian position in the Netherlands,” Naftaniel said. “People will believe that to support the Palestinians you have to be anti-Semitic, which of course is not true.”

This month Naftaniel’s organization released data showing that in 2009, the number of anti-Semite incidents in Amsterdam doubled compared to 2008, when 14 anti-Semitic incidents were reported in the Dutch capital. Jews in Amsterdam feel increasingly “besieged” as they are exposed to a growing barrage of name-calling, hate mail, firecrackers in their mailboxes, graffiti and – occasionally – physical abuse, CIDI said.