‘Some Demonstrations More Anti-Jewish Than Pro-Palestinian’: Dutch Lawmaker Who Fled Turkish Persecution of Kurds Expresses Concern Over Gaza Protests
A Dutch lawmaker who came to the Netherlands as a refugee from Turkey’s persecution of its Kurdish minority is urging the country’s justice minister to take firm action against antisemitic slogans and signs at pro-Palestinian demonstrations.
Dilan Yezilgöz — a parliamentarian who holds the security and justice portfolio for the liberal VVD Party — said in a radio interview this week that antisemitism at pro-Palestinian rallies around the country made it imperative that Ferd Grapperhaus, the Minister of Justice and Security, be held to account by the Dutch House of Representatives.
“I have a lot of questions,” Yezilgöz said. “Some of the demonstrations were more anti-Jewish than pro-Palestine.”
At demonstrations in Amsterdam and other Dutch cities in last weekend, several Muslim participants chanted the Islamist slogan “Khaybar Khaybar ya Yahud, jaysh Muḥammad sawf-a ya’ud” “(Khaybar Khaybar O Jews, the Army of Muhammad will return.”) The chant refers to the violent subjugation of Jewish tribes in Arabia in 628 CE by an army loyal to the prophet of Islam. Yezilgöz said she also wanted to question Grapperhaus about plans to prevent any displays similar to those in London last weekend, when a convoy of pro-Palestinian demonstrators drove through Jewish neighborhoods in north London threatening to “kill the f__ Jews” and “rape their daughters.”
“If you use this conflict to express undiluted hatred of Jews, it should be possible to intervene,” Yezilgöz said in her interview. “If you allow antisemitism and trivialize it, you are saying to everyone who stands for freedom, ‘go figure it out yourself.'”
Yezilgöz is known for her trenchant opposition to political extremism and terrorism. Last year, she launched a parliamentary initiative to combat antisemitism with Gert-Jan Segers, an MP for the Christian Union Party.
Born in the Turkish capital of Ankara, Yezilgöz arrived in the Netherlands with her mother and sister in 1984, where they were reunited with her father, a Kurdish labor union organizer who was forced to flee from Turkey three years previously.