Rotterdam Mayor Refuses To Block Hamas Support Conference

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US Jewish media is reporting that the mayor of Rotterdam in the Netherlands is refusing to block this year’s ‘Palestinians in Europe’ scheduled for April 15. According to the Algemeiner report:

The mayor of the second-largest city in the Netherlands is refusing to block a conference by a pro-Hamas group, despite warnings from Dutch Jewish leaders and political figures that the event could encourage antisemitism and embolden terrorists.

The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), which is regarded by the Israeli and German governments as a support group for Hamas, plans to hold its annual ‘Palestinians in Europe’ conference on April 15 in Rotterdam.

Netherlands Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs told JNS.org that he is ‘very concerned’ that the conference ‘will incite antsemitism or pro-terrorist sentiment’ in the country, particularly among the country’s rapidly growing community of ethnic Turks. Jacobs said that the PRC’s activities are ‘just like the ‘Denk’ party, whose three seats in the new parliament look small, but is the beginning, God forbid, of a direction which we don’t want to go.’ The Denk party, which chiefly represents Dutch citizens of Turkish origin, is harshly anti-Israel.

On March 11, a mob of militant Dutch Turks yelled ‘Cancer Jews’ as they rioted outside the Turkish consulate in Amsterdam. They were protesting the Dutch government’s refusal to let a Turkish cabinet minister campaign in the country for an upcoming referendum in Turkey.

Rabbi Jacobs said that he and other Jewish leaders have urged Rotterdam’s mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb, to cancel the PRC conference. According to Jacobs, the mayor responded by saying that since there is no proof that Hamas is involved, he couldn’t do anything.’ The mayor promised that ‘a few of his people’ will be present at the April 15 PRC event to ‘make sure nothing antisemitic will happen or will be said.’

Maarten Molenbeek, Aboutaleb’s spokesperson, told JNS.org that the mayor  would not comment on the controversy due to ‘a busy schedule,’ and also because ‘we want to be prudent on this case.’

Read the rest here.

 The report goes on to note:

Dutch journalist Carel Brendel, who has written about the PRC’s activities, told JNS.org that the evidence of the PRC’s connections to Hamas is ‘overwhelming.’ Brendel noted that two of the organizers of the upcoming conference, Adel Abdallah and Amin Abou Rashed, have received awards from Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

The PRC, which was established in London in 1996, argues that millions of Palestinian Arabs from around the world should be allowed to settle in Israel. Its current initiatives include the ‘Balfour Apology Campaign,’ which seeks to have the British government publicly apologize for its 1917 declaration endorsing the establishment of a Jewish national home.

Then-Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak outlawed the PRC in 2010 because of its Hamas connections. According to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, PRC’s leadership includes numerous Hamas activists. And in a 2011 report, the German Interior Ministry stated that ‘Hamas does not operate openly in Europe. Instead it uses, for instance, the Palestinian Return Centre in London as a forum.’

The GMBDW last reported on the Palestinians in Europe’ in June 2015 following the 13th annual conference in Berlin, Germany. As we noted in that report, video of the conference revealed that speakers and participants of interest included, as in years past, various individuals tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood and/or Hamas. The 14th annual conference was held on May 7, 2016 in Malmo, Sweden. An Al-Jazeera report and a video promoting the conference identifies the following participants of interest, also tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood and/or Hamas:

  • Nasser Al Hindi (Jordanian General Engineer, deputy head of the International Commission To Build Gaza)
  • Rami Abdou (representative European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza)

The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), the main sponsor of the conference, also has many ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood and/or Hamas and past Palestinians in Europe conferences have featured other leaders of the Global Muslim Brotherhood and/or Hamas. For example,  the 2009 conference was addressed via video link by Gaza Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and the 2008 Conference featured former US. Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammad Akram Al-Adlouni who is close to Youssef QaradawiNihad Awad of the US Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) was also invited to speak at the 2008 conference.

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