How the Dutch Gaza Flotilla Backfired Politically

A Dutch ship was organized as part of the Gaza flotilla in order to help Hamas, portray that effort has humanitarian, and create anti-Israel sentiment. The story of how this effort backfired is a fascinating tale of contemporary political warfare. Indeed, the end result has been to make the Dutch debate more pro-Israel and anti-Islamist.

Many articles — often with Dutch Internet media taking the lead — exposed alliances between Dutch far leftists and local Islamists who, together with some Christian groups, formed the organization Nederland-Gaza organizing Dutch participation in the second Gaza flotilla. The result has been a serious public debate and an actual increase in pro-Israel activity and support in the country.

As a result of the organizers' extremism exposed by these reports, all of the Dutch journalists scheduled to sail to Gaza quit, complaining of the flotilla’s “dictatorial atmosphere, paranoia and mutual distrust.”

The Dutch blog KeesjeMaduraatje was one of the first to publish material about extremist elements in the second Gaza flotilla, revealing that Free Gaza Holland’s chairman, Rob Groenhuizen, was a convicted communist extremist who used to be a member of Dutch groups affiliated with the German terrorist Rote Armee Fraktion.

Groenhuizen’s group also had ties with the Palestinian terrorist organization PLFP and members participated in a terrorist training camp in Yemen in 1976.

In an e-mail exchange, Groenhuizen’s wrote about the second flotilla’s real goal:

This game about humanitarian aid is part of a tremendous plot -- something that Israel tries to postpone as long as possible -- but with every uprising in the Arab world and each mistake Israel makes, the end is coming nearer. ... Everybody knows Israel is not sustainable.

Another Dutch  blogger, Carel Brendel, recently revealed more details about ties between Nederland-Gaza, Islamist groups in Europe, and Hamas in Gaza. On June 18 Brendel wrote that he had found evidence that the Italian NGO Associazione Benefica di Solidarieta con il Popolo Pelaestinense (ABSPP) and the Dutch NGO ISRAA  each had donated 100.000 euros for the purchase of the Dutch/Italian boat .

Dutch Hamas member Amin Abu Rashed, who was arrested last year on the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish ship  in the first flotilla, is co-founder of ISRAA, a Dutch Islamic charity. Rashed also co-founded the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG) along with Ibrahim Akkari, a Dutch Muslim Brotherhood leader.

In addition, Rashed has worked for the Rotterdam-based Hamas charity El Aksa, banned by the Dutch authorities. That group was part of the network headed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s most influential cleric who has made fiery antisemitic statements.

The chairman of ISRAA, Mohamed el Doori, is also treasurer of the Dutch Federation of Islamic Organizations (FION), still another offshoot of the European Muslim Brotherhood. Both organizations are participating in the Nederland-Gaza coalition.