The PJ Tatler

Bibi's Speech in Amsterdam

Roger Simon’s account of Bibi’s speech at AIPAC, which I followed on Fox, reminds me of Bibi’s speech in Amsterdam last November. It took place in the Portuguese Synagogue, completed in 1675 and paid for by wealthy Jewish merchant families who had fled Spain and Portugal during the Inquisition.

It was packed to capacity with highly critical Jews in heavy coats, gloves, shawls. It was freezing cold. There was a heavy cordon of policemen around the The Snoge, as this synagogue is called by the Jews. Demonstrations of Israel bashers were announced.

The Snoge does not have electricity. There are no modern lights. There is no heat. But there were candles, thousands of them, in old brass chandeliers, and soon it wasn’t cold anymore; the warmth was radiated by our bodies. I saw many Jews who are member of the social-democrat party, nowadays a group leaning towards favoring the Palestinians. But when Bibi entered, we all got up and gave him an ovation, the liberal Jews as well, minute after minute after minute until he begged us to sit.

And Bibi started talking, in the golden light of candles, as if this was a moment three hundred years old, no, three thousand years old. He spoke as a prophet, a general, a poet.

At ten feet from Bibi, I sat next to my friend Abraham Moszkowicz, the number one criminal trial lawyer in Holland and the best orator in our country. He was watching Bibi with open mouth, tears in his eyes, not believing the mastery Bibi showed. The rhythm, the pauses, the ease, the body movements – total control, total conviction, total emotion.

When Bibi ended his speech, we were all in tears. Aware of the significance of the historical and geographical position of this building, in which Bibi had spoken. Not that long ago, in this area of Amsterdam, the Jews were forced out of their homes and deported to Poland and killed in camps as if they were vermin. But here was a man who unapologetically told us that, if necessary, Israel was going to use force in order to defend us, the Jews in the Diaspora and the Jews in the Middle East.

There was no doubt why his words were genuine, and urgent, and critical. What he was talking about, that that are people who want to kill is because they want to kill us, we, Jews in Holland, do not question. The history of our desecrated families is proof of the terrible truth Bibi touched.

Outside, in the cold rain, behind the backs of a hundred policemen, we found three demonstrators hoarsely calling for a boycott of Israel.