Israeli expats protest Lieberman visit to Holland

By Cnaan Liphshiz, Haaretz – 10 Nov 2009

The scheduled arrival of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in the Netherlands Wednesday has touched off a rare display of discord between the local Jewish community and some Israelis living there. Holland has one of the largest Israeli communities in Europe.

A few dozen Dutch ex-Israelis from a group that says it is “critical of Israel” plan to confront Lieberman and his hosts from Holland’s largest Zionist group, the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel.

They intend to picket outside Amsterdam’s Golden Tulip Apollo Hotel, where Lieberman is slated to address dozens of CIDI members, citing his “racist motives” and “hate-mongering.” Lieberman says his controversial policies on Israeli Arabs, which include support for a mandatory pledge of allegiance, are not racist.

The protest by gate48 is directed against CIDI’s hospitality and the “uncritical” manner in which he will be received by the Dutch government, board member Erella Grassiani says.

In response CIDI founder Ronny Naftaniel noted that Lieberman was democratically elected, adding that instead of protesting, “we would wish that gate48 members would exercise their democratic rights in Israel itself.” Naftaniel also said that hosting Lieberman does not constitute agreement with his policies or viewpoints.

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