On February 1, Diederik van Dijk of the small Christian party SGP submitted a motion in the Dutch Parliament to ban the use of the slogan ‘From the river to the sea’ just as Germany and Austria already do. Van Dijk stated that this slogan comes from the Hamas charter and is a call for the extermination of all Jews.
Less than six months earlier, a Dutch judge had ruled in a case against Thomas Hofland that this Hamas slogan fell under freedom of expression. The increasing intensity and number of demonstrations for Palestine in the Netherlands prompted Van Dijk to now submit a motion for a ban on the use of this Hamas slogan. While a motion a few weeks earlier by CU and SGP to protest against South Africa’s indictment at the International Court of Justice fell a few votes short, the new motion received a majority in the House of Representatives. The socialist parties all voted against.
The Liberal Party of Justice Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius also voted in favor of the motion. Legislation for this motion is possible, but will mayors, police and judges also ensure enforcement? The current situation in The Netherlands does not give reason to optimism. The Nieuw Israelietisch Weekblad reported on February 10 demonstrations in Amsterdam where the Hitler salute was given without intervention and Biden, Rutte and Netanyahu were wished dead. In The Hague Central Station, demonstrators loudly chanted ‘Jesus was a Palestinian’ and ‘Yemen, Yemen make us proud, turn another ship around’, but the police did not intervene.
Typically, a conference called ‘Designing Return: From the River to the Sea’ will be held in Amsterdam on February 12. The organizers do not see a ban on this slogan by parliament as a problem.