Israeli President Herzog opens Holocaust museum in Amsterdam amid protest

Israeli President Herzog opens Holocaust museum in Amsterdam amid protest - International News - News

Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s Controversial Attendance at Amsterdam National Holocaust Museum Amid Pro-Palestinian Protest and International Criticism

Israeli President Isaac Herzog graced the opening of the National Holocaust Museum in Amsterdam on a somber Sunday, amidst pro-Palestinian protests advocating for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the ongoing Gaza conflict. The tension was palpable as demonstrators, armed with Palestinian flags and signs bearing messages like “Jews against genocide” and “The grandchild of a holocaust survivor says: Stop Gaza Holocaust,” echoed chants of “Never again is now” and “Ceasefire now.”

The gravity of the situation was further compounded by disturbing reports from health officials in Gaza, stating that over 31,000 Palestinians have perished since Israel initiated its military offensive in the territory following an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas fighters on southern Israel, leaving approximately 1,200 people dead and 253 in captivity according to Israeli records. Human rights group Amnesty International took a bold stand by erecting detour signs around the museum, urging Herzog to visit the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.

In response to international scrutiny, Israel has consistently emphasized its reluctance to engage in this conflict and its commitment to minimizing civilian casualties. Despite this stance, the Israeli military has been criticized for fighting militants within densely populated areas, which has unfortunately resulted in significant loss of life and damage to infrastructure.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s past remarks have been a subject of contention, with some of his statements being cited in South Africa’s ICJ lawsuit against Israel. In one such instance, Herzog acknowledged that an “entire nation” was responsible for the Oct. 7 attack and vowed that Israel would fight relentlessly until it broke Hamas’ backbone. However, Herzog has refuted these claims, asserting that his comments were distorted and only part of a larger context was exploited to build a case against Israel in the ICJ.

Prior to assuming the largely ceremonial role of president, Herzog had been the head of Israel’s Labor party – a historically pacifist organization that has advocated for peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. The National Holocaust Museum had extended an invitation to Herzog before the Hamas attack and subsequent offensive in Gaza. In a statement, the museum acknowledged the controversial nature of his attendance but emphasized that he represented the homeland of Dutch Holocaust survivors who had immigrated to Israel following World War II.

The Holocaust, orchestrated by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulted in the deaths of approximately six million Jews. The establishment of modern Israel in 1948 was driven by the imperative to create a safe haven for Jews, providing them with a sanctuary from such unimaginable horrors.