A senior official from the Dutch Protestant Church pulled out of a Holocaust memorial event co-organized by Socialists who commemorated a Hamas leader.
Arjan Plaisier, secretary of the PKN umbrella of Dutch Protestant churches, announced Friday that he would neither be speaking nor attending the Kristallnacht commemoration event organized by the Platform Against Racism and Exclusion.
The platform lists among its Kristallnacht commemoration partners the International Socialists, which in 2004 held a ceremony in memory of Ahmed Yassin, a former spiritual leader of Hamas whom Israel killed that year. Another sponsor was the Dutch Palestine Committee, which supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, and far-left groups.
The Kristallnacht event is funded by Kerk in Actie, the PKN’s aid organization.
Likoed Nederland and other pro-Israel groups protested Plaisier’s planned attendance as a speaker at the event, which took place at the same time Sunday as the Jewish community’s official commemorative ceremony for the victims of the 1938 Kristallnacht pogroms in Germany and Austria, which many historians regard as the opening shot for the systematic application of violence against Jews by the Nazis and their helpers.
“After intensive dialogue, Arjan Plaisier decided not to speak at the event planned by the platform,” a PKN spokesman told Likoed Nederland. “We must respect the voices that we are hearing,” he added in reference to the protest.
The spokesman added that Plaisier decided “as a sign of good will” to attend the official ceremony organized by the Central Jewish Board, or CJO, at the Portuguese Synagogue of Amsterdam.
Plaisier told the Nederlands Dagblad newspaper, “I had not realized there were two commemorations, each sounding a different voice.”