AMSTERDAM (Feb. 28)
A documentary film with a strong anti-Israel bias, due to be screened on national television March II, has aroused angry protests from the organized Dutch Jewish community and the three congregational branches of Judaism in Holland. The 90-minute film, titled “The Place of the Stranger,” was previewed for the press yesterday under the auspices of The Netherlands Ministry of Culture which had subsidized its production.
The film was made by a young Ditch Jew, Rudolph Van Dan Berg. Demands that it be banned or that the most controversial sequences be deleted were rejected by the Ministry on grounds that the protesters had not even seen the film.
But the Ashkenazic congregation in Amsterdam may seek a court order to delete a sequence that was made in its synagogue last May at services celebrating the 30th anniversary of Israel’s independence and the synagogue building’s 50th anniversary. The congregation says it was not aware of the anti-Israel nature of the documentary when it granted permission to film the services.
The synagogue sequence focusses on the sermon delivered by Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Meir Just which it interprets as fiercely nationalistic and anti-Palestinian. Earlier, a Dutch court rejected an appeal by a Jewish journalist, Hermann Bleich, to order deletion of a sequence in which he was interviewed without knowledge, he says, of the film’s nature. The documentary depicts Israel as a strongly militaristic state that created the Palestinian refugee problem and has caused great suffering to Palestinians on the West Bank, Gaza and in south Lebanon.