THE HAGUE (JTA) — Former Dutch Prime Minister Dries Van Agt reportedly said that the Jewish state should have been established in Germany.
“Jews need a safe place. Why couldn’t they get a safe place in Germany at the time?” Van Agt said Nov. 8 during a seminar in Nijmegen, according to the Dutch daily Telegraaf.
The paper described Van Agt, the prime minister in the early 1980s and a harsh critic of Israel, as a “pro-Palestinian activist.”
Jack de Vries, a lawmaker for Van Agt’s party, the centrist Christian Democratic Appeal, is quoted as telling the Elsevier weekly that he “nearly fell from the chair” when he heard Van Agt’s words.
“This remark reflects very little respect for history, especially considering the timing — the 74th anniversary of Kristallnacht,” De Vries said.
Van Agt later told Elsevier that he "only said it would be more logical for Jews to have gotten a piece of land in Germany" as "the Middle East had nothing to do with World War II."
In 2008, Van Agt spoke at rally in Rotterdam that featured a speech via satellite by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
Van Agt has said he would accept the definition of Hamas as a terrorist organization only if the same definition applied to Israel.