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Jews, Non-jews Rally for Israel Throughout Europe After Attacks

January 23, 1991
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Rallies of solidarity with Israel, following two attacks by Iraqi missiles last week and preceding Tuesday’s third attack, drew thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish supporters in Rome, Paris and Amsterdam on Sunday and Monday.

But strong anti-Israel sentiments were expressed at peace rallies in Italy and Holland, where the issue of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians drew more attention than Saddam Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait.

About a thousand pro-Israel demonstrators massed outside the Israeli Embassy in Paris on Monday evening, waving Israeli, American, British and French flags.

They shouted “Am Yisrael Chai” and “Bastard Saddam, the world will get you.”

The rally, organized by Herut-France with various Zionist organizations, was attended by many junior politician of right-wing opposition parties, who were received earlier by the Israeli ambassador, Ovadia Soffer.

A similar demonstration was held outside the Israeli Embassy in Rome on Sunday, attended by more than 1,000 people.


Many of the men in the crowd wore yarmulkes and waved Israeli flags and posters reading “Israel, we are with you.”

The demonstration was organized by the Italy-Israel Society as a gesture of solidarity with the Jewish state and to express hope it will be left in peace.

Many participants expressed concern over the pro-Iraq, anti-American and increasingly anti-Semitic attitudes being expressed by hundreds of thousands of self-proclaimed pacifists all over Italy since the Gulf war broke out.

Writer Fiamma Nirenstein said she was “stupefied after the attacks on Israel at what has been the reaction in my country.

“Here today we have a demonstration of 1,000 people outside the Embassy of Israel, the country which suffered these attacks, while on the streets, tens of thousands of people go out under slogans which are pro-Iraqi,” she said.

Strong pro- and anti-Israel rallies took place in Amsterdam.

More than 2,000 people, including prominent Dutch political figures, attended a solidarity rally for Israel on Monday night sponsored by the Israel Coordination Committee, an ad hoc group set up by the major Jewish and Zionist organizations in Holland.

Ien Dales, the secretary of domestic affairs, represented the Dutch government. “Today we show our strong and deep relations with the people and State of Israel,” she said. “It is at this very moment that Israel must be sure it can count on its friends.”


But there was another side to the coin.

A public meeting in Amsterdam on Sunday night, organized to “combat the enemy image” of all Moslems and Arabs in Holland, developed into a verbal mass attack on Israel and ended in pandemonium.

Many members of the audience — Kurds, Turks and Dutch-born Moslems — attacked Israel and the fact that Palestinians were not issued gas masks when they were given out to Jews.

They also complained that Jews in Holland are treated with much more respect than Moroccans and Turks.

A pro-Moslem rally attended by several hundred people was held outside the American Consulate last Friday night.

A peace demonstration in The Hague on Saturday drew 2,000 to 3,000 people and was marked by attacks on the United States.

(Contributing to this report were JTA correspondents Ruth E. Gruber in Rome and Henrietta Boas in Amsterdam. Also contributing was Ruben E. Vis in Amsterdam.)

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