Last month I wrote about the Jerusalem conference organized by MK Aryeh Eldad and Geert Wilders. It was originally scheduled for this coming weekend, and then was later postponed. A truncated one-day version will take place this Sunday, December 14th.
As many of you know, I was invited to the Jerusalem conference, and our readers helped raised the funds for me to travel there. Just a few hours after I bought my non-refundable round-trip ticket to Tel Aviv, the postponement announcement came through.
I decided not to attend the one-day event because Mr. Eldad announced that the larger conference would be rescheduled after the Israeli elections in February. My air ticket can be changed (for a fee) to a different date, so rather than spend 33 total hours on a plane for a one-day event, I elected to wait for the later, larger event.
Now, alas, it seems that the larger conference has been completely cancelled. I haven’t received any communications from the organizers, but according to today’s Haaretz, “Queried about this, Eldad’s office wrote: ‘No follow-up conference is currently planned.’“
I have a year to change my air ticket, so I’m hoping to be able to transfer it to an event in Europe during that time, assuming that one occurs.
But for those of you who gave us money specifically for the Jerusalem trip, please let us know if you want it returned. Alternatively, if anyone wants to use it as an advance, in lieu of a donation during next year’s fundraising effort, that’s fine, too.
The most interesting thing about the Haaretz article is what it says about Vlaams Belang. Last month various unnamed sources asserted that VB had been invited to Jerusalem and then disinvited. But now Filip Dewinter is asserting that yes, he was invited:
Far-Right Belgian Party Vlaams Belang Says Invited to Jerusalem Meet
The leader of the Flemish far-right Vlaams Belang party said Thursday that MK Aryeh Eldad has invited him to an anti-Jihad conference in Jerusalem next year, though Eldad denies this.
Supposedly Mr. Eldad “denies this”, but read a bit further, and you’ll see how disingenuous Haaretz is being by calling it a “denial”:
– – – – – – – – –
According to Filip Dewinter, Eldad invited him to an event scheduled for March. The conference was planned as a follow-up event to an anti-Jihad summit which Professor Eldad is expected to open on Sunday in the capital.
Although many observers do not view Vlaams Belang’s anti-immigrant platform as anti-Semitic, and its leaders speak of Jews and Israelis as “allies” against radical Islam, Belgium’s Jewish leadership has boycotted the party, citing “strong anti-Semitic characteristics.”
After an initial inquiry from Haaretz, Dewinter confirmed yesterday to Joods Actueel, a Dutch-language Jewish-affairs publication based in Antwerp, that Eldad had invited him, adding that no exact date had been set due to Israel’s general election. Dewinter said he was waiting for Eldad’s final confirmation.
Queried about this, Eldad’s office wrote: “No follow-up conference is currently planned.” The leader of Flanders’ Jewish community, Eli Ringer, told Haaretz that should Vlaams Belang visit Jerusalem, “there will be a right mess because it will break the Jewish boycott of this problematic and xenophobic entity.”
So Mr. Eldad has denied nothing except that there will be any follow-up conference.
And what about “leader of Flanders’ Jewish community”? As Pamela pointed out last month, there’s more than one opinion among Flemish Jews, and the leader quoted above is simply a liberal Jewish leader. There are other opinions, especially within the Orthodox community in Antwerp, which are highly supportive of Filip Dewinter.
Aryeh Eldad was one of the main speakers at Counterjihad Brussels last year, and spent a long time in discussions with various members of Vlaams Belang. Here’s what he said recently about the party, as reported in the same Haaretz article:
Eldad said last month he would consider inviting Vlaams Belang to Jerusalem. “Theoretically, I would,” he said when queried. “On paper, Vlaams Belang is so pro-Jewish it should chair the conference, but we’re aware of its problematic aspects,” he added. “Still, Israel is in a crucial struggle and can’t be choosy with allies now.” Eldad said he organized the event due to take place on Sunday because of this urgency.
Hat tip: TV.