Netherlands / 17-01-2012
An early January article in the Dutch Christian daily Trouw sparked criticism in Israel and the Netherlands because the journalist invoked allegedly stereotypical anti-Jewish views and compared the process of giving birth in Israel’s health care system to military combat.
Writing in Trouw, or “allegiance,” about the birth of her child in Israel, Dutch journalist Ilse van Heusden titled her article “The chosen people have to be perfect.”
“To be pregnant in Israel is comparable to a military operation. Countless echoes and blood tests should produce the perfect baby, nothing can be left to the luck of the draw. The state demands healthy babies, and a lot of them, too,” she wrote. Van Heusden did not identify in the article the name of the medical center where she gave birth.
According to critics, she used skewed language to bash the Jewish state by militarizing every aspect of Israeli life, and employed forms of Christian anti-Semitic language to attack Israel’s right to exist.
Israeli NGO Missing Peace, a watchdog organization that monitors anti-Israeli sentiments in the Netherlands, first criticized van Heusden’s article in a report last week on its website. Speaking on the phone with The Jerusalem Post on Monday, Yochanan Visser, the head of Missing Peace and the author of the report, said, “Trouw’s antisemitic article about prenatal care in Israel is in fact just another example of how most Dutch media demonize and delegitimize Israel.”
Here is a prime example of the anti-Semitic content of the article:
“To be pregnant in Israel is comparable to a military operation. Countless echos and blood tests should produce the perfect baby, nothing can be left to the luck of the draw. The state demands healthy babies and a lot of them too”.
This was later followed by an outrageous lie about child allowances in Israel.
“What makes things even more emotionally charged is the Israeli demand to produce many children. The state promotes the birth of children by supplying, among other things, a considerable child allowance”.
After writing that she was diagnosed with the Cytomegalovirus (CMV) virus and as a result was requested to conduct an additional test, Van Heusden exclaimed:
“I was surprised about the spasmodic attitude about this test and the previous one. After all children are loved and honored here and Israel is a paradise when it comes to having children… But the flipside of the story is that having children is a demand and a discussion about that demand is not possible.”
In actual fact, the prenatal program in Israel consists of recommendations only; a woman can refuse to conduct any test at all stages of pregnancy.
Van Heusden then compared the Israeli prenatal care to the Dutch system which she holds in high esteem:
“Every time I had to undergo such a test (diabetes blood test) it caused distress. In the Netherlands my first pregnancy was without problems and it was dealt with by the obstetrician accordingly. I was boring but ‘boring was good’, explained the obstetrician.”
I am healthy and not in the category of the Ashkenazi Jews… yet I had to experience twelve echo tests and four blood tests”.
Writing about the birth of her son Van Heusden said;
“Finally we held this little baby boy in our arms that went through all those tests. When we admired his little fingers and toes we saw that one of his toes was too small. His personal revenge on the Israeli health system”.
It is obvious that Van Heusden twisted everything that was done to safeguard her health and that of her child into an attempt to prove that Israel is a racist state which has a system to produce perfect babies.
Her claims are so outrageous that rebuttal seems beyond the pale.
Willem Schoonen, the editor- in-chief of Trouw, denied the article is antisemitic, in a telephone interview on Monday.
He said the paper got “loads of e-mails on the story, negative e-mails.”
When asked why the readership response was negative, he said for the same reasons of anti-Semitism that are being leveled against the paper. He flatly denied the article is bashing the Jewish state, and said van Heusden wrote about “experiences from a pregnant woman coming from a different background” and dealing with a “new chapter in Israeli society.”
“Antisemitic reporting is not the way to win a new readership. Certainly for us,” said Schoonen, speaking from Amsterdam.