Dutch MP refuses to shake hands with Israeli PM

Footage of Tunahan Kuzu, a Dutch MP of Turkish origin, refusing to shake hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjanim Netanyahu during his visit to the Dutch Parliament has drawn mixed reactions.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Dutch Parliament Member Tunahan Kuzu (L) refuses to shake hands with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to the States General at the Binnenhof as part of Netanyahu's visit to the Netherlands at the Binnenhof, in the Hague, on September 7,

Updated Sep 9, 2016

A media debate has broken out after footage emerged on Thursday of Dutch Muslim MP Tunahan Kuzu refusing to shake hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In the video Kuzu is seen wearing a badge with the colours of the Palestinian flag, while Netanyahu rolls his eyes and grimaces in response to the rejection.

Kuzu, who is of Turkish origin and leads an anti-racist movement named Denk, justified his action in a Facebook post after the incident which criticised the decision of the Netherlands to "roll out the red carpet" for Netanyahu when "the streets of Gaza were coloured red in the summer of 2014 with blood flowing from the veins of children."

Netanyahu was visiting the Dutch Parliament on the second day of his trip to The Netherlands on Wednesday when the footage of the awkward moment was taken.

Kuzu’s refusal to shake the Israeli prime minister’s hand attracted support from critics of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians on social media:

But the editor of the right-wing Dutch news website De Dagelijkse Standaard, Michael van der Galien, criticized Kuzu, saying he was guilty of "shameful behaviour" and implied he was motivated by antisemitism.

Another Dutch news website, The Post Online, quoted Kuzu as saying: "We are not anti-Semitic, and criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism."

Later, Netanyahu hit back at Kuzu in a video posted on his official Twitter account in which he asserted, "Today, we saw another clear example – of those who want peace and those who don’t."

The International Criminal Court (ICC), which is based in the Netherlands, has opened a preliminary inquiry into war crimes in the Palestinian territories. During Netanyahu's visit to the country some protesters called for Netanyahu to be tried by the court.

TRTWorld and agencies