Sterilize the Palestinian people, Dutch writer Leon de Winter says with Israeli ambassador listening

Leon de Winter (source)

Elke Wetzig Wikimedia Commons

On the night a ceasefire came into effect ending eight days of Israeli slaughter that left 162 people, the vast majority unarmed civilians, dead in Gaza, Dutch columnist and author Leon de Winter proposed adding chemicals to Gaza’s water supply to sterilize the population.

The website PowNed reported that de Winter “made his proposal for forced eugenics yesterday evening in Amsterdam at a solidarity meeting of Dutch Jews,” and that the speech by de Winter was broadcast this morning by Dutch mainstream and publicly-funded Radio 1.

PowNed said:

De Winter responded in his speech to the accusations of genocide leveled against Israel, saying that the population of Gaza had only increased over the last few years. “Maybe we should secretly add some means of birth control to Gaza’s drinking water,” De Winter proceeded to propose.

The suggestion was met with roaring laughter by the public. Among the participants that evening were the Israeli ambassador to the Netherlands, Hiam Devon, and the cheerful leader of the [religious ultra-conservative] SGP party, Kees van der Staaij.

De Winter blogged until 2008 on the mainstream liberal news site Elsevier. He is also an “an adjunct fellow” at the Hudson Institute, a right-wing American think-tank.

While de Winter, known for his “humor,” might have intended his suggestion as some sort of sick joke, the reported reaction suggests that the audience were only too ready to mock an already dehumanized population.

De Winter’s comment fits neatly with Israel’s racist conception of Palestinians as a “demographic threat” simply because they are not Jews.

Such genocidal comments are particularly disturbing in The Netherlands given the upsurge of Islamophobia and xenophobia in recent years, and because the country had a particularly shameful history of collaboration with the Nazis in deporting Jews to their deaths during the Second World War.

Event backed by major Dutch Jewish communal and Zionist organizations

The 21 November event where de Winter spoke, titled “We Stand with Israel” and held at Amsterdam’s Jewish Cultural Center, was co-sponsored by a who’s who of Jewish communal and Zionist organizations, among them CIDI, Christians for Israel, WIZO (the Women’s International Zionist Organization), Collectieve Israel Actie (Israel Action Collective) and Mifgash, an organization that aims to encourage Jews to leave their home countries and emigrate to Israel.

De Winter’s repulsive comment is reminiscent of a genocidal call by American “academic” and former Harvard University fellow Martin Kramer at a conference in Israel in 2010 for the “surplus” population of Gaza to be reduced by cutting off humanitarian aid.

Daniel Bugel-Shunra, who translated the PowNed post, noted that the reader comments below it indicated little support for de Winter’s statement.

“Quite the contrary, which is a big surprise to me, especially since this website has strong anti-Islamic and anti-immigrant tendencies,” Bugel-Shunra told The Electronic Intifada.




I don't want this point to be misconstrued as calling Israel's behavior "restrained," but it seems that many Israelis and their armchair sycophants don't think they're killing Palestinians fast enough. It sort of makes me wonder what does hold Israel back relative to what these people want and how the next generation of Israeli leaders will escalate the destruction.

"Several people offered genocidal statements unprompted. What is the solution to Gaza? “Long term? I don't think you should write it down,” Debbie, an Australian who had emigrated to a town near Gaza, said. “Push delete on Gaza,” said a 22-year-old man standing on a hill in Sederot overlooking Gaza.

“Gaza need to disappear," said Chen, 23, a clerical worker in a doctor’s office in Ashkelon. "Disappear?" "Yes, kill them all. Of course. One time, and that's it." She dusted her hands together. "Nobody's good there." Her coworker, Miri, 52, nodded agreement."


If it is humor, then it is not funny. Otherwise, outdated advice; Zionists tried that in Acre in May 1948 by injecting typhoid germs into water supplies. They even tried, but failed, in Gaza too in May 1948.


Leon de Winter may be a neocon loon and an islamophobe, anti-Arab racist, but in all fairness, it should be noted that he is being quoted out of context.

His full remark was:

<i>“The Gazans are massacred so severely by the Jews, that from 1967 till today, their numbers have grown from 350,000 to 1.7 million. According to Arabs, the Zionists are committing “genocide” in Gaza. This is the most curious genocide in the history of mankind, since this is a form of genocide which causes the population to grow instead of making it decline. Maybe we should secretly add a birth control to the drinking water in Gaza…”</i>

It seems pretty clear to me that De Winter is using sarcasm to make a polemical argument: Israeli Jews are routinely accused of committing genocide on the people of Gaza, especially when the Israeli army unleashes yet another round of violence on it's population; but the argument simply doesn't add up, considering the population of Gaza has been growing quite rapidly and steadily for the last decades. And if Israel wanted the Palestinian population in Gaza to dwindle, it would surely find some means to do so. Hey, since we are being accused of genocide anyway, maybe we should find some means to bring the Palestinian birth rate down!

That's the point he's making.


The context in which he made the comment was a pro-Israel rally, among Zionists who almost certainly overwhelmingly believe that Palestinians in Gaza, most of whom are refugees, should not return home just because they are not Jews. As I noted, this concept of Palestinians as a “demographic threat” is quite naturalized in Zionist and Israeli discourse. It is also not necessary to accuse Israel of genocide in order to indict it for its appalling crimes, so de Winter is deploying the “genocide” argument here as a straw man.

His fallacious logic is that if Israel is not guilty of genocide, then Israel is innocent of any wrongdoing.

The fact that the population of Gaza is increasing is not evidence that Israel is not committing crimes. Nor is it evidence that Israel is also not obsessed with the Palestinian birthrate. It is, and as I documented in my book One Country, prominent Israeli public figures have at times suggested such things as birth control aimed at Palestinians. So yes, there is a context, and for me this is it.


The real straw man is that a growing population precludes genocide. That has nothing to do with the way genocide was defined by Raphael Lemkin nor how it is embodied in the UN Convention. The fact is that if Israel succeeds in denying territory and statehood to Palestinians it is only a matter of time before there are none left who would call themselves Palestinians - or only those who live as a minority in Israel, but Israel's policies seek also to erase their Palestinian identity. In fact, to qualify as genocide the Israeli's would only need to seek to significantly degrade the Palestinian genos - such as with the US genocides of Iraq and Viet Nam. Who could deny that that is occurring?
The Palestinian Genocide is known specifically as a slow genocide. It is also a publicity conscious genocide. The genocide machinery kills, but maximises deniability and dissimulation. Think of it as Eichmann meets Baudrillard. It is the same as genocide committed through sanctions. Bear in mind that when Lemkin coined the term genocide the physical aspect was only one of eight "fields" in which genocide operates and it was subdivided into 3 areas: 1) racial discrimination in feeding; 2) endangerment of health 3) mass killing. All three apply to the Palestine Genocide. Of the other 7 "fields" 5 are inarguably applicable, 2 arguably so.


Jack, here is some more context. In the radio broadcast, Leon de Winter first was quoted saying:

"They hate the Jews because the Jews are stronger. Jews should not be that, in their culture. Jews should be second rank citizens, since Jews are the descendants of apes and pigs, their culture says. So it is intolerable that the Jews are stronger." (Dutch)

From the clip it is unclear who "they" with "their culture" are. ("Arabs" or "Gazans" as he says in the genocide quote? "Muslims" as he does in other outlets?. (fwiw, Jack, you left out "Israeli". He said: "massacred so severely by the Israeli Jews"). But whatever opposite he meant in "they" vs. "the Jews", he speaks the racist language. And it does not undo his genocidal remark, as Ali Abunimah pointed out.


Hi eGuard, I'm Dutch. He is talking about "these boys", "these little boys" and "that kind of boys" in Gaza, and their culture, the ones he want to prevent from being born.


My source says his transcription is not to be trusted. Any unedited audio of the speech available? Whatever, Ali's point is unchallenged.


It is a common knowledge that Jews were victims of Nazi genocide. But, by this kind of "logic", how about saying :"see, there is a lot of Jews in the world now, never-mind the genocide, so, why not sterilize them"?

I wonder whether Jack is ready to point to "context" (i.e. genocide) in such case or no?


I perfectly agree with the linguistic observations. This doesn't change the profile of the gentleman: he is indeed "a neocon loon and an islamophobe, anti-Arab racist".


The reason the population increased is due to the refugees from the 1948 establishment of Israel then the 1967 war.


Defending de Winter's comment on genocide is ludicrous, ignorant and extremely anti-semitic. Would it be possible for a population to grow despite acts of genocide? Secondly, just have a look at the geographical map in 1947 and compare that with 2012. Whatever propaganda you choose to believe in, the picture of those maps don't lie. You tell me who is being exterminated and threatened on a massive scale. How would you feel if you are being pushed out of your country with force under the threat of death? If you are a Jew who lived during WOII you probably know what I am talking about. You have to give your head a shake and think for a second. I am being generous here!


Leon de Winter has published the "text of the speech" this weekend.

In the audio quote he says:
"Maybe WE should, secretly, add an anticonception agent to the freshwater in Gaza" [laughter and applause].

His own transcription now afterwards reads:
"Maybe there should be added, secretly, an anticonception agent to the freshwater in Gaza":
So, into passive voice, no more "we".

No reason to claim "context" issues, when you manipulate the source "text" yourself.


The text says: "Please keep this a secret, or else the media, who already like me very much, will attack me again. But I will say it nevertheless (pay attention, this is sarcasm): maybe birth control should be added to the drinking water in Gaza."

But in reality, he never said "(pay attention, this is sarcasm)" in his speech. One day later he read the speech from paper in a tv show, and again he omitted that.

True, what he really said was "maybe WE should add birth control to the drinking water." And he left out "Gaza" as well.


de Winter's logic is borrowed from those apologists for the NAZIs who trivialised the genocidal intent behind their "final solution" by pointing to thriving communities of Jews in Israel and elsewhere.
No doubt his intention was merely to entertain his audience but in doing so he reminds us that fascists are fascists whether they be German, Dutch or Israeli. And that joking about the massacres of women and children is something that they just can't stop doing. It is almost as much fun as piloting a drone with a joystick.
Remember the IDF T-shirt from 2009 with the pregnant woman target on it?


Is it that the population is really growing at such an astronomical rate, or is it that the Palestinian refugees from all over Palestine are being shoved into a small parcel of land called Gaza? Either way you look at it, the indiscriminate killing of the Palestinians, and the fact that 6 million of them are refugees with no right to return to their homeland, and the fact that Israel and pro-Israeli organizations actively recruit white Jews to settle on stolen land, kind of sounds a lot like genocide. It's the killing and forcing out of the native population by the colonizing population. It's America and Manifest Destiny and the genocide of the Native Americans all over again. Israelis learn from the best, mother America. After all, it was the Americans who undertook compulsory sterilization of Native American and Black women. Ariel Sharon's son, Gilad Sharon, shared some good ol' American wisom when he reminded us "The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too."


I was thinking this too. I would venture to say all populations in the area have gone up in general. But in these attacks Israel is able to keep its losses in the single digits while wiping out Palestinian civilians by the hundreds.


You can listen to the audio clip here:
Of course it's in Dutch, but the audience laughing, unanimous and without hesitation, is evident.

The Dutch publicly funded tv station NOS filmed the evening, see: but didn't include the scandalous remark. On the contrary, it starts the reportage with "No demonstration, but prayer and music in Amsterdam."

As Daniel Shunra mentioned: De Winter is a long time peddler of second hand Holocaust traumas, not unlike Elie Wiesel. Even when his subject material has absolutely nothing to with jews or holocaust, he twists it into a(n Arab/Palestinian/muslim etc.) conspiracy against jews.

For example, in 2006 De Winter wrote in the popular Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that many Dutch "envy and hate the Jews because of their exceptional status of Ultimate Victim after the Holocaust ... This is the temptation of the Pelestinian drama for the [useful] idiot and the anti-semite - the chance to push the Jew from his victim throne."

Dutch lawyer Heikelien Verrijn Stuart once stated that the cultivation of victimism in the end leads to facism: "Victimists try to aquire power via recognition or redress. A power they think they earned because of an innocence contructed by their victimism." She stated that victimism creates a pretext of not having to feel responsable. (source, Dutch: http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.... ).

Leon de Winter is the perfect proof of victimism turning into fascism. De Winter doesn't want to feel responsible for the massacre in Gaza - and that indicates that he somehow does. But the Dutch are very good at keeping silence and looking away. In World War 2 we deported twice as much jews to elimination camps than Belgium, and three times more than France.


"Humour" or not it was an appalling thing to say. If someone had made a similar "joke" about Jews they would have been arrested.


I find this terrifying. It's also visually frightening: when did AIPAC's logo get that scary modern fascist look? Ditto the Dutch poster. Very reminiscent of '30s propaganda. Might be worth a story?


In the Netherlands you can say the most vile, perverse and depraved things, als long as it targets muslims and some other unpopular ethnic minorities. Because that is considered an 'opinion', 'satire' or 'irony'.


It totally diminishes the credibility of the website and the blog author, as well as those making comments in agreement, to suggest that de Winter was legitimately suggesting genocide or sterilization. Disingenuous postings and deliberate falsehoods (which I think, if the blogger were attached to a polygraph test, would be the case here) from the pro-Palestinian side only make it more difficult for impartial readers to learn the issues. Suggesting de Winter or the Israelis truly want genocide is idiotic, as it is well-within the capability of Israel to conduct a genocide of Gazans within a week, given their military capability. Gaza is a very small area and could be carpet bombed very easily. You may not like Israel, Israelis, Jews, America, etc., but no legitimate mainstream leaders from any of those groups have ever proposed anything like a real genocide, unlike the democratically elected leaders of Hamas. Does the author think if Hamas had the weaponry that Israel has, there would be the same low numbers of casualties on the Israeli side? So let us talk about legitimate ways to end the conflict, and not fantasies.


As an answer for that incredibly devilish living thing "Leon de Winter", I would say that even if you and your friends will sterilize Palestinians there will be absolutely no rest for you.. As a matter of fact, your inhuman ideas might be the real tirigerer of our anger, thus you will be the only looser....I am saying this if you ever realize what your little minds think about...People around the world are growing more and more conscious of your inhumanity as well as the impossibility of co-living with you ... you are just a bunch of criminals..


Please check your stats in this article re losses: you quote162-I have between1,166-1470


WWII has been forgotten and the mistakes made leading up to it have also been forgotten. Leon de Winter is out of control. Imagine if the same "joke" was made about the need to sterilise the Jews. There would be absolute outrage. But that "joke" was played out 70 years ago. The war fought seemingly for nothing. All those died so that Leon de Winter could sprout his filth. Ann Frank died for nothing. Can we expect a "Diary of Fatima" to be published describing the Nazique Israeli regime and abuse of the Palestinians.