The 4 May lecture in Amsterdam is not nominated by Abdelkader Benali. The writer withdrew after fuss over controversial statements about Jews in 2006.
“ There should not be a second doubt on this stage,” Benali writes about his decision on Twitter. The writer would give the lecture at the memorial meeting in De Nieuwe Kerk, prior to the National Commemoration on Dam Square.
The controversial statements were recorded in 2010 by war reporter Harald Doornbos in a column in HP/De Td. The two met in Beirut in July 2006, during the first days of war between Israel and terrorist organisation Hezbollah.
“ Benali bursts loose”, writes Doornbos. “Since he is a successful writer and has a little more money, he has come to Amsterdam South more often. Oh, my God, it turns out to be full of Jews. And the worst part is: they are so many Jews! Amsterdam Jews. You hardly feel comfortable as a Moroccan.”
Benali acknowledges that he made the statements. “But you have to see it in the atmosphere we were in,” he said yesterday in Het Parool. “There was war, there were bombing, and we were lying on the ground, I drank a glass of wine. We blew off steam during that drink. I said it in a drunken mood. It was black humor, irony and meltiness, in retrospect misplaced.”
Benali tweets that he had “spicy, but also good” conversations with representatives of the Jewish community. “They were of good will,” said the writer. “Unfortunately, they had to conclude that there is not enough support for my presentation.” Benali‘s lecture, titled The Silence of the Other, will be published.
The National Committee on 4 and 5 May says that it respects Benali’s choice and regrets the unrest that has arisen.