Wife of EU Central Bank president sued for anti-zionist remarks

Ha'aretz Daily
November 1st-7th 2002
By The Associated Press

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - The wife of European Central Bank President Wim Duisenberg is being sued by a prominent Dutch lawyer for alleged anti-Semitic comments, prosecutors said Friday. The legal action filed against Gretta Duisenberg-Bedier de Prairie arose from remarks she made on Dutch radio last weekend during a pro-Palestinian rally in Amsterdam.

Duisenberg-Bedier de Prairie, who openly supports the Palestinian cause, recently began a petition against Israeli military action against the Palestinians. The radio reporter asked her how many signatures she hoped to collect.

After a brief pause, she replied: "Six million," and laughed. In the claim filed with Amsterdam prosecutors on behalf of anonymous clients, attorney Abraham Moszkowicz alleges that the comment referred to the number of Jewish victims of the Holocaust and constitutes discrimination under Dutch law.

Prosecutors in the Dutch capital said Friday they are investigating the complaint and considering charges of their own. "She thought before she spoke, and therefore intentionally insulted people," Moszkowicz was quoted Friday as telling the national daily newspaper De Volkskrant.

According to the paper, the radio reporter had assumed Duisenberg-Bedier de Prairie had laughed about the high number of signatures she hoped to collect. "Even if that were the case," Moszkowicz said, "that's just too bad because she didn't say 16 (million), she said six."

Duisenberg-Bedier de Prairie said in the radio interview that she had collected 10,000 signatures.

It's not the first time the wife of Europe's most prominent economist has came under criticism for her outspoken opinions. The banker has said his wife's views are her own.

In May, she received a death threat in the mail after draping a Palestinian flag from the couple's home in an upscale neighborhood in Amsterdam. After complaints from the neighbors, she took it down.

In a recent note, Arafat suggested naming a new human rights institute after her.

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