Harry van Bommel

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Harry van Bommel
Harry van Bommel portret 1.jpg
Member of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands
Assumed office
May 19, 1998
Personal details
Born Henricus van Bommel
(1962-06-24) June 24, 1962 (age 54)
Helmond, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Political party Socialist Party (Socialistische Partij - SP)
Residence Diemen, Netherlands
Alma mater University of Amsterdam (MA - Political science)
Occupation Politician, educator
Religion Roman Catholic[1]
Website (English) Socialist Party website

Henricus (Harry) van Bommel (born June 24, 1962 in Helmond) is a Dutch politician, anti-globalization activist and former educator. As a member of the Socialist Party (Socialistische Partij) he has been an MP since May 19, 1998. He focuses on matters of foreign policy and the European Union.


Born in the province of North Brabant, he grew up in Heino, which is a village in the province of Overijssel. Van Bommel was a teacher of Dutch and English before entering politics, having attended the University of Amsterdam to study political science.

He joined the Socialist Party in 1986, eventually joining its executive committee overseeing students, where he remained until 1994. In that year, he was elected to the Amsterdam City Council, having been elected to the Amsterdam East district council in 1990.

In May 1998, Van Bommel became a member of the Dutch House of Representatives for the Socialist Party. Van Bommel's work as a Socialist Party member has, since 1994, included focus on educational policy and on international affairs. In the former capacity, he contributed to the "Alles Kids?" report on diminishing opportunities for youth.

Gaza demonstration 2009[edit]

Gaza demonstration Amsterdam, January 3, 2009, with Harry van Bommel (left) and activist Gretta Duisenberg (right)

Following the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip late 2008-early 2009, the SP MPs Van Bommel and Sadet Karabulut on January 3, 2009 in Amsterdam took part in a demonstration against the actions of Israel, chanting the slogan "Intifada, Intifada, Palestine free". This led to criticism of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), the Party for Freedom (PVV) and the Centre Information and Documentation Israel (CIDI), which suggested that this was a call to violence. Also, SP leader Agnes Kant said: "I would not have done [this], because it leads to misunderstandings."[2] Van Bommel denied that he wanted to incite violence; according to him intifada can be understood as "civil disobedience". The incident was reason for the Rabbi Raphael Evers of the "Dutch Israelite Religious Community" (Nederlands Israëlitisch Kerkgenootschap - NIK) to demand that van Bommel not be present at the Auschwitz Memorial in Amsterdam on January 25. The Dutch Auschwitz Committee - the organizer of the meeting - said, however, that Van Bommel was welcome[3] and called the case "a bloated affair." But eventually, Van Bommel let to known that he would not be present because he didn't want "that commotion about his presence at the expense of the actual memorial".

At the public rally on January 3, 2009 Van Bommel was videotaped calling for an intifada against Israel. Radio Netherlands Worldwide reported that the event launched widespread criticism.[4] He was accused of "incitement to hate, violence and discrimination against Jews" in a complaint to the Dutch Ministry of Justice by prominent attorney, and the lawyer of the Dutch politician Geert Wilders in his ongoing trial (2011), Bram Moskowicz.[5] According to Ha'aretz, in an online video Van Bommel's voice can be heard while protesters chant "Hamas, Hamas, send the Jews to the gas." Van Bommel told Haaretz he "did not hear the calls," and would "have left had he heard them."[6]


  1. ^ Perdefinitie.nl biography
  2. ^ Witt, Robbert de (5 January 2009). "Kant tikt Van Bommel op vingers na intifada-oproep". Elsevier (in Dutch). Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "Van Bommel toch bij Auschwitzherdenking". De Telegraaf (in Dutch). 9 January 2009. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  4. ^ http://www.radionetherlands.nl/news/zijlijn/6131488/Van-Bommel-will-not-attend-Auschwitz-ceremony
  5. ^ "Top Lawyer Requests Prosecution of SP MP Van Bommel". nisnews.nl. NIS News Bulletin. 2015. Archived from the original on 9 January 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  6. ^ Liphshiz, Cnaan (15 January 2009). "Dutch MP: I never heard Gaza protesters shouting 'Jews to the gas'". Haaretz. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Harry van Bommel at Wikimedia Commons