You surely recall the Iraqi "journalist" who threw his shoe at George Bush. Well, there has been an epidemic of shoe-flinging ever since. A shoe was even hurled at the prime minister of China, Wen Jiabao, when he visited London a while ago.

And now lobbing footwear has come to Holland.  Israeli Captain (Res.) Ron Edelheit had arrived to visit his mother in Amsterdam and was asked to speak to members of the Jewish community about Operation Cast Lead, the military move against Hamas in Gaza. He went to the designated place, the Hotel Apollo, and found a crowd ready to listen and also ready to heckle.

Three of the hecklers in the hotel room also slung shoes at the captain. Is this an expression of free speech that will now be protected as an instance of free speech? After all, it is a common practice in Arab countries and in the Muslim world.

But, apparently, the folk who were doing the chucking were not Arabs or Muslims. Edelheit said that they were "typically Dutch-looking." Who says that Westerners have no respect for the culture of others?

Still, better shoes than grenades or bombs.