Geert Wilders Once Again Endures a Firestorm of Criticism
by Jerry Gordon (April 2014)
Municipal elections were held in The Netherlands on March 19th and in France on March 23rd. While a minority of registered voters cast ballots in each country, the results appeared to indicate that the Euro skeptic parties may be on the rise. Bloomberg Business Week commented in a mid-February 2014 article on the results of the Swiss anti-immigration referendum that these parties might be in contention to take upwards of 150 of the 751 seats in the May 22nd to 25th European Parliamentary Elections. The Swiss People’s Party referendum on immigration control passed by 19,000 votes. The Economist called Marine Le Pen’s first round municipal election results on Sunday, March 23rd, a veritable “triumph.” Perhaps indicating that her National Front party would do well in the second round on March 30th in France. It trumpeted the devastation of France’s media and President Hollande:
FOR Libération, it was a “slap in the face”. For Le Monde, another daily newspaper, it was an “earthquake”. The first round of voting in French municipal elections on March 23rd was a clear snub to François Hollande, the French president, whose Socialist Party did worse than polls had predicted in several towns. If there was a symbolic victor ahead of the second round of voting on March 30th, it was Marine Le Pen, the leader of the populist National Front.
The leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, Nigel Farage, given current trending opinion polls, may be poised to surpass the Labor party. It alleged in a UK Telegraph report that Lady Thatcher’s unofficial biographer considers Farage’s immigration and EU stands “closely aligned” with her views. A decade ago this writer was on a weekly international Radio America panel with Farage where as the lone UKIP Member of the European Parliament he boosted these views. These opinion polls prior to the May European Parliamentary elections reflect the ascendency of the anti-immigration Euro skeptic parties in many EU countries.
In a November 2013 Iconoclast post we wrote glowingly about the prospects of the Euro skeptic alliance led by Le Pen and in The Netherlands by Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party (PVV).
The groundlings in The Netherlands have cottoned to Wilders’ arguments, tired of bailing out the Euro Zone crisis, the equivalent of a confiscatory tax burden, and the EU imposing anti-democratic Constitutions on the country’s basic laws. We have posted on his developing alliance with a refurbished National Front in France led by Marie Le Pen. Their alliance hopes to include other like-minded Euro skeptic parties in the UK and elsewhere in the EU. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published in the European edition, Wilders laid out the prospects for a new Glorious revolution of National Patriotism, “The Resurgence of European Patriotism.”
In a February 7, 2014, Iconoclast post we drew attention to his NExit report on the costs and benefits of The Netherlands leaving the EU.
Geert Wilders is serious about the Netherlands withdrawing from the bureaucratic morass of the EU. That would include returning to the Guilder instead of the Euro as the country's currency. He held a news conference at The Hague and released the findings of an assessment of what the proposal would mean to the Netherlands and its citizens. The NExit report, “Assessing the economic impact of the Netherlands leaving the European Union” purports to be a macro-economic analysis of the effects of exiting the EU in terms of future impacts on gross domestic product, national and personal income, as well as other costs and benefits. NExit puts gravitas behind Wilders’ proposal. It should be considered the opening bow shot in the upcoming May 2014 European Parliamentary elections where Wilders has already built up a head of steam in the polls in Holland. Further there are the burgeoning alliances with similar Euro skeptic parties like Vlaam Belang in Belgium and Marine le Pen’s National front in France as well as other parties in the EU.
Among the benefits of NExit report benefits from the departure of The Netherland from the EU were:
· Costs of doing business in Holland would be reduced by a minimum of 20 billion Euros;
· Public finance would add a cumulative 240 billion to GDP by 2035;
· Public spending would be reduced by 7.5 billion Euros through revised immigration policies;
· Expansion of trade with both major trading partners and emerging growth countries;
· Tailoring monetary and fiscal policies to the needs of the Netherlands economy add a cumulative 309 billion Euros by 2035.
All of those glittering prospects came before the March 19th, municipal elections in The Netherlands with surprising results both for the Dutch ruling coalition parties and a savage backlash against Wilders.
The municipal elections in Holland saw a minority vote that went heavily against the liberal parties, especially Labor and the conservative liberal VVD ruling coalition party of incumbent PM Mark Rutte. The Policy Network think tank of the Dutch Labor Party (PvdA) bemoaned its crushing defeat in several major cities, “Electoral Bloodbath for Dutch Labor”:
The Labor party lost big time in the midterm municipal elections on Wednesday 19 March. Really big time: it was a historical bloodbath. For the first time in nearly a century, it lost the Red Big Cities, the traditional stronghold of Dutch social democracy. It lost Amsterdam. It lost Rotterdam. It lost The Hague, Enschede and Groningen.
Nationwide, Labor took just over 10% of the vote, down from 15% four years ago: a major drubbing, representing a loss of 1/3 of their vote. The other government party, Prime Minister Rutte’s VVD, fell from 15% to less than 12%.
Wilders’ PVV, while it did not run slates in major cities, did win in several smaller municipalities. He emphasized these municipal elections as the equivalent of a national poll of the party’s anti- immigration agenda.
The defeated Labor conservative – Liberal (VVD) ruling coalition then went after Geert Wilders, as the cause of their electoral drubbing. Dutch media outlets excoriated his remarks in a TV news video at his March 19th campaign rally in the Hague. Mr Wilders asked supporters of his Freedom Party if they wanted more or fewer Moroccans there. His followers chanted: “fewer, fewer and fewer.” According to a BBC report, Wilders meant that he was “referring only to Moroccan criminals.” Dutch Moroccans were urged to file discrimination complaints. Peter Martino in a Gatestone Institute article, “European Elections Turned Nasty,” noted the menacing demographic realities of the Moroccan émigré community roiling The Netherlands:
In The Hague, as in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, non-Western immigrants – mostly Moroccans – already make up over one-third of the population, and almost half of the population under 21 years of age. Moreover, Moroccan criminality is a huge problem in the Netherlands.
Moroccans top the Dutch crime statistics. They are 5 times more involved in vandalism, 6 times more in violence, and 22 times more in robbery than indigenous Dutch. Two years ago, Diederik Samsom, leader of the governing Labor Party, said that Moroccans have an "ethnic monopoly on trouble" in the Netherlands. They are also overrepresented among those who live on welfare benefits.
An example of Wilders’ concerns was the murder of Dutch film maker Theo Van Gogh on the streets of Amsterdam in November 2004 by Dutch Moroccan, Mohammed Bouyeri. Bouyeri was incensed about Van Gogh's film Submission, about women under Islam, based on a script written by Somali- Dutch politician, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ali subsequently left Holland for America, becoming a noted author and advocate for women’s rights. Below, Wilders unapologetically answers his critics.
Nevertheless, two Hague Parliamentary PVV members left the party’s delegation and Wilders’ post election opinion poll standing sank below his previous lead position. The partisan Labor Party Policy Network exclaimed:
TV-footage of this nasty event caused a storm of shock and rejection all over the Netherlands. Social organizations, churches, media, other political parties: all reacted in the strongest possible words, accusing Wilders of threatening a whole ethnic community and poisoning the inter-ethnic relations in the Netherlands.
Peter Martino, writing in his Gatestone Institute article cited the virulent reactions:
Media outlets at once compared Wilders to Nazi leaders such as Hitler and Goebbels. Schools began to issue guidelines to instruct pupils on how to deal with Wilders. His political opponents, including Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Justice Minister Ibo Opstelten demanded that Wilders retract his statements or face serious political and judicial consequences. They called on those who felt "insulted" by Wilders to press criminal charges of discrimination against him. The police have facilitated such complaints by providing pre-filled "Wilders forms" and offering to come to people's homes if they intend to press criminal charges, rather than having them come to the police station, as is the normal procedure. The aim clearly is to bog the politician Wilders down in costly court cases for weeks and months, perhaps even years, to come.
People who attended Wilder’s rally have received threats and local PVV politicians supporting their party leader also had charges pressed against them. The pressure against other PVV politicians and their families has led to the departure of two of the 14 PVV parliamentarians, one of the four PVV members of the European Parliament, and several provincial and municipal councilors.
5,000 people demonstrated against Wilders in Amsterdam. The Amsterdam mayor, a member of the Labor Party, led the demonstrators who shouted: "We are all Moroccans." Some of the demonstrators were carrying the black al-Qaida flag. Others carried slogans such as "Wilders hond van Israel", which literally means "Wilders dog of Israel." Calling someone a dog is an Islamic insult.
On Sunday March 23rd, Dutch state television broadcasted a church service against Wilders. An opinion poll released the same day, showed that the affair has cost Wilders his leading position in the polls. The biggest Dutch party is now the Liberal Democratic Party, which is fervently pro-EU. A sigh of relief can be heard in Brussels
International Business Times reported that just prior to the March 19th municipal elections a Dutch Moroccan rapper Hozny released a video clip simulating a person made up to look like Wilders kneeling before an al Qaeda flag about to be executed.
In the video by Hozny, which is interspersed with clips of Wilders and photos of Hitler, a politician in a cheap blond wig is kidnapped by men in black ski masks. The video ends with the politician tied up and on his knees as the men point guns at his head. The clip has been viewed more than 61,000 times since it was posted less than a day earlier.
Wilders, known for his longish blond hair, has called the video a direct threat and plans to pursue legal action, the English-language DutchNews.nl reported. “If this is no threat, then what is?” Wilders reportedly said.
That was an eerie and dangerous allusion to the assassination of Van Gogh and earlier that of Pym Fortune.
But there was a disturbing side show to this partisan Dutch diatribe against Wilders; an attack with anti-Semitic overtones against a US ally of Wilders, Daniel Pipes, of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Foundation in the Dutch press. Pipes had paid Wilders legal defense expenses in the Amsterdam District Court case on race hatred charges under Dutch laws that eventuated in Wilders’ acquittal in 2011. Pipes in a blog post recounted what happened in the wake of March 19th uproar, “Hating Geert Wilders.” Note what happened when he was asked by a Dutch journalist to respond to the post electoral kerfuffle:
Tom-Jan Meeus of the leading newspaper NRC Handelsblad asked my opinion on this development. I wrote a response that both endorsed and criticized Wilders:
As is often the case, I disagree with Mr. Wilders' tactics while sympathizing with his goals. It is entirely understandable that the indigenous peoples of a country feel stress when large numbers of immigrants from an alien civilization, more than a few of them hostile, move in.
Wanting to bring this transfer of peoples under control is sensible - just as Moroccans feel when Dutch and other Europeans turn up in Marrakesh, just as a Dutch newspaper reported in 2010 (see http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2010/05/european-immigrants-in-marrakech). That said, I wish that Mr. Wilders went about protesting this issue in a more cautious way.
Meeus devoted a whole article to this little response, "Amerikaanse geldschieter neemt afstand van Wilders," which translates as "U.S. money-lender distances himself from Wilders."
This title is inaccurate in two ways: First, the Middle East Forum Education Fund did not lend money to Wilders but paid his lawyer to cover his legal expenses. Second, I did not distance myself from Wilders here but merely reiterated long-standing differences with him. In his article, Meeus also ignored my point that Moroccans likewise are uneager to have more Europeans live among them.
Later in updates, Pipes expressed unease about the import behind Meeus’ headline:
A number of readers commented on the anti-Semitic tone of "U.S. money-lender distances himself from Wilders." This prompted me to ask several Dutch speakers if the same holds in their language: their response is not clear. Some say it does not convey this, others say it was a strange (as well as inaccurate) word choice. As one person put it, "donateur or geldschenker would both have been more accurate as well as less innuendo laden."
Mar. 24, 2014 update: Tom-Jan Meeus replied on Twitter to the above three points, "So if you quote @DanielPipes accurately, you are a Wilders hater in his point of view. Fact free activism."
Hatred of dissidents like Wilders by Dutch political elites has an extensive history harkening back to the early Dutch Republic in the 17th Century. Witness the execution of reformer Johan de Witte by Orangists and the fortuitous premature death of political philosopher Baruch or Benedict Spinoza. Arthur Legge, a University of Amsterdam historian connected the dots between that prior legacy and Wilders’ predicament in a 2008 essay, “Why Spinoza Was Not Murdered.”
The tragedy of the politician Geert Wilders is mainly threefold. Somehow along the line he forgot what the Dutch system of power is meant to accomplish: to protect our business; and keeping very good relationships with our Islamic partners is apparently our core business these days. Secondly, Wilders has never heard of "Tony’s third law": “never underestimate the other guy’s greed!” (Al Pacino in the movie Scarface). Pym Fortuyn was left unprotected just at the moment when he was about to win a massive victory during the 2002 elections. I credit his political opponents with enough Machiavellian motives not to be too sad about this extremely lucky coincidence. The fact that Wilders is a member of parliament and part of the establishment (he used to be a coming man in the Liberal Party (VVD) but left) infuriates his colleagues even more, and will speed up his expulsion. Thirdly and ever so sadly, Wilders probably believes the 17th century cradle myth to be true. However, our heritage is not Spinoza and his professed freedom. Our heritage is Providence, propaganda and social control: the one who deviates will not go unpunished. Geert Wilders attacks Islam and the Koran from a historic and philosophic position that never existed. Spinoza was not murdered, but only because he died in time. I’m not sure if Geert Wilders will be that lucky.
To paraphrase England’s Henry II regarding the fate of former boon companion, Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Beckett, the Dutch political and media establishment might say: “who will rid us of this upstart meddlesome blonde.” We hope that those Dutch folks who went to the polls on March 19th and gave the PVV victories in several smaller municipalities may be joined by others in the majority, who didn’t vote. That might provide the PVV with a victory in the May EU parliamentary elections. We have seen Wilders bounce back from previous episodes like a proverbial cat with nine lives. His Euro-skeptic alliance partners, especially Ms. Le Pen in France, would deem that a stunning and well deserved turnabout. Wilders’ opinion poll standing may have temporarily been dented by the outbursts of his left liberal opponents in the Hague Parliament. However, the cogency of his warnings about Islamization of Holland through the Dar al Hijrah stealth Jihad strategy of mass Muslim immigration and the enormous cost to the nation still resonate.
It is left to Bat Ye’or who gave this closing comment in an email about this hatemongering episode targeting Wilders. In reply to this comment, “It would appear that the world has gone topsy turvy, morally.” she said, “Exactly, and this is called dhimmitude.”
Also see Jerry Gordon's collection of interviews, The West Speaks.
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