Dutch right-wing politician resigns following party’s anti-Semitism scandal

November 24, 2020

The leader of the Dutch right-wing Forum for Democracy party resigned Monday following reports that members of its youth movement had engaged in anti-Semitic behavior.
Thierry Baudet, a colorful politician who in 2018 published a nude self-portrait on Instagram, said that assuming responsibility for the anti-Semitism scandal was not the immediate reason for stepping down. Rather the trigger was demands within the party that the guilty members be kicked out before the completion of an internal disciplinary review of their actions.
The review is of members of the party’s section for young members who in a WhatsApp group shared Nazi songs. One of them called “Der Untermensch,” or “Subhuman,” a 1942 Nazi propaganda book inciting hatred of Jews and Slavs, a “masterpiece,” the Het Parool newspaper reported last week.
Some party members seek to “skip the process and throw people under the bus before we know what’s happened,” Baudet said in video he shared on social media announcing his resignation as party leader. He warned against a “trial by the media, which isn’t trustworthy.”
If the accused engaged in anti-Semitism,  he said, “they should leave the party, and my resignation will be an act of assuming responsibility for what happened.”
Forum for Democracy seeks a Dutch exit from the European Union and stricter immigration policies. It’s also consistently pro-Israel.
It won only two seats out of 150 in parliament in the 2017 elections but three of the 26 in the 2019 Dutch elections for the European Parliament.
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European Jews face new threat in wake of COVID-related anti-Semitism

Top European rabbi tells Israel Hayom a special center to monitor real-time incidents via remote feeds could be established in order to tackle anti-Jewish attacks.
The recent terrorist attacks in Austria and France, as well as the spike in coronavirus cases in Europe, has created a fear among Jews in the continent that anti-Semitic conspiracy theories blaming Jews for the spread of the pandemic could become mainstream.
 
A recent study in Germany showed that one in three Germans has somewhat of a conspiratorial view of the world.
 
Felix Klein, who is the federal commissioner for Jewish life in Germany and the fight against anti-Semitism, told Israel Hayom that the recent protests against the COVID-19 regulations have become fertile ground for anti-Jewish sentiment.
 
"The current protests against corona-related restrictions serve as a rallying point for antisemites, Holocaust deniers, and believers in conspiracy myths. At "hygiene protests", participants downplay the Holocaust by, for example, comparing the current requirement to wear a face mask with the obligation to wear a Star of David during the Nazi regime," he told Israel Hayom. "Portraying themselves as rebels – as do for example the supporters of the new political party Widerstand2020 (Resistance2020) and the Reichsbürger movement – is typical of adherents to anti-Semitic beliefs: Presenting oneself as breaking taboos, as 'finally' bringing the truth to light, as showing at last who is pulling the strings behind the scenes – and, as has been done for thousands of years, pointing their fingers once again at Jews," he added.
 
When asked about the danger posed by such conspiratorial views, he noted that there is a concern verbal statements could eventually morph into action.
 
"Conspiracy myths also prepare the ground for violence, as history has shown. Those who perceive themselves as victims and feel threatened can themselves turn into a threat. Anti-Jewish pogroms throughout history have been the fatal consequence of such obsessive hatred of Jews, as have the antisemitic terrorist attacks worldwide in recent years," he said. "A recent study has shown that radicalization online takes place four times faster than offline. That is what makes it so important to quickly adjust our laws. This is the thrust of the package of measures put forward by the federal government. I am confident we can achieve a lot through a combination of repression and education. After all, what is ultimately at stake is social cohesion in times of crisis."

Meanwhile, Jewish groups have scrambled to deal with the threat of rising anti-Semitism in the age of coronavirus. The group "Concert – Together for Israel" strives to bolster Israel's image and fight modern anti-Semitism, says its job has been made much more difficult in the wake of the pandemic, and many pro-Israel groups are facing potential elimination.
 
"Generally speaking, one can say that small organizations that rely on a small staff expect a slowdown and a long recovery, but the big organizations that need a large operation worry about their long-term viability in light of the added costs," Nava Edelstein, the group's program director says.
 
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the head of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association that has led a comprehensive effort to counter anti-Semitism in Europe, told Israel Hayom that he has been overseeing a "virtual command center" that gets daily updates from Jewish communities on online anti-Jewish attacks.
 
"We constantly see how anti-Semitic voices on the web attribute the virus to a Zionist-Jewish conspiracy, on top over other forms of anti-Semitism that involve graffiti and vandalizing of Jewish institutions," he said, adding the largest volume of reports originates in France, Romania and Belgium.
 
"We are considering setting up a center that would monitor events through Jewish communities' video feeds in real time, so that we can alert security forces when such incidents happen," he revealed.
The article was published in Israel Hayaom

COVID Diary- Reflections from Our Advisory Board Member Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Jacobs (NL) writes a diary, on request of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam, which is published on the website of the NIW, the only Jewish Dutch Magazine. Rabbi Jacobs is the head of Inter Governmental Relationships at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. We will be regularly publishing a selection of his informative, sometimes light hearted, but always wise pieces.
Here, the Rabbi offers his unique and refreshing take on the portion. For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl and then: scroll down.
On Freedom of Speech
 
Freedom of opinion and speech is a great asset and therefore everything must be said.
 
And if I am allowed to say everything, I also have to accept everything and not moan when I myself become the target of taunts. Agree!
 
But why then get upset about anti-Israel resolutions in the UN, the anti-Semitic floats in Aalst or the umpteenth anti-Semitic cartoon in the Volkskrant?
 
Everything can be said, right? A cartoon that insults the heart of Islam must be possible, right? And what's wrong with black Pete? Do dark skinned people feel offended? Don't complain, freedom of speech!
 
But that opinion should of course not be every opinion, because if parents want to teach their children that the family with a mom and dad is the cornerstone of society, it could be seen as discriminating towards people who have a different orientation…
 
A befriended non-Jewish, non-Christian, non-Muslim and unmarried journalist (thus of impeccable behaviour!) Has warned me not to write that I am in favour of freedom of expression, but that that freedom must have restrictions.
 
That nuancing "but" would bring a torrent of criticism on myself. "But" I don't get that, because if freedom of speech is to be cherished, then I am allowed to express my opinion, even if that opinion differs?
 
And so with this my opinion, straight from ancient Judaism (Proverbs of the Fathers 2: 1): “What is the right way that man must choose? Any way that gives honour to him who follows him and by which he is honoured by men. ”
 
In other words: Black Pete really had nothing to do with discrimination for me. But if normal thinking people with a black skin colour now experience this as discriminating, then we have to stop.
 
Fanaticism is no good, neither from the right nor from the left, not from religion, but also not from secularization. Because secularization can also be fanatic, compulsive and intolerant.
 
But just before writing this, I got a call from a secular mayor friend: "Binyomin, if you ever need to, you can count on me." This again shows: friendship and solidarity, between secular and religious, standing up for each other, that is not only possible but eminently desirable.

A letter by our Chairman, Rabbi Margolin to the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Mr Josep Borrell

Our Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin has written to the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Mr Josep Borrell after it emerged that a senior EU diplomat to the Palestinian Authority advised Palestinian groups that terrorist activity or support for it was not an impediment to receiving EU grants and funding. 

Rabbi Margolin has asked for urgent clarification and a clear repudiation of this position from Mr Borrell. You can read his letter to the EU high representative below: 

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