Wilders, the “golden pompadoured maverick”

The Dutch right-wing populist Geert Wilders is a self-proclaimed ally of the USA and Israel, but when it comes to important issues there appears to be some rather painful disagreements. Wikileaks provides us with some interesting information in this case.  The Guardian published in December 2010 US embassy cables which makes clear that the love between Wilders and the USA is not mutual. Wilders is called a “golden pompadoured maverick.” Wilders is “no friend of the US.” because he opposes the war in Aghanistan, NATO-operations outside Europe, the Joint Strike Fighter-project, Turkey’s entrance in the EU, the empowerment of the EU at the cost of national interest, “and, most troubling, he forments fear and hatred of immigrants.”  The passage is a reminder that the US foreign policy actively seeks a non-White Europe and the end of national sovereignties within Europe.

It is true that Wilders has pledged allegiance to Israel and the Jewish people, but this relationship is recently under strain. The Simon Wiesenthal Center of Los Angeles (SWC) is calling for urgent action against the ban on ritual slaughter proposed by Wilders’ party and an increasing portion in Dutch Parliament. The SWC is even implicitly branding Wilders as an anti-Semite of the worst kind: “Historically the banning of Shechita was often used by anti-Semites to spread their hateful, and in the case of Nazi Germany, their genocidal agenda.” The spokesman of Wilders’ party Dion Graus said they would not back down on ritual slaughter, because the suffering of animals is more important than the appetite of humans.

The SWC statement is a wonderful example of Jewish inability to come to grips with its own traditions. “The Jewish people, through its Torah and Judaic teachings dating back thousands of years has always been taught that it is sinful to inflict unnecessary pain on any living thing or to take any life unnecessarily.” Except that kosher slaughter does indeed inflict unnecessary pain. So kosher slaughter is incompatible with Jewish teachings?

Wilders’ party basically aimed at the Muslim community with the proposed ban on ritual slaugther, which did not yet pass the vote in Parliament, but it touches on an embarassing public secret: the Jewish religion has more in common with Islam than with Christianity. Jews and Muslims both have similar food laws and rites of passages, like circumcision. Moreover they see their Semitic tongue and scripture as sacred and they both claim descent from Abraham. In this light it is ironic to see the Dutch Christian parties in defence of ritual slaughter against the self-proclaimed friend of Israel and enemy of Islam. It is even more ironic to observe that the political parties who have basically no support among Dutch Jews (and Muslims) are defending their interests.

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