Posted tagged ‘Geert Wilders’

The Dutch Death Spiral

December 11, 2016

The Dutch Death Spiral, Gatestone Institute, Giulio Meotti, December 11, 2016

“It would have been better if the Dutch state had sent a clear signal [to terrorists] via a Dutch court that we foster a broad notion of the freedom of expression in the Netherlands.” — Paul Cliteur, Professor of Jurisprudence, Leiden University.

The historic dimension of Wilders’s conviction is related not only to the terrible injustice done to this MP, but that it was the Netherlands that, for the first time in Europe, criminalized dissenting opinions about Islam.

“I will never be silent. You will not be able to stop me… And that is what we stand for. For freedom and for our beautiful Netherlands.” — Geert Wilders, Dutch MP and leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV).

“We have a lot of guests who are trying to take over the house.” — Pym Fortuyn, later shot to death to “defend Dutch Muslims from persecution.”

Before being slaughtered, clinging to a basket, Theo van Gogh begged his assassin: “Can we talk about this?” But can we talk?

A country whose most outspoken filmmaker was slaughtered by an Islamist; whose bravest refugee, hunted by a fatwa, fled to the U.S.; whose cartoonists must live under protection, had better should think twice before condemning a Member of Parliament, whose comments about Islam have forced him to live under 24-hour protection for more than a decade, for “hate speech.” Poor Erasmus! The Netherlands is no longer a safe haven for free thinkers. It is the Nightmare for Free Speech.

The most prominent politician in the Netherlands, MP Geert Wilders, has just been convicted of “hate speech,” for asking at a really if there should be fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands. Many newly-arrived Moroccans in the Netherlands seem to have been responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime there.

Paul Cliteur, Professor of Jurisprudence at Leiden University, who was called as an expert witness, summed up the message coming from the court: “It would have been better if the Dutch state had sent a clear signal [to terrorists] via a Dutch court that we foster a broad notion of the freedom of expression in the Netherlands.”

Here are just a few details to help understand what Wilders experiences every day because of his ideas: No visitors are allowed into his office except after a long wait to be checked. The Dutch airline KLM refused to board him on a flight to Moscow for reasons of “security.” His entourage is largely anonymous. When a warning level rises, he does not know where he will spend the night. For months, he was able to see his wife only twice a week, in a secure apartment, and then only when the police allowed it. The Parliament had to place him in the less visible part of the building, in order better to protect him. He often wears a bulletproof vest to speak in public. When he goes to a restaurant, his security detail must first check the place out.

Wilders’s life is a nightmare. “I am in jail,” he has said; “they are walking around free.”

The historic dimension of Wilders’s conviction is related not only to the terrible injustice done to this MP, but that it was the Netherlands that, for the first time in Europe, criminalized dissenting opinions about Islam.

The Netherlands is a very small country; whatever happens to this enclave is seen in the rest of Europe. The Netherlands refused to surrender to the Spanish invasion. It was from Rotterdam, the second-largest Dutch city, that the Founding Fathers left to create the United States of America. It was to the Netherlands that some of the most brave, original European philosophers and writers — Descartes, Rousseau, Locke, Sade, Molière, Hugo, Swift and Spinoza — had to flee to publish their books. It is also the only corner of Europe where there were no pogroms against Jews, and where Rembrandt painted Jesus with the physical traits of Jews.

Take Leiden: “Praesidium Libertatis” (“Bastion of Freedom”) is the motto of the Netherlands’ most ancient university. Leiden was the university of Johan Huizinga, the great historian who opposed the Nazis and died in a concentration camp. Leiden was also the university of Anton Pannekoek, the mentor of Martinus Van der Lubbe, the Dutch hero who torched the Nazi Parliament in 1933.

In Leiden today, you meet brave intellectuals such as Afshin Ellian, an Iranian jurist who fled Khomeini’s Revolution in Iran and who also now lives under police protection for his observations on Islam. Ellian’s office is close to the former office of Rudolph Cleveringa. When the Nazis invaded the Netherlands and called on Dutch public officials to fill out a form in which they had to declare whether they were “Aryans” or “Jews”, everyone but Cleveringa capitulated. He understood the consequences of such commands.

Twelve years ago, the Netherlands was again plunged into fear for the first time since World War II. In Linnaeusstraat, a district of Amsterdam, Mohammed Bouyeri, a Muslim extremist, ambushed the filmmaker Theo van Gogh and slaughtered him, then pinned on his chest a letter threatening the lives of Geert Wilders and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Before that murder, Pim Fortuyn, a professor who had formed his own party to save the country from Islamization, was shot to death to “defend Dutch Muslims from persecution.”

2117Twelve years ago, Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh (left) was assassinated by an Islamist who pinned on van Gogh’s chest a letter threatening the life of Geert Wilders (right). Today Wilders, the most prominent politician in the Netherlands, lives in hiding under round-the-clock protection.

Fortuyn had said, “We have a lot of guests who are trying to take over the house.”

Since then, many Dutch artists have capitulated to fear.

Sooreh Hera, from Iran, submitted her photos to the Gemeentemuseum Museum in The Hague. One of these works depicted Mohammed and Ali. After many threats, the museum proposed that it would acquire the photos without publishing them and that one day, perhaps, when the situation was calmer, they might show them then. Hera refused: it would have been self-censorship, a sad day for the West. Rants Tjan, director of Museum Gouda, bravely offered to exhibit her censored images, but that event was later cancelled, too. Hera was forced to go into hiding.

Paul Cliteur, a critic of multiculturalism, announced that he would no longer write for Dutch newspapers about Islam, for fear of reprisals: “With the murder of van Gogh, everyone who writes takes a certain risk. That is a scary development. What I am doing do is self-censorship, absolutely….”

Then a columnist, Hasna el Maroudi, from the newspaper NRC Handelsblad, stopped writing, after receiving threats.

The Dutch artist Rachid Ben Ali, irreverent about Islam, no longer satirizes Muslims.

Amsterdam, a city famous for its exuberant cultural life, had already lived through threats to artists: the occupation by the Nazis during World War II.

Several artists still refuse to mention Theo Van Gogh, so as not to “contribute to… divisions”, according to the New York Times. Translation: They are afraid. Who would not be?

In the Oosterpark, a steel sculpture by the artist Jeroen Henneman, dedicated to Van Gogh, is entitled “De Schreeuw” (“The Scream”). But it is a scream you hardly hear in the Dutch society.

What you do hear is the defiant protest after the conviction of a brave MP, Geert Wilders: “I will never be silent. You will not be able to stop me… And that is what we stand for. For freedom and for our beautiful Netherlands.”

Before being slaughtered, clinging to a basket, Theo van Gogh begged his assassin: “Can we talk about this?

But can we talk?

Ask Geert Wilders, just the latest brave victim of Europe’s Bolshevik thought police.

“Go ahead and cut my head off. It’s ok. Cut my head off. I’m not racist.”

December 9, 2016

“Go ahead and cut my head off. It’s ok. Cut my head off. I’m not racist.” Jihad Watch

In honor of the conviction of Geert Wilders for “hate speech,” here is a terrific short video from the anti-religious videomakers DarkMatter2525 that illustrates what I have pointed out for years: that charges of “Islamophobia” are used to try to silence all opposition to jihad terror. Here is the outcome of the SPLC/CAIR de facto contention that any criticism of Islam is “Islamophobic.”

UN Chief Compares Populist Success of Trump and Farage to Islamic State

December 9, 2016

UN Chief Compares Populist Success of Trump and Farage to Islamic State, Breitbart, Liam Deacon, December 9, 2016

trumpfarage

Nigel Farage and Donald Trump are “populists and demagogues” using tactics comparable to Islamic State (IS), and the success of populism in 2016 echoes “fascist rhetoric”, the United Nation’s rights chief has said.

Jordanian aristocrat Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, the current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, blamed populism for an alleged rise in “hate crimes” and warned of the “banalization of bigotry” in Europe, according to the Telegraph.

He also took aim at Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders, Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, and French Front National leader Marine Le Pen in a speech this Monday at a gala dinner organized by the Hague-based Peace, Justice and Security Foundation.

“2016 has been a disastrous year for human rights across the globe,” Mr. Zeid said. “If the growing erosion of the carefully constructed system of human rights and rule of law continues to gather momentum, ultimately everyone will suffer.”

He added: “In some parts of Europe, and in the United States, anti-foreigner rhetoric full of unbridled vitriol and hatred, is proliferating to a frightening degree, and is increasingly unchallenged”.

Compared right-wing populism to Islamic State terrorists, he claiming the “mode of communication, its use of half-truths and oversimplification, the propaganda of [IS] uses tactics similar to those of the populists.”

“And both sides of this equation benefit from each other – indeed would not expand in influence without each others’ actions,” he added.

However, he also said: “Make no mistake, I certainly do not equate the actions of nationalist demagogues with those of Daesh, which are monstrous, sickening; Daesh must be brought to justice”.

Singling out Mr. Wilders’ call to stop asylum seekers entering his country and for a ban on Muslim schools, the UN boss said the policy proposals were “grotesque” and urged the audience “to speak out and up” against them.

“We will not be bullied by you the bully, nor fooled by you the deceiver, not again,” he insisted.

In a text message responding to the Telegraph’s requests for a reaction to the speech, Mr Wilders wrote: “Another good reason to get rid of the UN. I lost my freedom in my fight for freedom, and I don’t want my country to lose its freedom as well.

“That’s why we have to de-Islamize. Islam and freedom are incompatible whatever this Jordanian bureaucrat says.”

This morning, Mr. Wilders was found guilty of “incitement to discrimination” by a Dutch court. He branded the trial a politically motivated “charade” that endangered freedom of speech.

Reaction of Geert Wilders to His Conviction

December 9, 2016

Reaction of Geert Wilders to His Conviction

By Geert Wilders

December 9, 2016 at 7:00 am

Source: Reaction of Geert Wilders to His Conviction

Dear friends, I still cannot believe it, but I have just been convicted. Because I asked a question about Moroccans. While the day before yesterday, scores of Moroccan asylum-seekers terrorized buses in Emmen and did not even had to pay a fine, a politician who asks a question about fewer Moroccans is sentenced.

The Netherlands have become a sick country. And I have a message for the judges who convicted me: You have restricted the freedom of speech of millions of Dutch and hence convicted everyone. No one trusts you anymore. But fortunately, truth and liberty are stronger than you. And so am I.

I will never be silent. You will not be able to stop me. And you are wrong, too. Moroccans are not a race, and people who criticize Moroccans are not racists. I am not a racist and neither are my voters. This sentence proves that you judges are completely out of touch.

And I have also a message for Prime Minister Rutte and the rest of the multicultural elite: You will not succeed in silencing me and defeating the PVV. Support for the Party for Freedom is stronger than ever, and keeps growing every day. The Dutch want their country back and cherish their freedom. It will not be possible to put the genie of positive change back in the bottle.

And to people at home I say: Freedom of speech is our pride. And this will remain so. For centuries, we Dutch have been speaking the unvarnished truth. Free speech is our most important possession. We will never let them take away our freedom of speech. Because the flame of freedom burns within us and cannot be extinguished.

Millions of Dutch are sick and tired of political correctness. Sick and tired of the elite which only cares about itself and ignores the ordinary Dutchman. And sells out our country. People no longer feel represented by all these disconnected politicians, judges and journalists, who have been harming our people for so long, and make our country weaker instead of stronger.

But I will keep fighting for you, and I tell all of you: thank you so much. Thank you so much for all your support. It is really overwhelming; I am immensely grateful to you. Thanks to your massive and heartfelt support, I know that I am not alone. That you back me, and are with me, and unwaveringly stand for freedom of expression.

Today, I was convicted in a political trial, which, shortly before the elections, attempts to neutralize the leader of the largest and most popular opposition party. But they will not succeed. Not even with this verdict. Because I speak on behalf of millions of Dutch. And the Netherlands are entitled to politicians who speak the truth, and honestly address the problems with Moroccans. Politicians who will not let themselves be silenced. Not even by the judges. And you can count on it: I will never be silent.

And this conviction only makes me stronger. This is a shameful sentence, which, of course, I will appeal. But I can tell you, I am now more vigorous than ever. And I know: together, we aim for victory.

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder, we are strong enough to change the Netherlands.

To allow our children to grow up in a country they can be proud of.
In a Netherlands where we are allowed to say again what we think.
Where everybody can safely walk the streets again.
Where we are in charge of our own country again.

And that is what we stand for. For freedom and for our beautiful Netherlands.

Wilders’s Trial: “Unnecessarily Offensive”

November 24, 2016

Wilders’s Trial: “Unnecessarily Offensive”

by Robbie Travers

November 24, 2016 at 4:00 am

Source: Wilders’s Trial: “Unnecessarily Offensive”

  • Geert Wilders is now on trial for having national security views that the prosecution have deemed unacceptable to air in public.
  • To suggest that Dutch citizens, whose safety Wilders was elected to protect — it is his job; it is why he was elected — should not publicly given his best advice, would to countermanding his official duty.
  • Is it racist to note these problems? Statistical data are usually not racist; they simply express the factual reality of a situation.
  • The freedom to speak and to question without fear of retribution is fundamentally what separates democratic governments from totalitarian ones. Sunshiny, politically correct views do not need protecting. The reason for free speech is to protect the less-than-enchanting views.
  • It is fundamental for the health of our society that Wilders and others be able to speak and be heard freely. To protect us and to protect the humanist values of freedom brought to us by Erasmus and the Enlightenment, it is crucial that the Dutch court grant Wilders a full acquittal.

As his trial continues in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, if found culpable, faces a fine for his comments, purportedly “racist“, on Moroccans.

The prosecution alleges that his comments unfairly “targeted a specific race, which is considered a crime.”

Never mind that Moroccans are not a race or even a religion; they are citizens of a country — apparently, making comments on trends that are prominent within minorities, or advice on how to keep a country secure, is now criminal. Statements might sometimes be unpleasant to hear, but to express these views should not be “criminal.”

Look at the comments of the lead prosecutor, Wouter Bos, who said, “Freedom of expression is not absolute, it is paired with obligations and responsibilities.” This is worrying. To suggest that an individual should have the obligation not to “uncessarily offend,” is to make every individual responsible for the thoughts of every other, theoretical individual who might be offended by one’s words — or even, as we see now all too often, just claim to be offended for malicious purposes.

Bos added that Wilders has “the responsibility not to set groups of people against each other.” Is this really what Wilders was trying to do? The opposite would seem to be true: Wilders was not calling for racial tension; in his view, he is seeking to alleviate it, his solution being less immigration from Morocco. So far, objectively, immigrants from Morocco seem to have had a significant effect on the increase in crime syndicates, drugs- and human-trafficking, and a notably lopsided change in the composition of the prison population in the Netherlands.

Is it racist to note these problems? Statistical data are usually not racist; they simply express the factual reality of a situation.

With this in mind, perhaps then the struggle Wilders faces could be better described as: Geert Wilders is now on trial for having national security views that the prosecution have deemed unacceptable to air in public.

Dutch MP Geert Wilders is now on trial for having national security views that the prosecution have deemed unacceptable to air in public. (Source of Wilders photo: Flickr/Metropolico)

The latest development in this process is that the prosecution have demanded that Wilders be punished with a €5,000 fine, in order for him to atone for his alleged transgression against Moroccans.

To suggest that Dutch citizens, whose safety Wilders was elected to protect — it is his job; it is why he was elected — should not publicly be given his best advice, would to countermand his official duty. If, heaven forbid, there were to be adverse circumstances in the Netherlands, as seen all too often in France, Denmark, Germany and Belgium, and Wilders had failed to warn his countrymen, why could he not, conversely, risk being charged with reckless endangerment?

Saying that the Netherlands should have fewer Moroccans is apparently considered “unnecessarily offensive.”

Perhaps the problem for the long-term survival of Europe is that in modern politics, too many individuals are seeking to base legislation on protecting people from being offended, instead of basing legislation on what is best for the national and cultural security of a country. While no-one might wish others to be offended, sometimes offending others is necessary, even a duty.

When Wilders criticises Islam and its associated practices and legal codes, no doubt he offends many conservative Muslims. Does this mean his criticism should not have been expressed? (No.)

When Wilders criticises the European Union, he no doubt offends Eurocrats in Brussels. Does this mean his criticism should not have been expressed? (No.)

So when Wilders criticises immigration from Moroccan and suggests there should be less of it, he may well have offended Moroccans. Does this mean his criticism shouldn’t have been expressed? (No.)

Sometimes, causing offence and allowing individuals critically to engage with a viewpoint with which they disagree is a crucial part of our dialogue as a society. Individuals sometimes need to be presented with uncomfortable truths.

Whether one agrees with Wilders’s view or not, it should be comforting that an individual is allowed to question fundamental building blocks for the future health of our Western values and communal well-being.

The freedom to speak and to question without fear of retribution is, in fact, fundamentally what separates democratic governments from totalitarian ones.

If one wants individuals to be able to counter views they perceive to be “racist” or in some other way prejudiced, they first need to be able to hear them to counter them.

In condemning Wilders, we are not only robbing Wilders of his right to free expression, we are also robbing individuals of a right to listen to him.

In a democratic society, individuals should have the right to hear Wilders, and then, based on his arguments, to draw their own conclusions. Too many countries, based on originally well-intended laws that repress free speech, have already fallen into the trap of “the truth is no defense.”

Is the implication, then, that half-truths, distortions and lies are an acceptable defense? In closing the door to “truth” in Europe and Canada, our fragile Western democracies are opening the door to authoritarian governance. Farewell, democracy.

There are other reasons why all Dutch citizens or other individuals should be terrified of this.

For Wilders, as a Member of Parliament, the demand of the prosecutors in this case for a fine of €5,000 may not — on the surface — destroy his life. But this fine would not include the crushing court costs Wilders has had to incur, even if he is acquitted. What happens when ordinary members of the Dutch public are summoned before a court — possibly for even greater penalties and with greater court costs — for expressing views that prosecutors claim are “unnecessarily offensive”?

Wilders, as a private citizen with possibly a moderate income, has had to go up against the virtually unlimited exchequer of the entire Dutch government. People’s resources are not inexhaustible. This is the nightmare that great protectors of freedom such as Franz Kafka or George Orwell have written about.

What happens if Geert Wilders, who is a politician, is only among the first of those who might be prosecuted for speaking out? Other individuals who might also want “fewer Moroccans” may not be able to afford endless court costs and a fine of €5,000 — or whatever the judgement might be on December 9. Are we really asking the citizens of the Netherlands, and much the free world, as we have already seen too often — to go through life weighing whether expressing a view will come with a crippling economic cost?

Surely if there is a conviction this will be only the beginning. Will anyone ever feel free again to express opinions that might be found — by someone, anyone, who knows — “unnecessarily offensive”? Probably not.

What, by the way, does “necessarily offensive” consist of? Will lawyers become rich as person after person is hauled into court to decide, case by case, how necessary is “necessary”?

Is this really what the free world wants: societies that claim to protect the rights of the individual but then instead prosecute them? Sunshiny, politically correct views do not need protecting. The reason for freedom of speech is to protect the less-than-enchanting views. Without any contrarians, how would society have developed?

If this court rules against Wilders, will every politician thereafter who makes a statement that someone deems “unnecessarily offensive” be summoned before a court? At the other end of the political spectrum, three Dutch Labour Party politicians were noted to have insulted Moroccans far more corrosively than Wilders ever did — even likening them to dirt and excrement. Those Labour politicians were never prosecuted. Gee, could this be a double standard we are seeing? Wilders’s judges refused to dismiss his trial on the grounds that it was, as Wilders maintained, politically motivated; but what looks suspiciously like a selective prosecution seems to bear him out. Will the Dutch prosecutors, in fairness, proceed to try these even-more-insulting politicians from the political left?

Repeated trials and appeals only lead, as in a totalitarian government, to no-one being able to afford maintaining his freedom by due process.

That thought leads to the major politically incorrect elephant in this room:

Is it possible that there are people who are exploiting the West’s open but expensive legal process precisely to shut down freedom of speech and political views they find inconvenient for themselves? Is that the whole secret point behind the prosecution: to smother speech and smother thought?

European nations seem to be rapidly approaching a path of political censorship, to prevent views being expressed that their leaders deem unacceptable. The result? These views only grow in prominence. Across Europe, as Brexit, Wilders, Le Pen, and other “politically incorrect” tributaries that leaders are trying to restrict, are surging in popularity.

Ideas cannot be killed by stopping individuals from hearing them; people only seem to want to hear more about what they sense is being hidden from them.

You do not have to like Geert Wilders or even agree with him; it is, however, fundamental for the health of our civilization that he and others be able to speak and be heard freely.

To protect us and to protect the humanist values of freedom brought to us by Erasmus and the Enlightenment, it is crucial that the Dutch court grant Wilders a full acquittal.

Robbie Travers, a political commentator and consultant, is Executive Director of Agora, former media manager at the Human Security Centre, and a law student at the University of Edinburgh.

Reaction of Geert Wilders to Penal Demand of Public Prosecutor

November 17, 2016

Reaction of Geert Wilders to Penal Demand of Public Prosecutor, Gatestone Institute, Geert Wilders, November 17, 2016

I just heard the penal sentence demanded by the Public Prosecutor: a penalty of 5,000 euros.

Speaking about one of the biggest problems of our country – the problem with Moroccans – is now punishable, according to the elite. And, hence, we are slowly but surely losing our freedom of speech. Even asking a question is no longer allowed. Even though millions of people agree. And Moroccans have suddenly become a race. So if you say something about Moroccans, you are now a racist. Nobody understands that. It is utter madness. Only meant to shut you and me up.

2051

While in other countries the people send the elite home, here they want to silence an opposition leader. The Netherlands is running the risk of becoming a dictatorship. It looks like Turkey. The differences between the Netherlands and Turkey are getting smaller. The opposition is silenced.

I was elected by nearly a million people. That number will be even higher on March 15th next year. And it is my duty to talk about the problems, even when the politically-correct elite led by Prime Minister Rutte prefers not to mention them. Because looking away and remaining silent is not an option.

I have to say it like it is.

What is the use of political cowards who no longer dare to speak the truth? Who are silent about the problems in our country? Who pander to the government? Who cowardly look the other way?

Nothing at all! Putting one’s head in the sand is cowardliness.

And if you must keep quiet about problems, because simply asking a question has become punishable, the problems will only grow bigger. Then, the Netherlands will become a dictatorship of fearful and cowardly politicians.

I will never accept that. I will continue to fight for a free and safe Netherlands. That is why Islamic terrorists have been trying to kill me for 12 years. Today, these terrorists rejoice. Wilders is going to be punished. The Public Prosecutor has made himself their ally today.

But I will not allow anyone to shut me up!

No terrorist will be able to silence me!

No prosecutor in a black gown or cowardly prime minister will get me on my knees!

I shall therefore not care about their penal demand at all. They can do whatever they want. It will only make me stronger. I will only get more motivated.

And you can support me with this. By continuing to fight with me for the preservation of freedom of expression. For the maintenance of a safe and free Netherlands. Our country.

Geert Wilders is a member of the Dutch Parliament and leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV).

Donald Trump Boosts Europe’s Anti-Establishment Movement

November 13, 2016

Donald Trump Boosts Europe’s Anti-Establishment Movement “What America can do we can do as well.”

by Soeren Kern

November 13, 2016 at 5:00 am

Source: Donald Trump Boosts Europe’s Anti-Establishment Movement

 

  • “America has just liberated itself from political correctness. The American people expressed their desire to remain a free and democratic people. Now it is time for Europe. We can and will do the same!” — Geert Wilders, Dutch MP, head of the Party for Freedom (PVV), and now on trial in the Netherlands for free speech.
  • “2016 is, by the looks of it, going to be the year of two great political revolutions. I thought Brexit was big but boy this looks like it is going to be even bigger.” — Nigel Farage, MEP and leader of the UK Independence Party.
  • “The political class is reviled across much of the West, the polling industry is bankrupt and the press just hasn’t woken up to what’s going on in the world.” — Nigel Farage.
  • “In a democracy, when the people feel ignored and despised, they will find a way to be heard. This vote is the consequence of a revolt of the middle class against a ruling elite that wants to impose what they should think.” — Laurent Wauquiez, leader of the French opposition party The Republicans.

Donald Trump’s electoral victory has come as a shock to Europe’s political and media establishment, which fears that the political sea change underway in the United States will energize populist parties in Europe.

Anti-establishment politicians, many of whom are polling well in a number of upcoming European elections, are hoping Trump’s rise will inspire European voters to turn out to vote for them in record numbers.

Commenting on Trump’s victory, Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, wrote: “America has just liberated itself from political correctness. The American people expressed their desire to remain a free and democratic people. Now it is time for Europe. We can and will do the same!”

More than a dozen elections will be held in Europe during the next twelve months, beginning with a re-run of the Austrian presidential election scheduled for December 4. Polls show that Norbert Hofer, of the anti-immigration Austrian Freedom Party, is on track to win that race.

Also on December 4, Italians will vote in a referendum on reforming the constitution. Observers say Trump’s victory will make it more difficult for Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, one the few world leaders publicly to endorse Hillary Clinton, to prevail. They say Renzi’s open support for Clinton will hurt Italy’s relations with the United States. Renzi has said he will resign if he loses the referendum, which calls for curbing the role of the Senate. Most opinion polls show the “no” camp ahead. Renzi says the move will simplify decision-making, but opponents say it will reduce checks and balances.

General elections are scheduled in 2017 for the Czech Republic, France, Germany and the Netherlands, EU countries where anti-establishment candidates are challenging the established order.

Mainstream politicians and the media have sought to discredit populist leaders by branding them as neo-Nazi and xenophobic for their opposition to mass migration, multiculturalism and the rise of Islam in Europe. If Donald Trump can demonstrate that he is able to govern the United States and produce tangible results, especially by growing the economy and curbing illegal immigration, Europe’s political establishment will have a much harder time stigmatizing dissenters.

Anti-establishment politicians in Europe, such as Party for Freedom leader Geert Wilders (left) in the Netherlands and UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage (right), have embraced Donald Trump and hope his rise will inspire European voters to turn out to vote for them in record numbers.

What follows is a selection of official European reactions to Trump’s election victory. Anti-establishment politicians have embraced Trump, while establishment politicians have mostly issued pro forma congratulatory statements that are polite but formal and distant.

Austria. The leader of the Freedom Party, Heinz-Christian Strache, congratulated Trump on Facebook. He wrote:

“Little by little, the political left and the out-of-touch and corrupt establishment is being punished by voters and driven from power. This is a good thing, because the law comes from the people. The Austrian mainstream media, which has been campaigning against Trump for weeks and prematurely declared Hillary Clinton the victor, were embarrassed by the voting public.”

Belgium. The populist Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) party congratulated Trump and said his unexpected election victory could be repeated in Europe. Party chairman Tom Van Grieken tweeted: “U.S. election shows again how far politicians are from the people.” In another tweet, he wrote: “The rise of Trump is not an isolated phenomenon. In Europe too, more and more voters want real change.”

Britain. Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“I would like to congratulate Donald Trump on being elected the next President of the United States, following a hard-fought campaign. Britain and the United States have an enduring and special relationship based on the values of freedom, democracy and enterprise. We are, and will remain, strong and close partners on trade, security and defense.”

The leader of the UK Independence Party, Nigel Farage, who successfully campaigned for the “Brexit” referendum for Britain to leave the European Union, said Trump’s victory did not surprise him. He tweeted:

“2016 is, by the looks of it, going to be the year of two great political revolutions. I thought Brexit was big but boy this looks like it is going to be even bigger.”

He also tweeted: “I hand over the mantle to @RealDonaldTrump! Many congratulations. You have fought a brave campaign.”

Speaking to ITV, Farage said: “The political class is reviled across much of the West, the polling industry is bankrupt and the press just hasn’t woken up to what’s going on in the world.”

Czech Republic. President Milos Zeman said Trump’s election was a victory over “media manipulation.” He said:

“I would like to cordially congratulate Donald Trump. I had, as one of few European politicians, declared public support for this candidate because I agree with his opinions on migration as well as the fight against Islamic terrorism. I appreciate Donald Trump’s public demeanor. He speaks clearly, sometimes roughly, but understandably, and avoids what is sometimes called political correctness.”

European Union. European Council President Donald Tusk wrote:

“Europe and the United States simply have no option but to cooperate as closely as possible. I listened with attention to President-elect Trump’s call for American unity. And I, in turn, would like to call for European and transatlantic unity. I do not believe that any country today can be great in isolation. But I do believe that America and Europe can, should and will work together. It is in our common interest. We have to recognise that this will take major efforts from both sides. The EU is a strong and reliable partner and will remain so. We expect the same from America and its new President.”

France. President François Hollande tweeted: “The American people have expressed themselves. They elected Donald Trump. I congratulate him. I am also thinking of Hillary Clinton.”

The French Ambassador to the US, Gérard Araud, tweeted: “This is the end of an epoch. After Brexit and this vote anything is possible. The world is crumbling in front of our eyes.” He later deleted the tweet.

Former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said: “What’s happening in the US could happen in France.”

Former Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said: “The boundaries of reason disappeared with Brexit, the main lesson for France is that Le Pen can win.”

Laurent Wauquiez, leader of the opposition party The Republicans, said: “In a democracy, when the people feel ignored and despised, they will find a way to be heard. This vote is the consequence of a revolt of the middle class against a ruling elite that wants to impose what they should think.”

The leader of the National Front party, Marine Le Pen, tweeted: “Congratulations to the new president of the United States Donald Trump and the free American people!”

Le Pen’s father, party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, tweeted: “Today the United States, tomorrow France.”

Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel, who did not mention Trump by name, lectured the president-elect on values:

“Germany and America are connected by values of democracy, freedom and respect for the law and the dignity of man, independent of origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political views. I offer the next president of the United States close cooperation on the basis of these values.”

Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel was less gracious. He said:

“Trump is the harbinger of a new authoritarian and chauvinist international movement. He is also a warning for us. Our country and Europe must change if we want to counter the authoritarian international movement.”

Foreign Minister Foreign Frank-Walter Steinmeier said:

“We hope that we are not facing greater instability in international politics. During his campaign, Trump was critical not just of Europe, but also of Germany. I believe we must prepare for American foreign policy becoming less predictable. We must prepare for a situation in which America will be tempted to make decisions on its own more often.

“I do not want to sugarcoat it: Nothing will be easier and much will be more difficult. Just as we Germans learned a lot in the past from our American friends, we should now encourage our American friends to stay true to past partnerships and to us.”

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Trump’s victory was “a big shock” and “not a vote for him but rather against Washington, against the establishment.” She added:

“Of course we Europeans, as a NATO ally, know that if Donald Trump becomes president, he’ll ask: What are you contributing to this alliance? But we’re also wondering, what’s your position on this alliance?”

Justice Minister Heiko Maas tweeted: “The world won’t end. But it will get crazier.”

The leader of the populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, Frauke Petry, predicted that Trump’s victory would result in a political change in Europe too. On Facebook, she wrote:

“It was high time that in the United States of America, people who feel disaffected withdrew their vote for the political establishment. While 93% of voters in Washington, DC voted for Clinton in order to retain their own power structures, the majority of voters across the country want a political new beginning, an economic recovery for the stricken middle class and an end of division in what is still the most powerful country in the world.

“This election result is encouraging for Germany and for Europe, because Trump really has the cards for political sea-change in his hand. I congratulate Donald Trump on his election victory and on this historic chance….

“Like Americans, citizens of Germany must have the courage to put a tick in the ballot box and not remain complacent. Their opinion counts, even if political correctness would appear to have elevated the decreed consensus to the level of a new doctrine.”

Beatrix von Storch, an AfD Member of the European Parliament, wrote:

“Donald Trump’s victory is a clear signal that citizens of the Western world want political change. This is a surprise only to the establishment. In the USA as well as Germany, citizens wish for secure borders, less globalism, and politics that focus with common sense on issues in their own country.”

Hungary. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán wrote on Facebook: “What great news. Democracy is still alive.”

Italy. The founder of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, Beppe Grillo, hailed Trump’s victory. He wrote:

“This is proof that these millions of demagogues are not the people, they are journalists, intellectuals, anchored to a world that no longer exists. There are similarities between these events in America and our movement…. We are going to govern and they will ask: ‘But how did they do it?’ They channelled the collective anger.”

The Netherlands. Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders said:

“America regained its national sovereignty, its identity, it reclaimed its own democracy, that’s why I call it a revolution.

“Now there is a leader, despite all the negativity spread about him by the political elite and the press, that has only one concern, and that is the national interest of the voters of America who are concerned about immigration, who are concerned about the job loss as a result of globalization, who are concerned about the Islamization of their society. And he tends to say the truth and convince people that if they start moving, anything is possible, and I believe the historical event of yesterday will have an enormous effect on European politics as well.

“The lesson for Europe is, what America can do we can do as well.”

In an essay published by Breitbart, Wilders wrote:

“Yesterday, the American people made it quite clear that they do not want to follow in Western Europe’s footsteps. They do not want to give their country away. They want to preserve their nation, their freedoms, their prosperity. They felt the time for liberation had come.

“The American voters no longer want to be represented by politicians who do not take their concerns seriously. They felt Donald Trump was the only one who listens to them….

“America has just liberated itself from political correctness. The American people expressed their desire to remain a free and democratic people. Now it is time for Europe. We can and will do the same!”

Europe’s New Blasphemy Courts

November 4, 2016

Europe’s New Blasphemy Courts, Gatestone InstituteDouglas Murray, November 4, 2016

(Please see also, America’s “Arab Spring” — DM)

Europe is currently seeing the reintroduction of blasphemy laws through both the front and back doors, initiated in a country which once prided itself on being among the first in the world to throw off clerical intrusion into politics.

By prosecuting Wilders, the courts in Holland are effectively ruling that there is only one correct answer to the question Wilders asked. They are saying that if someone asks you whether you would like more Moroccans or fewer, people must always answer “more,” or he will be committing a crime.

At no point would it occur to me that anyone saying he did not want an endless flow of, say, British people coming into the Netherlands should be prosecuted. Nor would he be.

The long-term implications for Dutch democracy of criminalising a majority opinion are catastrophic. But the trial of Wilders is also a nakedly political move.

The Dutch courts are behaving like a religious court. They are trying to regulate public expression and opinion when it comes to the followers of one religion. In so doing they obviously aspire to keep the peace in the short term, but they cannot possibly realise what trouble they are storing up for our future.

 

Europe is currently seeing the reintroduction of blasphemy laws through both the front and back doors. In Britain, the gymnast Louis Smith has just been suspended for two months by British Gymnastics. This 27-year old sportsman’s career has been put on hold, and potentially ruined, not because of anything to do with athletics but because of something to do with Islam.

Last month a video emerged online of the four-time Olympic medal-winner and a friend getting up to drunken antics after a wedding. The video — taken on Smith’s phone in the early hours of the morning — showed a friend taking a rug off a wall and doing an imitation of Islamic prayer rituals. When the video from Smith’s phone ended up in the hands of a newspaper, there was an immediate investigation, press castigation and public humiliation for the young athlete. Smith — who is himself of mixed race — was forced to parade on daytime television in Britain and deny that he is a racist, bigot or xenophobe. Notoriously liberal figures from the UK media queued up to berate him for getting drunk or for even thinking of taking part in any mockery of religion. This in a country in which Monty Python’s Life of Brian is regularly voted the nation’s favourite comic movie.

After an “investigation,” the British sports authority has now deemed Smith’s behaviour to warrant a removal of funding and a two-month ban from sport. This is the re-entry of blasphemy laws through the back door, where newspapers, daytime chat-shows and sports authorities decide between them that one religion is worthy of particular protection. They do so because they take the religion of Islam uniquely on its own estimation and believe, as well as fear, the warnings of the Islamic blasphemy-police worldwide.

The front-door reintroduction of blasphemy laws, meantime, is being initiated in a country which once prided itself on being among the first in the world to throw off clerical intrusion into politics. The Dutch politician Geert Wilders has been put on trial before. In 2010 he was tried in the courts for the contents of his film “Fitna” as well as a number of articles. The trial collapsed after one of the expert witnesses — the late, great Dutch scholar of Islam, Hans Jansen — revealed that a judge in the case had tried in private to influence him to change his testimony. The trial was transparently rigged and made Dutch justice look like that of a tin-pot dictatorship rather than one of the world’s most developed democracies. The trial was rescheduled and, after considerable legal wrangling, Wilders was eventually found “not guilty” of a non-crime in 2011.

But it seems that the Dutch legal system, like the Mounties, is intent on always getting its man. On Monday of this week the latest trial of Geert Wilders got underway in Holland. This time Wilders is being tried because of a statement at a rally in front of his supporters in March 2014. Ahead of municipal elections, and following reports of a disproportionate amount of crimes being committed in Holland by Muslims of Moroccan origin, Wilders asked a crowd, “Do you want more or fewer Moroccans in this city and in the Netherlands?” The audience responded, “Fewer, fewer.” To which Wilders responded, “Well, we’ll arrange that, then.”

1546By prosecuting Dutch member of parliament Geert Wilders for making “politcially incorrect” statements, Dutch courts are behaving like a religious court. They are trying to regulate public expression and opinion when it comes to the followers of one religion. (Source of Wilders photo: Flickr/Metropolico)

Opinion polls suggest that around half the Dutch public want fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands and many opinion polls going back decades suggest that the Dutch people want less immigration in general. So at the very least Wilders is being put on trial for voicing an opinion which is far from fringe. The long-term implications for Dutch democracy of criminalizing a majority opinion are catastrophic. But the trial of Wilders is also a nakedly political move.

Whether or not one feels any support for Wilders’s sentiments is not in fact the point in this case. The point is that by prosecuting someone for saying what he said, the courts in Holland are effectively ruling that there is only one correct answer to the question Wilders asked. They are saying that if someone asks you whether you would like more Moroccans or fewer, people must always answer “more,” or they will be committing a crime. What kind of way is that to order a public debate on immigration or anything else? People may say, “He wouldn’t be allowed to say that about any other group of people.” And Wilders himself may not say that about any group of people, because he has his own political views and his own interpretation of the problems facing his country.

It is worth trying a thought-experiment: If Wilders or any other politician got up and asked a crowd “Do you want more or fewer British people in Holland,” I may not — as a British person — feel terribly pleased with him for asking the question, or terribly happy with the crowd if they chanted “Fewer.” Although if British expats in Holland were responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime and disorder in the country, some mitigating sympathy for the sentiment may be forthcoming. But at no point would it occur to me that anyone saying he did not want an endless flow of British people coming into the Netherlands should be prosecuted. Nor would he be.

Like the behaviour of the British Gymnastics association, the Dutch courts are behaving like a religious court. They are trying to regulate public expression and opinion when it comes to the followers of one religion. In so doing, they obviously aspire to keep the peace in the short term, but they cannot possibly realise what trouble they are storing up for our future.

As Geert Wilders again goes on trial for “hate speech,” European media campaigns furiously against him

November 2, 2016

As Geert Wilders again goes on trial for “hate speech,” European media campaigns furiously against him, Jihad Watch

Geert Wilders has yet again gone on trial in the Netherlands for “hate speech,” and this time the case against him is especially flimsy: as Europe is roiled by the criminal activity of Muslim migrants, he is being accused of “hate speech” for saying that the massive influx of immigrants from Morocco (from which most of the Muslim migrants in the Netherlands come) has to be stopped.

This trial could very easily backfire on the Dutch inquisitors, and make Wilders more popular than ever with the people of the Netherlands and Europe in general, as they are increasingly fed up with the political and media elites’ forcing them to accept a massive influx of Muslim migrants that ensures a future only of civil strife, bloodshed, and Sharia oppression.

Consequently, those elites are trying desperately to shore up their position. In this DW piece by freelance “journalist” Teri Schultz, Wilders is (of course) “far-right,” that all-purpose and meaningless semaphore that serves only to signal to right-thinking Deutsche Welle readers that Wilders must be opposed and shunned, his positions unexamined. Schultz contacted me to serve as the villain of her piece, being sure to tell her hapless readers that I am “known for extreme anti-Islam views,” to make sure that if any of them are foolish enough to find themselves agreeing with me, they will immediately reverse themselves and get their minds right. The term “extreme” also, since the Western governing class unanimously refers to jihad terrorists as “extremists,” also implies that I am a terrorist. (After the article came out, I challenged Schultz on this; she replied: “I don’t think even you would consider your views ‘mainstream’, do you?” I responded: “Absolutely yes. My views were the broad mainstream in the Western world from 632 AD until the 1960s. What changed? Not Islamic teaching.” To that she said: “Okay. You’d have to argue it with another expert, which I am not. But thanks again for contributing.” Indeed, she is just a mouthpiece for the views the political and media elites want us to hold.)

In any case, Schultz’s article merely reveals the desperation of the ruling class and the self-appointed opinion-shapers. They can call those of us who wish to defend the people and culture of Europe and North America “far-right” and “extreme” every day (and they do), but the public can see with their eyes what is happening. Wilders’ popularity isn’t growing because he is a charming fellow. It’s growing because he speaks the truths that the political and media elites are in a frenzy to obscure. And it’s only going to get worse for them: the Brexit vote and the Trump candidacy (whether he wins or loses) shows that their hegemony is beginning to be challenged. Those challenges will continue, and grow. They will before too long be decisively voted out and repudiated.

teri-schultz74

“Far-right Wilders skips hate speech trial in Amsterdam,” by Teri Schultz, DW, November 1, 2016:

On Monday, the far-right leader Geert Wilders refused to show up for his trial on charges of hate speech and incitement of violence for comments he made against ethnic Moroccans in the Netherlands.

Instead, Wilders let his legal representatives repeat the views that caused the charges to be brought against him: that the country has a “mega Moroccan problem” and that too many Moroccans get welfare benefits and commit crimes. Wilders believes that he has said “nothing wrong” as he is just vocalizing the views of his constituents….

But while judges ponder the legality of Wilders’ views their popularity grows, as evidenced by Wilders’ showing in the polls and the growth of populist, anti-immigrant parties across Europe, such as the far-right Alternative for Germany. In a world where US Republican Party nominee Donald Trump campaigns on building a wall on the US-Mexican border and a plan to block Muslims from coming to the United States, controversial commentators such Robert Spencer, director of JihadWatch.org, promote Wilders’ perspective. Known for extreme anti-Islam views, Spencer said Wilders’ comments are not out of line.

“Moroccans don’t have some natural right to immigrate to the Netherlands any more than anyone does to anywhere,” Spencer told DW. “And so if someone expresses an opinion saying they would like to slow the rate or stop that immigration, there is nothing ipso facto hateful about that.”

Moroccans make up approximately 2 percent of the Dutch population. Asked how Wilders could consider that as excessive, Spencer said the concern centers more on the growth rate than the actual number of inhabitants at the moment.

Spencer also said since Wilders himself has shown no tendency toward violence – though the court is considering whether he’s encouraging that outcome – the greater “danger to society” would be for Wilders’ remarks to be deemed illegal hate speech.

But European Parliament lawmaker Cecile Kyenge doesn’t think remarks like Wilders’ can be explained away like that. “There has been a constant stream of concerning comments from politicians across Europe,” she said, “that fall short of the responsibilities they have as public figures and opinion leaders. In recent months, politicians have disseminated false information and engaged in hate speech against minorities for political gain. Actions such as these are all the more damaging when they are propagated by politicians.”…

Though Wilders has been acquitted on hate-speech allegations before, Spencer doesn’t necessarily think he’ll be found not guilty again, because Spencer said the ruling elite is afraid of losing power to him. “I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if he were convicted this time and if they don’t convict him this time, they’ll convict him next time. But eventually,” he predicted, “they might have a situation where they’re convicting the sitting prime minister.”

No Justice in the Netherlands

October 26, 2016

No Justice in the Netherlands

by Judith Bergman

October 24, 2016 at 5:00 am

Source: No Justice in the Netherlands

  • It is deeply troubling that the court already before the criminal trial has even begun, so obviously compromises its own impartiality and objectivity. Are other European courts also quietly submitting to jihadist values of curtailing free speech and “inconvenient” political views?
  • If you are a politician and concerned about the future welfare of your country, you should be able to discuss the pertinent issues of the day, including problems with immigrants and other population groups.
  • Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights states that: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers…”
  • In its case law, the Court has stated that Article 10 “…protects not only the information or ideas that are regarded as inoffensive but also those that offend, shock or disturb; such are the demands of that pluralism, tolerance and broad-mindedness without which there is no democratic society. Opinions expressed in strong or exaggerated language are also protected”.
  • Wilders did not incite to violence or prosecution (or humiliation), nor did he jeopardize national security or public safety.
  • Clearly, in the Netherlands, justice is no longer blind and the courts no longer independent and impartial state institutions.

A court in The Hague decided on October 14 that the charges of hate speech against Dutch politician Geert Wilders, for statements he made in March 2014 at a political rally, are admissible in a court of law. It thereby rejected the Wilders’ appeal to throw out the charges as inadmissible in a court of law on the grounds that these are political issues and that a trial would in fact amount to a political process. The criminal trial against Wilders will begin on Monday, October 31.

While campaigning in The Hague in March 2014, Wilders argued the need for fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands. At an election meeting in The Hague, he asked those present a number of questions, one of which was “Do you want more or fewer Moroccans?” After the crowd responded “fewer” Wilders said, “We’re going to organize that.”

Geert Wilders during his March 2014 speech, where he asked “Do you want more or fewer Moroccans?” (Image source: nos.nl video screenshot)

Because of the “fewer Moroccans” statements, repeated again in an interview a few days later, Wilders will be prosecuted on two counts: First for “deliberately insulting a group of people because of their race.” Second, for “inciting hatred or discrimination against these people.”

Wilders’ defense attorney, Geert Jan Knoops, has argued that the trial amounts to a political trial against Wilders and his party, the PVV: “Sensitive issues must be judged by public opinion or through the ballot box,”, Knoops said “The Prosecutor is indirectly asking for a ruling over the functioning of the PVV and its political program. The court must not interfere with this.”

As a politician, Wilders can say more than an ordinary citizen, Knoops said, arguing that Wilders used his statements to point out shortcomings in the Dutch state. “It is his duty to name shortcomings. He takes that responsibility and proposes solutions.” Knoops argued that the prosecutor is limiting Wilders’ freedom of speech by prosecuting him for his statements.

The court’s response was that although politicians are entitled to freedom of expression, they should “avoid public statements that feed intolerance” and that the trial would determine where the border lies between politicians’ freedom of expression and their obligation, as the court sees it, to avoid public statements that feed intolerance.

Other politicians, notably all from the Labour Party, have uttered the following about Moroccans without being prosecuted:

The court discarded Wilders’ defense attorney’s argument that the failure to prosecute any of these politicians renders the trial against Wilders discriminatory. The court said that because of the different time, place and context of the statements of other politicians, they cannot be equated with the statements of Mr. Wilders and for that reason, the court considers that there has been no infringement of the principle of equality.

The statements of those other politicians, however, were, objectively speaking, far worse in their use of language (“sh*t Moroccans”) and what could be considered direct incitement (“We must humiliate Moroccans”). What other time, place and context could possibly make the above statements more acceptable than asking whether voters would like more or fewer Moroccans? And what circumstances render it legitimate to call someone “sh*t” because of their ethnic origin?

It is deeply troubling that the court already in its preliminary ruling, and before the criminal trial itself has even begun, so obviously compromises its own impartiality and objectivity. To the outside world, this court no longer appears impartial. Are other European courts also quietly submitting to jihadist values of curtailing free speech and “inconvenient” political views?

The Netherlands is a party to the European Convention of Human Rights. This means that Dutch courts are obligated to interpret domestic legislation in a way compatible with the ECHR and the case law of the European Court on Human Rights. Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights states:

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers…

2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

In its case law, the European Court of Human Rights has stated[1] that Article 10

“…protects not only the information or ideas that are regarded as inoffensive but also those that offend, shock or disturb; such are the demands of that pluralism, tolerance and broad-mindedness without which there is no democratic society. Opinions expressed in strong or exaggerated language are also protected”.

Even more important in the context of the trial against Wilders is the fact that according to the European Court of Human Rights’ case law,

“…the extent of protection depends on the context and the aim of the criticism. In matters of public controversy or public interest, during political debate, in electoral campaigns… strong words and harsh criticism may be expected and will be tolerated to a greater degree by the Court”. [emphasis added]

Let us review what Wilders said and the context in which he said it: “Do you want more or fewer Moroccans?” After the crowd responded “fewer” Wilders said, “We’re going to organize that.” He repeated that statement in a subsequent interview, where he said, “The fewer Moroccans, the better.”

The context in which he said it was an election campaign in March 2014 against the backdrop of considerable problems with Moroccans in the Netherlands. According to Dutch journalist Timon Dias:

Statistics show that 65% of all Moroccan youths have been arrested by police, and that one third of that group have been arrested more than five times.

Wilders emphasizes the inordinate costs associated with the disproportionately high number of Dutch Moroccans registered as social welfare beneficiaries and who are implicated in welfare fraud.

Now, if you are a politician and concerned about the future welfare of your country, you should, logically, be able to discuss the pertinent issues of the day, including existing problems with immigrants and other population groups. This discussion will only make sense in a democratic society if it takes place in public, and certainly with voters at a political rally during an election campaign. Asking whether voters want fewer Moroccans in their city or country may seem crude to some and offensive to others. However, in the light of the case law of the European Human Rights Court, which specifically protects political speech with a very wide margin, especially that of political actors and political campaigns, it is very difficult to see, if not impossible, how the question Wilders posed could legitimately be covered by article 10 (2).

According to article 10 (2), freedom of speech can be limited when

“necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.”

Wilders did not incite to violence or prosecution (or humiliation), nor did he jeopardize national security or public safety or any of the other concerns noted above.

It is more difficult to see how the statement, “We must humiliate Moroccans” by Labour politician Hans Spekman, who was not prosecuted, could be legitimized, as it constitutes direct incitement to some form of humiliating action towards Moroccans. Then again, Hans Spekman is not Geert Wilders.

Clearly, in the Netherlands, justice is no longer blind and the courts no are longer independent and impartial state institutions. This should deeply concern all Dutch citizens.

Judith Bergman is a writer, columnist, lawyer and political analyst.