From March 15-17, the Netherlands held national elections. The Netherlands has a crowded multiparty system: 17 parties got elected into the House of Representatives.

The center-Right party VVD and the center-Left party D’66 ended as the two biggest parties. These parties want Holland to stay in the EU and are for climate management. The two parties together still don’t hold a majority.

At the Right side of the aisle are the populist parties: Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom and a few smaller ones. Together they have a substantial number of representatives in parliament, but also no majority. These parties would like Holland to leave the EU, want to stop islamization and would like more lenient corona policies.

From a Jewish perspective it is a concern that antisemitism and anti-Israelism were not an issue for the Dutch voter. The populist party of rising star Thierry Baudet, Forum for Democracy, quadrupled, notwithstanding the alleged antisemitic incidents within the party. A young hijab wearing woman, a Muslim Brotherhood activist at the Green Left party, modeled after Ilhan Omar, got elected with preferential votes. The Islamist party DENK, affiliated with Turkish President Erdogan’s AKP party, retained its representatives. And Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch ‘Hillary Clinton’, rocketed her center-Left party D’66 to the top two in the country.

In the past few years, Kaag served as the Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in the Dutch Cabinet and as interim (first female) Minister of Foreign Affairs. Earlier in her career she worked for the UN Palestinian refugees organization UNWRA and held high UN offices in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. In 2013-2014 she headed the UN mission for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons. In the nineties Kaag married, secretly at first, a Palestinian deputy minister in Yasser Arafat’s PLO government, who is also a Palestinian Authority Ambassador to Switzerland. Holland’s new deputy foreign minister called Netanyahu a racist demagogue | The Times of Israel . Under Kaag’s responsibility, Dutch government subsidized a Palestinian agricultural development group affiliated with the terrorist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, with 11 million dollar.

Netherlands admits to paying terrorists who killed 17-year-old Israeli – The Jerusalem Post (jpost.com)

How an Israeli smear campaign is ripping away funds from Palestinian farmers (972mag.com)

Chances are high Sigrid Kaag will become Holland’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs and the first female Dutch Prime Minister in one of the next elections. After that, a position in the highest body of the European Union, the European Commission, would be conceivable. She would be the right person, but surrounded by the wrong influences.

This April 7-8 is Yom HaShoa, the day that Israel and Jewish communities around the world commemorate the Holocaust. The Netherlands had the greatest number of Jewish victims in Western Europe: three quarters of the Dutch Jewish community, 102 thousand men, women and children, our grandparents, grand-aunts and grand-uncles, were murdered The Netherlands: the greatest number of Jewish victims in Western Europe | Anne Frank House

It is sad to see that what remained of the Dutch Jewish community after this genocide is a too small Jewish electorate to be of any significance to Dutch politicians or voters. In contrast, we see political parties increasingly cater to the community of Muslim immigrant background, that has more voters.

This is further illustrated by remarks of politicians like Gerdie Verbeet, Chair of the Dutch national WWII commemoration committee and former Speaker of the House, who said  “the national commemoration of the Dutch fallen in WWII is not about the 102.000 murdered Jews, they are just a part of it and should not be made too big.” Or of former Dutch Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Jan Wijenberg: “I got more and more annoyed over time by the exclusive attention for the ‘holders of the monopoly of grief’, the Jewish victims”.

Throughout history, Jews were the canary in the coal mine about loss of freedom in the rest of society. Antisemitism, anti-Israelism and islamization in Dutch politics may be the canary in the coal mine for other European countries and even for the Americas.

On this Yom Hashoa on April 7-8, please watch my documentary ‘Never Again Is Now’ https://youtu.be/BZWnlshOXWs about my parents’ story during the Holocaust, their liberators, and the lessons for our times.

Evelyn Markus

Author Evelyn Markus

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