Geert Wilders, the far-right Dutch politician, wants to bring his noxious brand of Islamophobia into mainstream American politics. It looks like he’s succeeding, and prominent figures on the American right are actively courting him.
He has already had his voice heard and amplified by anti-Muslim blogs like Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch. And on September 11, Wilders told a crowd gathered to protest the Muslim community center near Ground Zero that “New York, rooted in Dutch tolerance, will never become New Mecca…In the name of freedom: No mosque here!”
Ferry Biedermann, a correspondent for Dutch and international media in the Middle East, provides details (emphasis mine) on some of the American allies Wilders has in a piece in Foreign Policy titled “Mainstreaming Hate”:
Not that long ago, both American Democrats and Republicans were considered rightwing by Dutch, and indeed European, standards. No longer. Wilders sometimes makes the likes of Fox News host Glenn Beck, anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller, and even the most extreme fringes of the Tea Party crowd look like moderates — and the comparison is not a random one. Several Dutch media outlets have delved into ideological and financial ties between Wilders and American archconservatives such as David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes, and Jim DeMint. In an article this May, the respected Dutch NRC newspaper reported that Horowitz had brought Wilders over for a “conservative conference in California” at the end of 2009, attended by DeMint and Liz Cheney, among others. It also quotes Pipes as saying that he had gathered a “six-figure sum” to support Wilders…
Some Dutch analysts warn that it is a mistake to “blacken” Wilders’s name too much or lump him with fascism or Nazism. “For one, he’s not anti-Semitic,” says Alfred Pijpers of the Clingendael Institute of International Relations in The Hague. Israeli officials have indeed privately commended him as “a friend of Israel.” Pijpers says that Wilders has more in common with the Tea Party activists in the United States than with any old-style European right-wing party
Here are some of Wilders’ political positions concerning Muslims and Islam:
He has called for a “head rag tax” on women wearing headscarves. He favors banning the Quran, wants to close Muslim schools but not equivalent Christian or Jewish ones, wants to force immigrants to sign “assimilation contracts,” and wants to include the “Judeo-Christian character” of the state in the constitution.
This should be a scandal in American politics, especially because people who have political power, such as Jim DeMint, a senator from South Carolina, are tied to Wilders. This Foreign Policy piece further underscores the troubling ties that bind together Zionism, American neoconservatism and Islamophobia.
UPDATE: I should have added in links to these excellent pieces by Ali Gharib, a blogger at the Inter Press Service’s LobeLog: Dutch MP Geert Wilders and U.S. Allies Tied to European Far Right and Frum Whitewashes Dutch Islamophobe.