Last Tuesday, July 17, Jeroen de Kreek stood trial for Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism.
De Kreek is a former lawyer who has been bombarding the Dutch public with daily articles dedicated to Holocaust denial and various examples of anti-Semitism through his three websites and via Twitter.
A few years ago, De Kreek was twice convicted for stalking and threatening former Dutch Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende. Right now, De Kreek is the biggest producer of Holocasut denial and anti-Semitism in the Netherlands.
After complaints filed by the Dutch Cyber hate Bureau (MDI), the Center for Information and Documentation Israel (CIDI) and the Dutch Jewish Broadcasting Corporation, the Public Prosecutor decided to take De Kreek to court.
De Kreek, convicted only a few months ago because of previous complaints about online anti-Semitism by MDI and CIDI, seems to be a slow learner.
The trial before the court in Amsterdam started ‘in style’; De Kreek, wearing a T-shirt with ‘I love Jews’ on the front and ‘Against Zionism’ on the back, challenged the court for bias and asked the presiding Judge (Mr. Korthals Altes) immediately if his name was Cohen. When the answer was negative, he wanted to know if the other members of the Court were of Jewish origin. Korthals Altes told him ‘I have no idea’.
His attempt to garner ‘proof’ that the court was biased because of 'Jewishness' was not successful, but the incident certainly set the tone. De Kreek - two backpacks with books and papers with him throughout the session - was hostile and abusive, especially toward the prosecutor, Hielke Freezing-Buist and toward those who had filed the complaints.
His next attempt to drag out the session was a last-moment request to call a number of witnesses: Daniel Veenboer of the MDI, Geert Wilders, Ronny Naftaniel and Elise Friedmann of the CIDI, Hans Jansen, MP Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Sille Jansen (former MDI director), British Rabbi Aaron Cohen of Naturei Karta, (a small anti-Zionist sect active in England and New York), Director Alfred Edelstein of Jewish broadcasting Coporation and last but not least a woman he had met in the hallway "who is of Jewish origin and is afraid of Zionists’.
All these requests were rejected. The prosecution and the court believed both that it was too short a day and not important enough. Why De Kreek needed to have these witnesses he could not really make clear; “I want to discuss things with these people to find out their motives for persecuting me”, he claimed.
For nearly three hours the judge questioned the defendant about his statements and publications with respect to Jews and the Holocaust. With pathological tenacity, De Kreek defended his theories and only made matters worse for himself.
An anthology of madness from the defendant:
-Jews themselves caused the Holocaust, or in any case the Zionists, which are no Jews, but Nazis.
-The Holocaust did not happen, but if it did there are far fewer people killed than 6 million.
-Theodor Herzl incited all pogroms, the Rothschild family financed IG Farben and Auschwitz.
-The Ashkenazi Jews wanted to colonize Palestine and therefore promoted anti-Semitism from the French Revolution on.
-Ashkenazi Jews are not real Jews because they are not descended from the real Jews, the Sephardim. Zionists are not religious and therefore are not real Jews.
-"Holocaust" is a concept from the Kabbalah, which states that after the Holocaust, Jews would be divine and could take possession of Palestine. The Jews themselves say that the crucifixion of Christ is their fault. The Holocaust was conceived and performed by Jews on Jews, the Zionists built Auschwitz.
-Many Jews who were murdered were not Jews, because Jews are not a race but a religion.
"My publications are in the interest of the public debate", he asserted, "since nobody knows all this. The court is confused, the prosecutor is confused and the judiciary in general is confused".
And so it went on and on. De Kreek said that ‘Even the Zionists of the CIDI and MDI realize that my websites are not anti-Semitic’
To top it off, he shared the idea that the word ‘Nazi’ really comes from ‘Asheknazi’, to which the judge replied innocently "I always thought that ‘Nazi’ was an abbreviation of National Socialism”.
De Kreek: (giggling) "No, that would have been NaSo!”
Of course the defendant insisted that when he writes "Jews", he really means 'Zionists'. When asked by the judge why he did not stick to the use of "Zionists", he answered: "that would diminish the readability”.
Finally, the Prosecutor could start reading the indictment. She did this quickly and concisely, since the judge had already discussed most parts of the indictment extensively with the accused.
The accusation of threats against Hans Jansen was rejected, since De Kreek had written that Jansen should be ‘slaughtered as a pig in a legal sense’, which is a metaphor. However, she deemed it well-proven that both Hans Jansen and Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert were insulted in a very coarse and offensive manner; as the “suspect just wants to insult and humiliate”.
On the other counts in the indictment, ‘publicly insulting Jews because of their race’, the Prosecutor considered De Kreek guilty. She denounced the influence of De Kreeks websites on young people. Websites which she described as "filled with proven baseless allegations and insults" and indicated that the influence of these on society are very negative.
Moreover, she indicated that it was clear for her, given previous lawsuits against the defendant, that in the sense of the anti-discrimination legislation De Kreek had made discrimination ‘his profession or business’.
As a penalty, the Prosecutor claimed the forfeit of the two laptops, two PCs and one hard disk confiscated during a search of De Kreek’s house, a hundred hours of community service and a suspended jail term of one month with a probationary period of three years.
Then it was De Kreek’s turn to take the floor, again proving the adage that a lawyer who does his own defense has a fool for a client. The Judge indicated that De Kreek would get 30 minutes for his plea, the same time that had been allotted to the Prosecutor. Mr. Korthals Altes added that since De Kreek had been given more than 3 hours already to explain his ideas, the court was very generous in this.
Of course, De Kreek found 30 minutes to be too little. He claimed he needed more time to prepare and asked for a postponement of the case to be able to do so. Asked how much time he needed De Kreek retorted: ‘3 hours or maybe even 3 days, I don’t know’.
The court adjourned for five minutes and returned with a decision; no delay, the request had been denied. Again De Kreek began to argue and eventually he was getting louder, gesticulating, yelling and screaming. The court tried several times to calm him down but it was useless.
He turned around and pointed at the MDI staff sitting in the audience, shouting “they are the real criminals, the Zionists, the cheaters and liars!".
Again the judge asked him if he wanted to start his 30 minute plea. Again De Kreek refused and added: “I challenge this court for bias.”
After that, Mr. Korthals Altes could do nothing more than to say that the so-called "challenge court" would meet soon, after which he suspended the court session.
The challenge court, a separate panel of judges, will meet and decide if the challenge made by defendant was just and deserved. Probably this meeting will take place next week. If these judges decide there were no grounds for the challenge (and it certainly looks that way), the court case against De Kreek will immediately recommence.
For the MDI, it was the most serious complaint they have filed since the start of their operations in 1997. Their dossier on De Kreek contains hundreds of instances of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism, of which ‘only’ 87 were filed in this case.
Additionally, liberal MP Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and Arab Culture expert Hans Jansen filed separate complaints for insult and threats, which the prosecutor attached to the case.
Will a conviction in this case help? Probably not. De Kreek is an obsessive anti-Semite and will continue publishing his filth, if necessary from jail.
But a case like this delivers a warning to others: if you want to publish Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism there are organizations that will see to it that there are consequences.
Ronald Eissens is General Director of Magenata Foundation, of which MDI is part.