The Wilders Process and the incompetent Dutch Justice System

Wilders allegedly caused an anti-Muslim ethnically racist opinion to be expressed by a crowd and as a result, is subject to a court proceeding. There are fitting precedents for the punishment he deserves.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

OpEds Manfred Gerstenfeld
Manfred Gerstenfeld
Manfred Gerstenfeld

A new legal proceeding against PVV leader Geert Wilders will be brought before the court in The Hague on October 31.[1]

Why? In 2014 he asked a group of the party’s sympathizers: “What do we want, more or less Moroccans?” The crowd shouted: “Less Moroccans.”[2] This response had a stereotypical element because it referred to Moroccans in general.

There is a disproportionately large number of Moroccans among suspects of criminality in the Netherlands in comparison with their two percent share in the population.[3] Yet it is wrong to blame all Moroccans or hold them responsible for the attitudes of these individuals. Suggesting this, as the shouting seemed to indicate, expresses an ethnically racist opinion.

There are, however, more aspects to the context of this process than meet the eye. Some of these facets also indirectly relate to matters concerning Jews.

First a few general issues. In October 2010 another legal process against Wilders started. The official prosecution accused him of insulting Muslims with various remarks in the media and with his anti-Koran movie Fitna.

The process turned into a major defeat for the Dutch justice system. Wilders’ lawyer succeeded in having the members of the first tribunal challenged and replaced in an early stage.[4] In June 2011 the prosecution asked for Wilders’ acquittal and the judges came to the same conclusion.

When looked at in a wider context, the new Wilders process also draws attention to the extreme failure of the police and justice system of the Dutch democratic state. Wilders has needed permanent massive guarding already for 12 years. In 2004 Mohamed Bouyeri murdered media personality Theo Van Gogh on the street. On the murderer’s computer plans were found to also kill Wilders. Last year Wilders thanked his guards that he is still alive.[5]

When he came to the office of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs some ten years ago I asked his Dutch bodyguards why there were only two of them. They answered: In Israel nothing happens. When he spoke at the Begin Center a few years later the number of Dutch bodyguards had already increased to six. In the Netherlands Wilders nowadays walks around with many more bodyguards. Even in the parliament building he requires special security.

The number of threats, including many death messages that Wilders has received over the years is huge. No other Dutch politician has had to endure such deprivation of privacy for such a long time.

If the Dutch police and justice system were reasonably adequate, hundreds of those who uttered threats against Wilders would be serving jail time. Hardly any, however, were condemned and the punishments meted out to those who were, are minute.

The Dutch Moroccan rapper Mo$heb was, in 2009, sentenced  to eighty hours of community service by the Rotterdam court and two months jail time on probation. He had threatened Wilders with death, including singing that if he would meet Wilders he would shoot him. A year later the appeal court in The Hague acquitted the rapper.[6]

The Supreme Court determined in 2012 that the court case had to be retried. Finally he was sentenced to forty hours of community service and one month jail time on probation.[7]

In 2014 the rapper Hozny, also a Muslim, was sentenced to eighty hours of community service and two months jail time on probation. In a video-clip Hozny had suggested that Wilders should be taken hostage and executed because of his remarks about Islam.[8]

Over the past years the shouting of “death to the Jews” or the like by Dutch Muslims has been heard from time to time. One example which had no Jewish aspects was when in 2015 more than 100 people chanted “Jewish murderers” during riots that broke out in the Schilderswijk, a predominantly Muslim neighborhood of The Hague. This happened after a man who was arrested died in police custody. There are a few Jews who live in that neighborhood, in an enclave surrounded by low-income families.[9]

The number of Muslim youth justifying violence against Jews significantly exceeds the total number of Jewish youth in the Netherlands.
Rarely, or possibly never, have threats against Jews led to court condemnations.   

A study among Dutch youth found far more anti-Semitism among young Muslims than among others of their age group. Worse even is the finding that seven percent of Muslim youths justified violence against Dutch Jews.[10] There are at least twenty times more Muslim youth than Jewish youth in the Netherlands. The number of Muslim youth justifying violence against Jews thus significantly exceeds the total number of Jewish youth in the Netherlands.

The most severe anti-Semitic incident in the Netherlands was a robbery in 2015 perpetrated by criminals who appeared to be of Moroccan Arab descent. The victims were two Holocaust survivors in their mid-eighties in Amsterdam. The woman was a survivor of Auschwitz. The robbers called them “dirty Jews” and beat them severely.[11] These criminals were never found.

The two largest Muslim communities in the Netherlands are the Turkish and the Moroccan communities. Each one numbers about one third of the approximately one million Dutch Muslims. A major study by the American Anti-Defamation League has found that the majority of adults in both of these countries of origin are anti-Semites.[12]

With parliamentary elections approaching in early 2017 the Wilders legal process may have an impact on the election outcome. His party’s program includes forbidding the Koran and closing all mosques in the Netherlands.

In view of all the above, a fair process seems barely possible. On the one hand there are the statements that Wilders has made against an ethnic group. On the other hand there are the many far worse death threats Wilders has received, the impact they have had on his life, and the minute punishments meted out for the few condemned among those brought to justice.

In conclusion: a sentence of one hour of community service for Wilders would be on the high side.




[3] file:///D:/Users/user/Downloads/criminaliteit-en-rechtshandhaving-2014.pdf






[10] Anne Frank Stichting en Verwey-Jonker Instituut, april 2015, 33. Ron van Wonderen and Willem Wagenaar, Antisemitisme onder jongeren in Nederland, Oorzaken en Triggerfactoren.