Pro-Israel rightist sweeps Netherlands elections

Geert Wilders, who said he would move the Dutch embassy to Jerusalem, has often received death threats for his anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant stance.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

In what is being considered one of the biggest upsets in Dutch politics, right-wing Israel supporter Geert Wilders has convincingly won the Wednesday elections in the Netherlands, according to Dutch exit polls.

Immigration was a big issue in this year’s elections, and Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) has campaigned for years against migrants in general and Muslim ones in particular, whose importation of Islam, it says, is a danger to the country. Wilders has talked of outlawing mosques in the Netherlands as well as the Koran, which he has compared to Hitler’s antisemitic screed, Mein Kampf.

His anti-Muslim stance has garnered him many death threats and some assassination attempts, and he has a police guard around the clock.

The longtime politician, whose wife is Jewish, is concomitantly a big fan of Israel, espousing the views of his most right-wing counterparts in the Jewish state.

This includes supporting the application of Israeli sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria, and saying in a recent post that “there has been an independent Palestinian state since 1946: the Kingdom of Jordan.”

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He has also said that he would transfer the Netherlands’ embassy to Jerusalem if elected, in order to support “the one true democracy in the Middle East.” It is a move he has pushed for years from his seat in Parliament without success.

In reaction to the ongoing war with Hamas, set off on October 7 after the terror organization invaded Israel and massacred 1,200 men, women, children and babies, Wilders has given his full-throated support to the necessity of eradicating the Islamic extremists.

“Israel is fighting for its existence,” he posted to X on November 4. “Against the forces of hate, barbarism and terrorism. No Israeli wants unnecessary civilians to be killed. But Hamas needs to be eliminated. We have to fully support Israel and the Jewish people!”

He has also talked of restraint being “a foolish Western concept that is perceived as weakness by Islamic terrorists,” while defending Israel’s actions in Gaza as being both “proportional” and adhering to the laws of war. The IDF, he said on Dutch media in the runup to the elections, is trying to “avoid civilian casualties as much as possible. But you can’t wage war without going to war,” and Hamas, he intimated, is using civilian shields “by hiding and operating in refugee camps.”

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Wilders also adopted the line of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the Jewish state is fighting against Islamic fanatics who will threaten other democracies if they defeat Israel.

“If Jerusalem falls into the hands of the Muslims, Athens and Rome will be next,” he said. “Thus, Jerusalem is the main front protecting the West. It is not a conflict over territory but rather an ideological battle, between the mentality of the liberated West and the ideology of Islamic barbarism.”

There have been many anti-Israel demonstrations in the Netherlands since the start of the war, many of which have turned violent. This was reportedly one of the pushes Wilders received to put his party in the driver’s seat for the first time in the Netherlands’ history.

Although the PVV is set to receive the largest number of seats by far in the Dutch parliament, with only 37 out of 150 seats he will still need to cobble together a coalition. Wilders will reportedly turn to the outgoing Conservative faction and to a party that was just founded three months ago called the New Social Contract, which shares some of PVV’s anti-EU views but not its anti-Muslim positions, to form a majority.

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The coalition negotiations are not expected to be easy, and it may take several months for a new government to be announced.