‘Hamas was secret campaign manager for Geert Wilders’

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL November 25, 2023

Geert Wilders

I just heard a popular Dutch podcaster make the astonishing declaration on the BBC that the Hamas-Israel situation had definitely played a role in his country’s elections.

What sort of role?

“Hamas was secret campaign manager for Geert Wilders,” P G Kruger, the podcaster replied, referring to the anti-migrant, anti-Islam politician who led his PVV party to the glory of being the biggest party in parliament. Mr Wilders, accordingly, could be prime minister, so long as he’s able to convince other parties to work with him.

How did Hamas serve as secret campaign manager?

The podcaster was clear in his analysis. Mr Wilders has long portrayed Islam as a primitive faith and cast Moroccans and Turks in the Netherlands as scum. When the Hamas atrocities of October 7 occurred, flashing up on television screens across an appalled Netherlands and the rest of the world, people looked at the brutal images and thought, “oh my God”. The podcaster continued that these were chiefly older Dutch voters. The Netherlands, he added, has had a very long relationship with Israel.

Something about the Hamas atrocities made a section of the Dutch electorate listen to Mr Wilders’ usual message with greater attention, the podcaster said.

There’s everything to suggest Mr Kruger is right.

Mr Wilders’ standard-issue campaign elements – anti-Islam and anti-European Union – have excited marginal interest for decades. But when filmmaker Theo van Gogh was killed in 2004 for depicting Islam as a religion that encouraged violence against women, anti-Muslim sentiment rose in the Netherlands. The attacker, Mohammed Bouyeri, was a second-generation Dutch Moroccan. At the time, The Guardian said it was “the murder that shattered Holland’s liberal dream”.

It’s entirely conceivable that images of the brutalities committed by Hamas in Israel sparked a feeling of revulsion for one section of the community – and a new respect for Mr Wilders?

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