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It has been repeatedly warned that the rise of the far right (following Brexit and Trump) would be soon tested in 3 European general elections: France, Germany, and the Netherlands. The first of those occurs on Wednesday in the Netherlands, and since I'm about the only one on the list who posts from Holland, I feel obligated to make a mention of what's happening.

As in all these cases, the significant aspect of the election is the rise of the far right (or "fascism," but I don't want to argue terminology) here in the form of noted Islamophobe Geert Wilders (and his nominal party the PVV). The concern is that the PVV has risen the wave of anti-immigrant racism, and has recently been the leading party in the polls with over 20% voter support (not enough to form a government, fortunately). Below is a link to an article I ran across by a leading Dutch newspaper they (unusually) supplied in English (I guess expecting an international audience). It's basically factual and fair so I recommend reading it if you're interested. And anyway, he's been on his anti-Islam hate campaign for many years so there isn't much new being written about him by the left, let alone in English.

One twist in the last few days involves the Dutch government's actions to PHYSICALLY prevent campaigning around an upcoming referendum in Turkey (which Turks in the Netherlands can vote in) by members of the (ruling) AK party. They refused landing rights to an airplane and stopped one in a car from reaching the Turkish embassy. About the same thing happened in Germany, as you may have read. I thought it was an outrageous denial of freedom of speech and assembly (unfortunately no outcry from the left, I believe because there is no sympathy for the AKP), and most Turkish felt the same, especially in Rotterdam, where demonstrators were confronted by the police and arrested (also arrests in Amsterdam). The Dutch PM Mark Rutte is widely seen to have been using the crackdown on Turkish political activity in order to boost his anti-Islam credentials in the eyes of the voters who might otherwise be voting for Wilders for that reason. So there is a tight race based on who would be more effectively anti-Islam and anti-immigrant :-(

I should also add (since this isn't covered in the following article) that although he is similar to Trump in most ways, Geert Wilders' fascism isn't so much inherited from the Nazi tradition (like much of Trump's team) so anti-semitism isn't an issue (his hate concentrates on Muslims and people of color). He is VERY pro-Israel, frequently citing Israel's oppression of the Palestinians as a model for what should be done in Europe. He frequently travels to Israel and is believed to be on the payroll of the Mossad.

- Jeff


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