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Opinion piece: Wilders’ remarks are offensive and unacceptable

Recently, a pro-Palestine demonstration was held outside the National Holocaust Museum in Amsterdam during its opening, which was being attended by President Herzog of Israel. Wilders’ response? ‘It smells like a political campaign by the far-left mayor of Amsterdam. Irresponsible.’

The right to demonstrate

What should have been an respectful commemoration deteriorated into a public disorder incident littered with overt anti-Semitism. However, the Dutch Public Assemblies Act and Amsterdam's demonstration regulations do allow these kinds of demonstrations. The European Court of Human Rights also allows demonstrators to be seen and heard within visibility and earshot of the target.

Keeping rule of law based institutions intact

In his opinion piece for Amsterdam-based daily newspaper Het Parool, Professor of Constitutional Law Wim Voermans writes that Wilders’ response to the demonstration is inherently objectionable and undermines the formation of a new Dutch government. While it’s good to take a critical approach, rule of law based institutions should not be compromised – especially if you’re the major responsible party. Any criticism should accurately represent a government institution’s role and actions and should not insult or target the individual.

The saying, ‘a leopard can’t change its spots’, certainly seems to apply to Wilders here.

More information

Read the full opinion piece (in Dutch) in Het Parool

Photo: Koshu Kunii through Unsplash

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