Manfred Gerstenfeld Wilders



This is going to anger a lot of my pro-Israel anti-Islamization friends, but it’s what I honestly think. Wilders better savvy-up if he wants to remain relevant in the pro-Israel movement. You can’t claim philosemitism while spearheading a policy that is synonymous with anti-Semitism. The TT has been a strong voice of support for Wilders’, and that’s in spite of his Leftist views, because he was standing up for something, our free democratic way of life.

You can’t support draconian statist anti-liberal (classic sense) policies like government intrusion in the private affairs of people, like ritual slaughter, even though it affects the Halal system as well, and say that you’re for individual liberty. You can’t have it both ways. There are other ways to stifle Islamic hegemony, as well as the proceeds of halal meat from going to fund the jihad.

He (Wilders) would do well to follow the advice of Dr.Gerstenfeld, and create a research center for the PVV, and ween himself, and his party from populist impulses, and distance himself from illiberal policies. I will still support Wilders’ smart moves, and take the liberty to criticize his more stupid ones.

NOTE: This was first published at J-Wire.

Wilders’ Pro-Israel Party Favours Forbidding Ritual Slaughter…writes Manfred Gerstenfeld

February 5, 2013 by Manfred Gerstenfeld

Before the Dutch parliamentary elections in September 2012, Israeli Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger wrote a letter to Geert Wilders, the pro-Israel leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV). The party’s platform for the elections included the prohibition of ritual slaughter.[1]

Manfred Gertsenfeld

Manfred Gerstenfeld

Its parliamentarian Dion Graus also announced that he intended to continue his failed past efforts to forbid the import of ritually slaughtered meat.[2]

Rabbi Metzger wrote that Graus has taken the classic anti-Semitic position of targeting Jewish rites as done over the centuries. He added: “One cannot be at the same time a friend of Israel and the Jewish people and on the other hand support an anti-Jewish law and be friends with Mr. Dion Graus.”[3]

Wilders, the only Dutch politician known internationally, has acquired a justified reputation for major support of Israel. He has said that Jihad is not only against Israel, but targets the entire Western world.[4] The PVV platform also states that Jordan is Palestine.[5] His party has also exposed anti-Semitism by Muslims and others in The Netherlands.

Yet already in 2011, Wilders’ image in the Jewish world took a severe beating. On the prohibition of unstunned ritual slaughter, the PVV supported the extreme positions of the small populist Party for the Animals. In Parliament, Graus called ritual slaughter ‘ritual torture.’[6] He furthermore turned the Jews into a political instrument by falsely claiming that his party was not anti-Islam because the ritual slaughter law would also hurt the Jews.[7] The Amsterdam Orthodox community declared that it considers Graus, “a danger for the Jewish communities in the Netherlands and Europe.”[8]

Prohibiting ritual slaughter has drawn much media attention in the Netherlands, Israel and also among organized Jewry in the United States.

Former PVV Parliamentarian Wim Kortenoeven has alerted major U.S Jewish organizations to the PVV’s stance on this issue.. He was the only one of his party to vote against the proposed anti-ritual slaughter law in 2011. He left the PVV afterwards. Kortenoeven says that several of his colleagues supported his position, but caved in under pressure from Wilders.

The first American Jewish organization to challenge the PVV on the ritual slaughter issue already in 2011, was the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Later its Associate Dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper wrote again to Wilders requesting he drop the issue from PVV’s platform.[9] In his answer, Wilders claimed that anti-Semites will not be tolerated in his party and that Graus was not one.[10] Rabbi Cooper was not convinced and wrote a second letter which remains unanswered.[11]

This conflict made the front page of the largest Dutch daily De Telegraaf.[12] That article also claimed that U.S Jews had been financing Wilders because of his pro-Israel positions and this was now at risk as the PVV was attacking one of the most fundamental rituals of the Jewish religion. Little proof was given to substantiate the Jewish financing. Far more important is that Wilders has been warmly received in major pro-Israel Evangelical Christian communities in the United States. This is unlikely to continue.

Why would Wilders threaten important American relationships by insisting on a marginal issue such as prohibiting ritual slaughter? The most probable explanation is that this is one more indication of the populist way he often operates.

Wilders’ initial success derived from having identified two crucial issues for the future of The Netherlands neglected by others. He saw that far more threats against the future of democracies come out of the Islamic world than out of any other religion. Wilders also realized that the democracy-deficient European integration in some critical fields had dangerously run ahead unchecked. He translated these issues into populist campaign slogans which gave the PVV 24 out of 150 parliamentary seats in the 2010 election. The party then dropped to 15 seats in the 2012 elections.

The PVV never upgraded to a professional party as it should have. It still has no research organization. It rarely details any proposal in great depth. From time to time, Wilders tosses out extreme remarks which do not help his two major political aims. Though frequently warned, he has ignored the problems which his position on the ritual slaughter issue causes, mainly among foreign supporters.

Had Wilders professionalized his political approach, there was a good chance that the PVV could become the Netherlands’ largest party. The problems due to uncontrolled European integration, as well as the major violence in the Islamic world have aggravated further and are now exposed for everyone to see. The longer Wilders’ populist attitude continues on many other issues, the less valuable his pro-Israel positions will be for Israel. At the same time, the PVV being in the forefront of anti-Semitic proposals on a crucial issue for Jews, should not be overlooked.

Manfred Gerstenfeld is a member of the Board of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, of which he has been Chairman for twelve years. He is  recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award (2012) of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.

As this article may provoke controversy, J-Wire adds Gerstenfeld’s sources


[1] Verkiezingsprogramma PVV 2012-2017, ‘Hun Brussel, Ons Nederland’. [Dutch]

[2] Parliamentary debate Second Chamber, 13 April 2011. [Dutch]

[3] Letter from Chief Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger to mr. Geert Wilders, 28 August 2012.

[4] David Horovitz, “Wilders hails Israel ‘fighting jihad”’, Jerusalem Post, 9 June 2010.

[5] Verkiezingsprogramma PVV 2012-2017, ‘Hun Brussel, Ons Nederland’. [Dutch]

[6] Parliamentary debate Second Chamber, 17 February 2011. [Dutch]

[7] Ibid.

[8] “NIHS-bestuur: ‘PVV vormt bedreiging,’ NIW, 24 August 2012. [Dutch]

[9] Letter from The Simon Wiesenthal Center to Geert Wilders, 15 August 2012.

[10] E-mail from Geert Wilders to Rabbi Abraham Cooper, 17 August 2012.

[11] Letter from The Simon Wiesenthal Center to Geert Wilders, 19 August 2012.

[12] Charles Sanders, ‘Joodse sponsors razend op PVV’, Telegraaf, 21 augustus 2012. [Dutch]

2 Responses

  1. “Wilders’ Pro-Israel Party Favours Forbidding Ritual Slaughter…writes Manfred Gerstenfeld.”

    quite right too.
    it is barbaric as are those fundie religions that promote or excuse such barbarity.
    that includes jews, not just musturds.

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