If Tom Trento is truly concerned about standing with Israel, he should reconsider his allies.
On Aug. 11, Trento, founder and president of the United West, featured Dutch politician Geert Wilders on his web show to discuss the importance of standing with Israel against Hamas. In reality, both men used the conflict to push the anti-Muslim agenda that runs through their work.
Wilders’ far-Right Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) has been continually criticized for it’s relationship to Nazi imagery, making Wilders an odd choice to speak up in support of Israel. Furthermore, Wilders is also currently allied with political parties across Europe that are long rooted in anti-Semitism.
But like his host, Wilders, who heads the PVV, seemed to forget all of that during Trento’s show.
During a July demonstration in The Hague, pro-Palestinian participants used Nazi imagery in their protest of Israel’s assault on Gaza, leading Dutch police to rightfully crack down on such incitement. “It was shocking,” Wilders told Trento. “There were people with Swastikas, with Nazi flags moving around in the streets of The Hague.” Wilders, though, feigned surprise to see such shows of anti-Semitism, something his own party has been guilty of in that very city.
Of course, both Trento and Wilders failed to mention this during their chat.
Let’s flashback to 2011, though, when Wilders became embroiled in controversy after a flag associated with the Dutch Nazi party was spotted hanging in the PVV’s parliamentary office in The Hague. The flag in question is the Prinsen flag, a symbol synonymous with the notorious Dutch national socialist party of the 1930’s. It has since been removed. And just last year, four members of PVV wore badges with the Prinsen insignia in the Dutch Parliament itself. This was after Wilders was singled out by another Member of Parliament after one of PPV’s supporters was seen waving the Prinsen flag and giving Nazi salutes at a party rally.
As if the Dutch Nazi flags weren’t enough, Wilders is also close allies with Marine Le Pen who is currently the president of France’s Front National, a political party with a long history of promoting anti-Semitism and fascism. Le Pen has previously called for Jewish yamakas to be banned in public places. Le Pen is considered tame when compared to her father and Front National founder, Jean-Marie. According to the Anti-Defamation League, Mr. Le Pen has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and referred to Nazi concentration camps during World War II as a “mere detail in history.”
Earlier this month, Wilders was dropped from a petition combating anti-Semitism in the Netherlands. His name was removed from the document after he released a statement criticizing the Dutch prime minister for not recognizing Islam and Muslim immigration as being the root cause for an increase in anti-Jewish sentiments.
“Close the borders! Tackle Islam!” he advised.
Back in March, Wilders was widely derided, with some hyperbolically comparing him to Hitler, after he echoed the famous 1943 speech of Nazi propagandist Josef Goebbels in order to push for less immigration (especially from Morocco) into the Netherlands.
As for Trento, he has defaulted back to the kind of content that failed to secure funding for his original show that was cancelled in December: That is, feature any guest on his show as an expert as long as they echo his anti-Muslim agenda. By providing Wilders a platform, it’s clear Trento does not care about combating anti-Semitism but rather aims to capitalize on complex conflicts for his own personal gain.