Notorious anti-Muslim Dutch politician Geert Wilders has been forced to disclose that he received funds from a key player in the US Islamophobia industry.
Meanwhile the lawmaker is to face charges of inciting hatred and violence against Dutch citizens of Moroccan descent during an election campaign last year.
It has long been suspected that Wilders has received US funding but that had never been proven.
In 2013, however, the Netherlands changed its law, requiring political parties to disclose the sources of donations of more than €4,500 ($5,000).
A report (download PDF) released by the Dutch interior ministry on 23 September reveals that Wilders’ Party for Freedom – known by its Dutch initials PVV – received €18,110 ($20,000) from the David Horowitz Freedom Center in 2014.
The California-based nonprofit is run by David Horowitz.
Horowitz was named in the 2011 Center for American Progress (CAP) report “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America” as one of the most influential purveyors of anti-Muslim propaganda, along with other notorious figures including Pamela Geller and Daniel Pipes.
According to the CAP report, anti-Muslim and pro-Israel donors have pumped tens of millions of dollars into hate groups in the US in recent years.
Horowitz’s funding of Wilders is the first concrete indication that this Islamophobia network spans the globe.
Cited by mass killer
Horowitz’s organization is the sponsor of Jihad Watch, an anti-Muslim website run by Robert Spencer.
It also hosts and finances anti-Palestinian agitator Caroline Glick’s Israel Security Project.
Spencer’s anti-Muslim incitement is so extreme that it helped inspire Anders Breivik, the Norwegian who murdered dozens of his fellow citizens, mostly teenagers at a Labor Party youth camp, in July 2011, in the name of stopping the “Islamization” of Europe.
Breivik cited Spencer and his Jihad Watch blog 162 times in his manifesto justifying the mass murder. By comparison, Glick appears only once.
Wilders, while rejecting Breivik’s methods, affirmed his support for the mass killer’s “anti-Islamization” goal.
Horowitz and his sponsored programs specialize in vicious anti-Muslim defamation and incitement, frequently with an explicitly pro-Israel twist.
Spencer disseminated the false claim of a “rape epidemic” carried out by Muslims in Norway.
Horowitz spread the equally bogus claim that a cleric had authorized Muslim men to engage in anal sex for the purpose of enlarging their rectums so they could insert bombs and become suicide bombers.
In propaganda distributed on US college campuses, Horowitz has characterized Students for Justice in Palestine as “Jew-haters.”
He claimed that the Palestinian solidarity movement was part of a wave of anti-Semitism “not seen since the 1930s, when Hitler was laying plans for the final solution – the physical extermination of European Jewry.”
Horowitz also created “Islamofascism Awareness Week” to spread this type of propaganda on college campuses.
According to its 2013 filings with the US Internal Revenue Service, the David Horowitz Freedom Center paid Horowitz $588,000 in salary and compensation that year. Spencer received about $186,000.
Geert Wilders is known for spewing hatred about Islam and the Muslim community in the Netherlands.
While claiming to support free speech, he has called for the Quran to be banned.
In April, he spoke at a rally of the neo-fascist German anti-Muslim organization PEGIDA in Dresden.
He saw his popularity peak when his party won 24 of the parliament’s 150 seats in 2010, giving him a ticket to join the ruling coalition.
The PVV took 15 seats at the 2012 election.
Wilders has also given his backing to Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank.
In a recent parliamentary debate he described the refugees currently arriving in Europe as an “Islamic invasion.”
He stereotyped them as “masses of young men in their twenties with beards singing ‘Allahu Akbar’ across Europe.”
This “invasion,” he claimed, threatens Europe’s prosperity, culture and identity – words that will no doubt please his US bankroller.
Dutch prosecutors have announced that they will charge Wilders for insulting Dutch citizens of Moroccan descent during a local election campaign.
At a March 2014 rally in The Hague, Wilders asked supporters if they wanted “more or fewer Moroccans in this city or in the Netherlands.”
In a video of the incident, members of the crowd can be heard clapping and shouting “fewer, fewer, fewer” in response.
“We will take care of it,” Wilders replies.
The public prosecutor opened a criminal investigation after complaints were filed against Wilders.
As a result, he will face accusations of insulting a group of people based on race and for inciting discrimination and hatred.
His trial is expected in 2016.
Adri Nieuwhof contributed reporting and translation.