European Jewish leaders breathed a sigh of relief this week after Dutch voters rejected the far-right challenge of Geert Wilders.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte saw his centrist party win Wednesday’s election by a clear majority, leaving Wilders in distant second, just in front of progressive and green parties.
Wilders, whose party still gained five parliamentary seats, had run on an anti-immigration platform, saying he wanted to “de-Islamise” the Netherlands, in language echoed across Europe’s new breed of far-right parties.
Rutte had earlier warned that a populist “domino effect” was taking place across the globe, but European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor said he hoped Rutte’s win would “begin the reverse – a ‘domino effect’ of mainstream parties pushing back against extremism and populism”.
Ahead of French and German elections this year, Kantor added: “Hopefully this result will be an encouraging sign to the mainstream parties in their election campaigns against populists and extremists.”Friday, March 17, 2017