Dutch lawmaker: Geert Wilders shocked Jewish supporters in U.S.

THE HAGUE (JTA) — A former ally of Dutch anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders said American Jews who supported him were “shocked” by his plans to ban ritual slaughter.

Wim Kortenoeven, a lawmaker who recently left Wilders’ Party for Freedom, told JTA he had met with representatives of the Anti-Defamation League, The Zionist Organization of America and the Orthodox Union.

“We are talking about organizations that may have helped Wilders out by organizing fundraising events  here and there, and perhaps with some publicity,” Kortenoeven said.  

In reporting on Kortenoeven’s talks, the Dutch daily De Telegraaf published an article titled  “Wilders’ Jewish sponsors are furious.” Kortenoeven said he never used the word ‘sponsor.’ All the Jewish organizations mentioned denied donating funds to Wilders or his party.

Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, had “a favorable outlook on Wilders” before meeting Kortenoeven, the lawmaker said. He added Klein was “shocked and dissapointed” to learn of Wilders’ positions on ritual slaughter.

Wilders’ Party for Freedom voted in favor of a ban on ritual slaughter last year despite Wilders’ oft-stated commitment to “defending Judeo-Christian traditions.” The Dutch Senate scrapped the ban in June.

According to government figures, 1.2 million animals undergo Muslim ritual slaughter in the Netherlands annually, compared to 1,000-2,000 which are slain through shechitah, or kosher slaughter.

Wilders, a staunch advocate of Israel, has compared the Koran to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and has called the Muslim prophet Mohammed “the devil.”

ZOA Executive Director David Drimer told JTA: “It is highly unlikely, if not impossible, that anyone officially connected to the ZOA raised money on Mr. Wilders’ behalf. Mr. Wilders’ support for a ban on ritual slaughter is disturbing but does not fall within the ZOA’s mission.”

Wilders told JTA that Kortenoeven’s comments were “nonsense and agitation by a spiteful former member” of the party.

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