Right-wing broadcaster Ongehoord Nederland linked to anti-Semitic website
One of the main members of the right-wing broadcaster Ongehoord Nederland (ON) runs a website that regularly publishes anti-Semitic propaganda, the NRC has revealed.
Taco Dankers is chairman of the supervisory board of ON, which hopes to start broadcasting on Dutch public networks in January after crossing the threshold of 50,000 paying subscribers.
But the 56-year-old is also editor-in-chief of Gefira, a research foundation that describes itself as “part of a pan-European think tank” focused on the EU, the legacy of the 2008 financial crisis and “the urgency of jihadist networks enabled by the modern media”.
According to the newspaper, Gefira’s online newsletters and social media posts contain allegations that mass migration in Europe is a Jewish plot to “”dilute the western community‘claim that Jews were responsible for 50% of the slave trade in the Netherlands, and attack a global financial elite that’ spawns economies and… crumbles them ‘.
Eddo Verdoner, national anti-Semitism coordinator, told the NRC he would discuss “pure hatred” on Gefira’s website with the prosecution and called for “direct action”.
He described a recent edition of the Gefira Bulletin, reserved for paid subscribers, as “a manifesto that could have come out of World War II” full of “Nazi rhetoric … which can lead to violence”.
Verdoner was appointed in April by Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus, who said anti-Semitism had become more prominent due to “the increasing use of the internet and social media and conspiracy theories around Covid- 19 “.
Media Minister Arie Slob tentatively approved ON’s request to produce programs for Dutch mainstream channels in July, but warned that there would be “no place to broadcast unreliable news and disinformation “.
ON’s best-known founder is former war correspondent Arnold Karskens, who said the channel was intended as a counterweight to mainstream media, focusing on issues such as immigration and the EU.
“We feel a moral responsibility to responsibly channel the criticisms that abound in the Netherlands,” Karskens said when he unveiled the project in 2019.
ON is closely linked to far-right parties such as Geert Wilders’ PVV and Forum voor Democratie and has been described as a Dutch version of Fox News.
Dankers ‘messages and bulletins clash with Karskens’ own views on Israel. As a self-proclaimed Nazi hunter, he said ON would take a more pro-Israel line than other Dutch media. In 2019, he lodged a police complaint against the NOS Journaal for alleged anti-Semitic reporting, but the prosecution refused to take the broadcaster to court.
Neither Dankers nor Karskens would comment on the NRC report.
Update Wednesday afternoon: Taco Dankers resigned as head of ON’s supervisory board, saying ‘I don’t see myself in the press image of me and I distance myself in the strongest terms of anti-Semitism, racism and statements that lead to polarization, discrimination and hate speech . ‘
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