Yesterday, the Belgian establishment newspaper De Standaard published a double interview with the Dutch politician Geert Wilders and the Flemish politician Jean-Marie Dedecker.
De Standaard: There are also large differences between the two of you. Mr Dedecker is opposed to prohibiting things, whereas you [Geert Wilders] want to prohibit all kinds of things, starting with the Koran. […]
Wilders: That I want to prohibit all sort of things is complete nonsense. I only want to prohibit things to defend our rule of law. I am still enough of a liberal to prohibit things only in the most extreme cases. I do not like to prohibit books at all. You will never hear me advocate prohibiting other books.
De Standaard: Do you also feel that our rule of law is threatened in this way, Mr Dedecker?
Dedecker: I feel threatened by the fact that the separation between church and state is diminishing. But I have no existential angst. There are two major phobias at present in our society: Islamophobia and climatophobia. Both are being promoted.
(To Wilders) You think that Eurabia is a danger. I disagree. Our enlightenment values are strong enough to withstand this. However, we have to wake up. What the politically correct Left has done to our society explains our [electoral] success.
Wilders: If you say that we must wake up, this means that the leftist political elite is sleeping at this moment. That is exactly the reason why our enlightenment ideas do not prevail. Because those leftist politicians, who have become ever more dependent on [the votes of] immigrant groups, will sleep on.
Dedecker: I think prohibiting the Koran is a form of overacting. We shouldn’t prohibit any books: neither Mein Kampf nor the Koran. The Bible, the Thora and the Koran are but fairy tale books. That is what you have to dare tell the people. If religion manifests itself as collective madness, then we must dare to oppose it and start the debate.
Wilders: The Koran is a diabolic book rather than a fairy tale book. It is also, unlike the other books which you refer to – and which I would not call fairy tale books, but it is your right to do so – a book from which people draw inspiration today to commit terrorist acts and exclude women and homosexuals from my community and execrate the separation of church and state. Fairy tale books do not do such things. Fairy tale books concern the Efteling or Walibi [Dutch and Belgian theme parks; equivalents of Disneyland]
Dedecker: I am opposed to the wearing of headscarfs by civil servants, I am opposed to separate swimming hours [for men and women] in swimming pools, but is this a reason to prohibit the Koran? On the contrary, I am one hundred percent behind our own values. And I am as much criticised for this as you. […]
[To Wilders] Up to a certain extent you are also a Zionist. I find that very strange of you.
Wilders: A Zionist? What next?
Dedecker: The way you always defend Israel – as a matter of fact this happens much more in the Netherlands than in Belgium. We both have visited Israel and the Palestinian territories. I consider Zionism and Islamism as similar phenomena. You constantly defend Israel although you know what is being inflicted there on the Palestinians. Do you do that perhaps because Zionism is the counterpart of Islamism?
Wilders: It is interesting that you say this. Zionist goes perhaps a bit far, but I am, indeed, a convinced defender of Israel. Because Israel is an oasis of democracy and Western values in the Middle East. I have also been in other countries in the region, from Syria via Iran to Afghanistan: all these countries are dictatorships. Israel is the only country where a majority in parliament can dismiss a minister – as members of parliament you and I should be able to appreciate that.
I am biased in favour of Israel. Is that so bad? No, I am even proud of it. You have to make up your own mind, but you, too, should be proud of every democracy in the world.
Dedecker: You are partly right. But that does not justify Israel’s apartheid policies – and that is exactly what I reject. I call Israel a kippah democracy.
Wilders: I have a different opinion. Palestinians who are living in Gaza and on the West Bank at this moment, could very well move to the other side of the Jordan – to Jordan or other areas. There is space and place enough there and many Palestinians already live there.
De Standaard: So you also favour ethnic cleansing?
Wilders: That is not ethnic cleansing. Israel can justly claim those regions. Moreover we do not have to harm anyone, but I see what happens today: Hamastan, governs Gaza.
Dedecker: Why should the Palestinians have to go to Jordan? The Palestinians are the outcasts of the Middle East: they are not welcome anywhere. These are people who were driven from their territory on the basis of an international treaty and pseudo property rights granted by the Thora or the Bible. Property rights on the basis of fairy tale books.
Wilders: For me the security of Israel as a democracy prevails on the rights of a group who is to a large extent guilty of terror and corruption. There is no democratic Palestinian authority – that is the sad truth. I am convinced that the attacks which Israel suffers from radical Islam are attacks aimed at us.
Dedecker: Isn't it the opposite? Research shows that three fourth of the suicide terrorists are motivated by the fate of the Palestinians. If we solve that situation, would it not lead to a safer world for all of us? Meanwhile we have to spend billions and billions on our own security.