The Jerusalem Post (Link) - Benjamin Weinthal (June 15, 2009)
Basking in the glow of his spectacular election showing in last week's European Union (EU) vote, Geert Wilders, the head of the Dutch Freedom Party, told The Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview on Friday that the EU is "one-sided and always against Israel," adding that "nothing will happen" if Israel "depends on the Europeans" to stop Iran's genocidal threats against the Jewish state.
The Freedom Party campaigned on a platform for shifting more decision-making power away from Brussels, the headquarters of the European Parliament, and back to members of the 27 EU countries. The vote was on European representation within the EU Parliament in Brussels and showed that "people are not so interested in Europe."
Wilders's Freedom Party garnered 17% of the vote, finishing second after the governing Christian Democratic Alliance of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, which tallied 19.9% of the vote.
"The Netherlands is not against Europe," he said, but "we don't want a European super state."
Terming the EU vote as a "referendum on the political state" in Holland, Wilders attributed the growing support for the Freedom Party as a call for prioritizing the domestic agenda. "Money should be spent in Holland" and not "subsidizing farmers in France and Poland," said Wilders.
Asked about the EU's posture toward Israel and forcing the Islamic Republic of Iran to halt its nuclear weapons program, Wilders said the European Parliament has "always been biased against Israel." He said he regrets "that they (EU) have a foreign minister" and argued that the "European Parliament should not be involved in foreign politics."
Wilders said Israel was the "only light of democracy in the Middle East" and that Islamic war was "against us all." The Jewish state was "more like the canary in the coal mine," he said, and stressed that an "ideological conflict" was unfolding in the region. "It is not a territorial conflict. Please forget about this crazy concept." The Islamists "see Israel as a big settlement" and if Israel "gives Territory A," said Wilders, then the other side will ask for Territory B, "such as Haifa."
Commenting on the Iranian election and Teheran's nuclear enrichment program, Wilders said it "does not matter who wins. The rhetoric at the end of the day is the same."
Wilders, who has visited Iran several times, says the country has a "friendly, young public" but the "regime is terrible." The mullah regime "really believes Israel has no right to exist" and Iran's diplomats are "fooling us" in their purported efforts to negotiate a solution to the nuclear crisis, said Wilders.
Referring to Europe's approach to clamping down on Iran's effort to attain nuclear capability, Wilders said, "Israel is more or less on its own." He termed US President Barack Obama's speech as a "talk of appeasement" and said that without a "strike back in some way" against the Iranian regime, then the international community "will pay a big price."
Citing Iran's rapidly developing missile program - including the Shihab-3 ballistic missile - Wilders warned that the rockets "cannot only reach Jerusalem but the whole world." Israel should be militarily supported if there is a showdown over Teheran's refusal to suspend its nuclear activities, he said.
When asked about commentaries in the German media labeling the Freedom Party as "extreme right" - a term typically reserved for neo-Nazi parties in Germany - Wilders said that is "totally ridiculous" and an "insult to the the Dutch people" because the party is now the "biggest party in Holland" according to polls.
The Freedom Party should be viewed within a liberal Dutch tradition, he said, noting that "we are not for cutting social welfare and are for more health care" and because of our "friendship for Israel, the extreme right demonstrates against us."
He has been attacked as a "crazy blond Zionist," and has long been the target of death threats because of his criticism of political Islam, which prompted constant police protection for him. He rejects the "strengthening of blasphemy laws" that shield Muslim minority groups from "not being insulted." A lively, open democracy should absorb robust free speech exchanges, he said.