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Court in the Netherlands orders far-right politician to delete tweets comparing those avoiding the COVID-19 vaccine to Jews during the Holocaust

28.12.2021 15:20
Thierry Baudet (PHOTO: Rickazio, Wikimedia Commons)
Thierry Baudet (PHOTO: Rickazio, Wikimedia Commons)

A court in the Netherlands has ordered Thierry Baudet, a far-right politician, to delete four tweets in which he compared the measures being taken to combat the COVID-19 pandemic with the way Jewish people were treated by the Nazi regime. Baudet was given 48 hours to comply.

If he failed to do so, he would have to pay EUR 25 000 for each day the tweets remain available through the Internet, the Associated Press reports. Baudet deleted the content, but said he will appeal the verdict.  

Two Jewish organizations sued in an Amsterdam court to demand the removal of the tweets, which they called "seriously insulting and unnecessarily harmful toward the murdered victims, Holocaust survivors and their relatives". In one of the tweets, Baudet alleged that "unvaccinated people are the new Jews and those who are averting their gaze from their exclusion are the new Nazis". 
 
The politician also published a photograph purporting to be of a present-day, unvaccinated child who had not been allowed to attend a St. Nicholas celebration alongside a WWII-era photograph of a boy from the ghetto for Jews in Łódź, Poland forced to wear a Star of David prior to his deportation to a Nazi concentration camp. The Jewish organizations also critized Baudet's tweeting of a photograph of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp with the commentary:  "How is it possible that you all still don't see how history is repeating itself?"

"The comparisons you have made in these controversial posts cross the line of what can be justified in the interest of a solid public debate," said the judge who reviewed the case. "By comparing, without any nuance, the situation of those citizens who are not vaccinated with the fate of Jewish people during the 1930s and 1940s, you have made a comparison that, as I already said, is factually incorrect. You are using the human suffering of the Jewish people during the Holocaust and the remembrance of that history incorrectly - in other words, you are abusing it."

The politician called the verdict "crazy and incomprehensible." He tweeted:  "We are angry and fighting. Naturally we will appeal."

Baudet is the chair of the eurosceptic Forum for Democracy (FvD) party in the Netherlands, a populist, right-wing group with five seats in the lower house of Parliament. The Jewish groups who began the civil proceedings against him welcomed the verdict and said in a press release that "it significantly contributes to defining the boundaries of public debate." 

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Antisemitismus, COVID-19, Populism, Sociální sítě



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