Security upped at anti-Jihad conference following alert
Islamist groups with suspected terror links "displayed an interest" in an anti-jihad conference held in Jerusalem on Sunday, Dutch legislator Geert Wilders told Haaretz yesterday.
In the interview, Wilders also said that he is considering forming an alliance with Belgium's far-right Vlaams Belang party, which he has hitherto shunned. Belgian Jews have also shunned Vlaams Belang.
The controversial politician said that Dutch security services had learned of the Islamist groups' interest, but said he could not elaborate.
However, he added, the news resulted in an increased security detail during his visit to Israel: He was surrounded by eight bodyguards at all times, whereas on previous visits, he was accompanied by only one or two.
"This is the first time I do not feel safer in Israel than in Holland," said Wilders, who has received countless death threats from Muslim extremists.
Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad, who organized the symposium, confirmed that Wilders had told him of the threat in advance and said appropriate security measures were taken.
Wilders said the threat was connected to a short anti-jihad film he released in February. The 15-minute film, which was screened at the conference, mostly contains hate sermons by imams and images from jihadist attacks, and has provoked Muslim fury.
"My security situation has deteriorated lately," he said. "The security services informed me that the riskiest time is a few months after the film's release."
Wilders also revealed that if his Party for Freedom - which occupies nine of the Dutch parliament's 150 seats - runs in European parliamentary elections, he may join Vlaams Belang to form a larger right-wing bloc. Wilders had previously said he would not consider such an alliance.
Belgium's Jewish leadership has boycotted Vlaams Belang, citing its "strong anti-Semitic characteristics," and in an interview with Haaretz last year, Wilders cited this in explaining his decision to distance himself from the party.
But now, he said, "there are different sounds coming from Vlaams Belang. Some people say they have changed, even from the Jewish community.
"That they have changed their tune. Others say they haven't. I have to look into it and talk to people and study it more. I'm not saying it is impossible."
However, he added, "we will not ally ourselves with parties like that of France's Jean-Marie Le Pen."
As reported by Haaretz last week, sources in Vlaams Belang said that Eldad had invited their party's leader, Filip Dewinter, to visit Jerusalem next year. However, Eldad denied this.