A Jewish watchdog group has criticized Dutch right-wing populist politician Geert Wilders for working with ultranationalist parties in other countries that have been labeled as anti-Semitic, such as France's National Front and Austria's Freedom Party.
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"He has always said he will not join up with the extreme right but now this is happening," Dutch News quoted Esther Voet, the director of the Hague-based Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, as saying. "It is a slippery slope."
Wilders told the Telegraaf he is "not afraid" of being lumped together with the extreme right and refused further comment, said Dutch News, adding that Wilders is hoping to form an alliance of anti-EU parties, including the French National Front and Austrian Freedom Party, after the European elections later this month.
The report said Wilders has taken a strongly pro-Israel line in the past and has a good relationship with U.S. Jewish groups. Reuters reported in 2012 that Wilders, who has spoken out against non-Western immigration and bans on the construction of mosques, has received funding from the Philadelphia-based pro-Israeli think tank the Middle East Forum.
Wilders' Party for Freedom had previously been stopped from appearing in photographs with National Front members because it would damage the Dutch party, Dutch News said. It said Wim Kortenoeven and Louis Bontes, legislators representing the party, confirmed that Wilders has changed his position.
The National Front party suspended one of its candidates in September for posting anti-Israel photos and anti-Semitic statements on his Facebook page, and a Freedom Party politician posted a cartoon on Facebook in 2012 that reprised anti-Semitic themes.