The leader of the Farmers’ Defence Force, Mark van den Oever, has compared the position of farmers in the Netherlands to Jewish people during the Second World War. Who knew that complying with legislation designed to improve the nature of the Netherlands could be so oppressive?
The leader of D66, Rob Jetten, called upon Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister to condemn van den Oever’s remarks. Rutte will be breakfasting with farmers this morning. Jetten made it clear that he believes in the farmers’ right to protest and is glad Rutte and Agricultural Minister Carola Schouten are meeting with them, but said “the comparison between the position of farmers now and the situation of Jews in the 1930s and during the Holocaust is, I think, horribly poorly chosen. Completely inappropriate. We must live the memory of the terrible suffering suffered by Jews in World War II and we do not do this with this type of inappropriate comparison.” He hopes Rutte and Schouten will address these remarks this morning at the breakfast and as Van den Oever to rescind them.
“U vergeleek de manier waarop de boeren worden behandeld, begreep ik dat nou goed, met de jodenvervolging in de Tweede Wereldoorlog?”
“Nou, lijkt er wel een beetje op, of niet?”
Dan ben je erg ver heen?♂️?https://t.co/L7QsLRBVHk
— Bastiaan Rijpkema (@bastiaanrij) December 13, 2019
Van den Oever refuses to apologise or take back remarks
Van den Oever’s original remarks were as follows: “75 years ago we also saw what the decimation of a small population leads to. Today, a disgrace in history. I want to hold this mirror up to you so that you don’t say afterwards “wir haben es nicht gewusst”.” He was then asked by a reporter if he was comparing farmers to Holocaust victims, and said in response “it looks a bit like it”. Shortly after making the statement, Van den Oever refused to take back his remarks or apologise in any way. “Even now there is a small population that is systematically driven into a corner and driven out of its country. Big words are sometimes needed.” Big words were what Van den Oever received in response to his statement, with other farmers’ organisations distancing themselves from the Farmers’ Defence Force. The director of Kamp Vught, another farmer’s organisation, Jeroen van den Eijnde, said “This statement testifies to zero percent sense, zero percent historical awareness and zero percent empathy. How stupid can you be? This clearly does no good to the farmer’s business.”
Een schandalige vergelijking die alle perken te buiten gaat. Hier nemen we heel nadrukkelijk afstand van. Het mag helder zijn dat dit ver afstaat van alle hardwerkende boeren en tuinders waar ik me samen met mijn collega's elke dag voor inzet. pic.twitter.com/WOSQ0cSaRR
— Hans Van den Heuvel (@HeuvelVdHans) December 14, 2019
Farmers protests in the Netherlands
Should Rutte have met with these farmers this morning? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Feature image: Cekay/Wikimedia Commons