Fundamentalist farmer compares farmers to Jews during Holocaust

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.

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.”

Farmers protests in the Netherlands

There have been regular protests by the farmers in the Netherlands in response to regulations which would have them close farms and buy new equipment to stop the damage from the nitrogen crisis.

Should Rutte have met with these farmers this morning? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Feature image: Cekay/Wikimedia Commons

Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.

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