Social affairs minister and deputy prime minister Lodewijk Asscher has launched a strong attack on the anti-immigration PVV for allying itself with anti-semitism.
The comments came during a parliamentary debate in which Asscher was asked about a photo showing Front National founder Jean-Marie le Pen making a ‘quenelle’ – a gesture seen as a modern variation of the Hitler salute.
Asscher condemned the growing popularity of the gesture and then said he did not understand why the PVV, which takes a strongly pro-Israel line, was working together with Le Pen’s party.
PVV parliamentarian Joram van Klaveren said the Front National’s current leader, Marine Le Pen, had distanced herself from such remarks and gestures.
The PVV has nothing to do with anti-semitism, Van Klaveren said several times.
Le Pen senior remains honorary chairman and is leading the Front National’s European election campaign.
‘The PVV has nothing to do with anti-semitism but it does deal with anti-semites,’ Asscher retorted. The PVV works with people who use the quenelle and are photographed making the gesture, he said.
PVV leader Geert Wilders is hoping to put together a coalition of anti-EU parties to fight the European elections in May. These include the Front National, Austria’s FPO and the Belgian nationalists Vlaams Belang.
Dutch Jewish groups said last year they are concerned about the PVV-Front National alliance.