Monday 13 July 2020

US ambassador to NL invites far-right conspiracy theorist to lunch

The ambassador also appeared on Jensen’s talk show in 2018. Photo: ANP KIPPA Robin van Lonkhuijsen

The US ambassador to the Netherlands has again come under fire, this time for  inviting notorious Dutch conspiracy theorist and tv presenter Robert Jensen to lunch.

Jensen, who is closely allied with the far-right Forum voor Democracy, campaigns against the lockdown and according to fact checkers, made 23 incorrect or unproven statements about coronavirus in a recent video.

The video, Stop de Lockdown, was taken off line by YouTube on Tuesday for violating community guidelines on Tuesday, the day Jensen met the ambassador.

In particular, Pete Hoekstra’s sign-off that it is #tijdvoorwaarheid – time for truth – aroused commentator hackles.

Earlier this month eyebrows were raised when Hoekstra appeared on the Forum voor Democratie’s own video channel in an interview with founder Thierry Baudet. Last year he was also a guest speaker at the party’s conference.

Hoekstra got off to a tricky beginning as ambassador to the Netherlands in 2018 after he was shown to have said that there are no-go zones in the Netherlands and that politicians were being set on fire. He first denied the comments as fake news and later admitted he was wrong.

The ambassador told DutchNews.nl in a statement that he is regularly approached by people across a broad spectrum of business and political views.

‘At the same time the embassy maintains relationships with a broad spectrum of individuals and interests. This gives me and the embassy a clearer insight into the Netherlands while also providing us with the opportunity to tell America’s story,’ the ambassador said.

‘That’s why I am also looking forward to upcoming (virtual) meetings with the Jonge Democraten, Jonge Socialisten, and Jongerenbeweging OPPOSITIE in the coming days.’

This article was updated on Wednesday afternoon to reflect the ambassador’s statement.

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