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Dutch Government Announces Plan to Move Embassy to Jerusalem

While nation’s universities boycott Israel, Geert Wilders leads pro-Israel, anti-immigration coalition.
Geert Wilders on Election Day, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023 (Video screenshot)
Geert Wilders on Election Day, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023 (Video screenshot)

In a surprise move early Thursday, an advance draft of a coalition agreement between four right-wing Dutch political factions announced their plan to move the Dutch embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – at "an appropriate time." If and when this occurs, the Netherlands would be the most significant country to move its embassy to Jerusalem since the United States did so under former President Donald Trump in 2018.

Geert Wilders is the leader of the pro-Israel, anti-immigration Party for Freedom, or PVV, which won 37 out of 150 seats in the Dutch lower house in that nation’s Nov. 22 election. Wilders is often compared to Hungary’s Viktor Orban because of similar stances on a range of issues, including Islam and opposition to the European Union – preferring to elevate national policies over supranational ones that usurp domestic authority.

In addition to the United States, Papua New Guinea, Kosovo, Honduras and Guatemala have already moved their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. If the Dutch coalition holds and the nation’s embassy is moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the decision would be a controversial one. Officially, the EU – under the terms of the "Jerusalem Clause" – has refused to locate diplomatic missions in Jerusalem, Israel’s official capital, until its final status with regard to the Palestinians has been decided.

Wilders was alleged to have toned down his anti-Islam and anti-immigration rhetoric to help secure victory in November’s election. However, the Israel-Hamas war has roiled Dutch society, and the announcement was made with the backdrop of widespread violence carried out by anti-Israel, pro-Hamas protesters on the University of Amsterdam campus and beyond. Many see the virulence of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish feeling among largely migrant communities as evidence of both failed immigration policies and hard-left indoctrination among the Netherlands’ youth – just as in America.

It is in this climate that several Dutch and Belgian universities announced they are both severing ties with, and intend to boycott, Israeli institutions over the ongoing military operation in the Gaza Strip. The current agreements are a critical component of Israel’s academia and local industry, generating some $1 billion according to Israeli business outlet, Globes. This latest action is part of a growing European-based movement seeking to isolate and ostracize the Jewish state.

As recently as last week, Israeli academic Shai Davidai, who has been instrumental in standing up for Israeli and Jewish students’ rights on the Columbia University campus, wrote a warning in Hebrew on LinkedIn to his fellow Israeli colleagues:

"It’s hard for me to write this," he opened, "but it's important for you to know. You will be the first to be hurt by what's coming. The wheels of these processes have already started turning; and even though you may not feel them yet … they are coming. And when it happens, it’ll already be too late to do anything about it."

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