JTA — Dutch lawmaker Wim Kortenoeven resigned from his party in protest of its support for banning ritual slaughter, among other issues.
Kortenoeven announced his resignation from the Party for Freedom at a news conference last week in The Hague. Founded in 2005 by Geert Wilders, the party follows an anti-Muslim, pro-Israel policy.
“Regarding ritual slaughter, I came under intense pressure from Wilders to vote against my conscience,” Kortenoeven said.
Last year, the Party for Freedom voted in favor of a bill to ban ritual slaughter in The Netherlands, but Kortenoeven was the only party member to vote against the measure. The bill was enacted, but the Dutch Senate scrapped the ban last month.
Referring to the Party for Freedom’s stated support of individual liberties, Kortenoeven said its stance on ritual slaughter was “inconsistent.” It also backed the government’s cutback in defense spending for Israel.
Wilders’ anti-Muslim rhetoric has become the focus of international attention over the past five years. He regularly visits Israel, which he regards as the West’s “first line of defense” against Islam.
Another lawmaker from the party, Marcial Hernandez, announced his resignation along with Kortenoeven. Complaining about strong party discipline, he said North Korea’s Kim Jong-un “could learn something from Wilders.”
According to the latest polls on elections in September, the Party for Freedom will remain the third largest party with 20 seats in parliament.