Top official at Dutch TV station quits over alleged antisemitism

Taco Dankers of Ongehoord Nederland says ‘I distance myself in the strongest terms from antisemitism’ after report alleged he heads think tank that spreads conspiracies about Jews

Taco Dankers (Screen capture: YouTube)
Taco Dankers (Screen capture: YouTube)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — A top official at a new right-wing Dutch public television channel resigned on Wednesday after reports linking him to antisemitic propaganda.

Taco Dankers, head of the supervisory board at Ongehoord Nederland (Unheard Netherlands), quit after the NRC daily said he runs a think-tank that promotes conspiracies about Jews and has made antisemitic comments in interviews.

The populist channel, described as a Dutch version of Fox News, is due to join the Netherlands’ public TV system in January 2022.

Dankers said he was leaving as “controversy has arisen around my person,” and “my staying on would harm the important mission” of the broadcaster.

“I do not recognize myself in the image that the press paints of me and I distance myself in the strongest terms from antisemitism, racism and statements that lead to polarization, discrimination and hate speech,” he added.

NRC reported on Tuesday that Dankers was the head of Gefira, a radical right-wing group that has claimed that mass migration to Europe is a Jewish plot to “dilute” the West and that the Jews were responsible for much of the Netherlands slave trade.

Dankers also gave an interview in 2017 to a far-right US magazine in which he promoted a common conspiracy theory that “the Rothschilds and the Jews (are) pushing a program” for mass immigration, NRC said.

Dutch national antisemitism coordinator Eddo Verdoner called for “consultations” with public prosecutors on the issue.

He said a recent bulletin published by Gefia was “full of pure hate.

“It’s a manifesto that could have come straight from World War II.”

The Dutch public broadcasting system NPO said it was “shocked” by the allegations about Dankers.

“Antisemitism and racism have no place in public broadcasting,” NPO said.

Ongehoord Nederland says it aims to broadcast “unheard” opinions including those that are “rejected as populist on the basis of political correctness.”

It already has more than 60,000 subscribers on YouTube.

The channel is due to receive 3.6 million euros in public funds, the NRC newspaper reported.

Media said it was aligned with the views of the far-right PVV party of Geert Wilders and the Forum for Democracy party of Covid-sceptic politician Thierry Baudet, described as the “Dutch Trump.”

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