Rotterdam party’s tweet linking ISIS and Israel jeopardizes left-wing alliance

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The left-wing alliance in Rotterdam is under pressure due to a tweet by Islam party Nida dating from 2014. In that tweet, Nida linked Zionism and the state of Israel with terrorist organization ISIS.

Nida posted the tweet to support a justice official, who said on Twitter that "ISIS was a fabrication of Zionists", according to newspaper AD. In response Nida tweeted a list of what they see as similarities between Israel and ISIS. According to Nida, they're both an "illegally created state", "funded by the west", have a "significant number of Europeans" and are "using religion as an excuse", among other things. "We say Zionism = ISIS", the party wrote, with a hashtag saying "freedom of speech". 

The tweet, which resurfaced over the weekend, shocked the Rotterdam faction of the PvdA. Faction leader Barbara Kathmann responded on Twitter: "Let one thing be clear! According to the PvdA, what Nida says here is far from acceptable. This is incomprehensible." She asked Nida for an explanation, according to AD. "I am curious about Nida's reaction."

Rotterdam's left wing parties - PvdA, SP, GroenLinks and Nida - formed a left-wing alliance under the name Links Verbond in the run up to the municipal elections on March 21st. Their goal is a progressive city government that does not include populist party Leefbaar Rotterdam. This tweet puts the alliance under pressure. 

On Sunday Nieuwsuur reported that Nida still stands behind the tweet and considers it freedom of expression. "The provocative tweet must be read and understood in the context of the public debate at that time (2014, also just after the Gaza war). We see no reason to remove that tweet", the party said according to the broadcaster.