Outrage over "fascist" city council motion blaming immigrants for Hague housing shortage
A motion filed by the PVV in The Hague earlier this week, which blamed the housing shortage in The Hague on immigrants, caused a storm of criticism on social media over the past days. The motion was called racist and fascist and compared to WWII-era conditions that led to Jewish people being evicted from their homes..
A big part of the commotion surrounded the fact that the motion was supported by the VVD, part of the city council in The Hague and Prime Minister Mark Rutte's party, Omroep West reports.
The motion was filed during a city council debate on Wednesday evening and was largely not discussed. The PVV motion stated that the housing shortage is "due to an enormous population growth of mainly (underprivileged) immigrants" and that this growth must be counteracted by municipal policy.
The next day, a storm of criticism erupted on social media. Rabbi Loy van de Kamp wrote about the motion on Twitter: "A shame for the city where 11 thousand Jewish residents were deported 80 years ago, partly because of words like these."
City council parties GroenLinks and PvdA spoke out against it on the social media platform. The PvdA called the motion "filth". "It's wrong on all fronts", local PvdA leader Mikal Tseggai said.
GroenLinks city councilor Serpil Ates said that "a line has been crossed", calling the motion "open racism". The Haagse Stadspartij also called the motion "racist". NIDA called it a "fascist motion", with party leader Adeel Mahmood saying that "rock bottom has been reached".
D66 parliamentarian Jan Paternotte called on Rutte and the VVD to distance themselves from the motion. "The PVV makes a proposal that you can only summarize as 'fewer, fewer'," Paternotte said, referring the statements by PVV leader Geert Wilders that got him prosecuted for hate speech. The MP also wanted to know how the PVV and VVD planned to keep immigrants out. "A city wall? Barriers at Wassenaar and Voorburg? Sterilization? Raising the dunes near Scheveningen."
In a statement, the VVD said that the party "does not exclude population groups", according to the broadcaster. "We support the housing vision of the office and voted in favor of it yesterday," the party said. "We also supported a motion (by the PVV) to focus on limiting population growth. We are not enthusiastic about the choice of words in the motion, but setting limits to population growth is one of the solutions to the problems in the housing market. We believe that we must take control of that growth."
Thursday night, Cemil Yilmaz of local party Nida likened those who supported the motion to the "Brownshirts," the nickname for the Nazi Party's first paramilitary branch. Yilmaz said he was speaking out for "all those people who yesterday could not defend themselves against the racist crap in the motion, and the brown shirts of the PVV and their friends from Groep de Mos and the VVD."
"I refuse to let myself be characterized as a racist and a Brownshirt. I wanted to voice our concerns about the city's unhindered growth. This is just outrageous," said VVD city council member Jan Pronk.
PVV member Sebastian Kruis also said it was "completely out of order" to liken the PVV to the Nazi party.
Mayor Jan van Zanen said that it was disappointing such harsh words were being flung. "Don't make it worse than it is," he said during an interview. "I'm not going to respond to every rejected motion," he continued. "You can have different opinions, that is part of a democracy, but don't make it worse than it is."