Thierry Baudet loses initial court battle over Covid, Holocaust comparison
A judge in Amsterdam ordered Thierry Baudet to remove statements from social media in which he compared the Cabinet's coronavirus measures to the Holocaust. The Member of Parliament and leader of the far right FvD party must comply with the preliminary injunction within 48 hours. The case was heard on Wednesday after a lawsuit was filed by four Jewish survivors of World War II, the Jewish and Israel advocacy group CIDI, and the CJO, a Jewish lobbyist organization based in Amsterdam.
The judge also ruled that Baudet may no longer use the images of the Holocaust in the context of the coronavirus political debate. The judge upheld the claims of the plaintiffs and declared Baudet's relevant Twitter posts to be illegal.
His messages were deemed "unnecessarily offensive" towards the victims of the Holocaust, and their surviving family members, the judge ruled. "The right to freedom of expression for a representative of the people is not unlimited." The judge said a fine of 25,000 euros will be imposed for each day the tweets remain online once the deadline passes.
She ruled that freedom of expression comes with obligations and responsibilities. For example, statements to others should not be unnecessarily offensive or infringe on their fundamental rights. The judge ruled that Baudet had not taken this sufficiently into account. She issued a ruling in the case on the same day it was heard because she saw that the case was causing social unrest.
Baudet made the statements in November via social media. He said, in one instance, that unvaccinated people "are the new Jews, those looking away are the new Nazis and NSB members." The judge ruled that the comparison is flawed. "There was no possibility for Jews to gain access with a vaccination or test," said the judge.
Baudet also placed three photos side by side, of a child with a Star of David waiting for deportation, a photo Baudet suggested was of an unvaccinated child unable to attend a Sinterklaas party, and a photo of a child being dried off outside of a swimming pool building after swimming lessons.
The Jewish organizations called the comparisons deeply insulting and unnecessarily hurtful to Holocaust victims, survivors and next of kin.
Immediately after the ruling, Forum for Democracy (FvD) announced via Twitter that it would "of course" appeal. "Freedom of expression is being restricted by the judge. A totally hallucinatory statement," according to the party.
Reporting by ANP