FDF leader says Jews should not take his comments personally
Mark van den Oever, the leader of Farmers Defense Force (FDF), does not regret his controversial statements, where he compared the situation of farmers now with that of Jews during World War II. But he would "be sorry if people feel hurt by it," he told Nieuwsuur on Saturday.
Van den Oever said that Jews who may feel hurt should not take his comments personally. "Because it is not intended for the person. I do not regret my statements," the FDF leader said.
An interview with Van den Oever appeared in the Volkskrant on Saturday morning. In it, he argued that farmers are being decimated by the Cabinet's agricultural policy, as was the case with Jews during World War II. He sees the government's nitrogen plans as an attack on a population group. The FDF leader also believes that farmers are discriminated against, just like Jews before and during World War II.
The interview provoked many reactions. Justice Minister Dilan Yesilgöz and Minister Christianne van der Wal (Nature and Nitrogen), among others, found the statements inappropriate and said they went too far.
Many farmers in the Netherlands oppose the new plan to cut nitrogen emissions that Van der Wal presented recently. Under the plan, farmers would be subject to buyouts and livestock reductions to curb their farms' emissions.
This is not the only controversial stance the FDF has taken in the past week. On June 10, angry farmers visited Van der Wal's home in protest, where they spoke with her, presented her with a letter of dismissal and dumped a hay bale on her front lawn. While many MPs and farmer's association LTO condemned the means of protest, the FDF supported it. Van den Oever called it a "top action" and did not rule out the possibility of such a demonstration happening again.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times