A judge on Wednesday ordered Dutch populist lawmaker Thierry Baudet to take down four tweets in which he drew comparisons between coronavirus lockdown measures and the treatment of Jews under the Nazi regime, saying they “instrumentalised” the suffering of Jews.
The leader of the far-right Forum for Democracy (FvD) party, which has five seats in the Dutch parliament, was told to delete several social media posts within 48 hours.
Two Jewish organizations and a group of Holocaust survivors went to court in Amsterdam to demand the tweets be removed, describing them as “seriously insulting and unnecessarily hurtful to the murdered victims of the Holocaust, survivors and relatives.”
Among the tweets was one that called people who are not vaccinated against the coronavirus “the new Jews", while "the exclusionists who look the other way are the new Nazis and NSBers". NSB is the acronym for the National Socialist Movement, the Dutch branch of the Nazi party.
Baudet also published two photos side by side — one of a child unable to go to the feast of St Nicholas, popular among Dutch children, and the second of a boy from the wartime Lodz ghetto in Poland wearing a Star of David before his deportation.
In another post he shared a photo of the Buchenwald concentration camp along with the comment: "How is it POSSIBLE not to see how history repeats itself".
“The comparison you made in the contested posts goes beyond what can can be justified in the interests of robust public debate,” the judge hearing the case said. The judge's name was not immediately available.
“By equating in the messages, without any nuance, the situation of unvaccinated citizens with the fate of the Jews in the 1930s and ’40s, you make a comparison, as I said earlier, that is factually wrong and you wrongly use, in other words you instrumentalise, the human suffering of Jews in the Holocaust and the memories of them,” the judge added.
The court ordered Baudet to remove the tweets from his Twitter feed within 48 hours. If he does not, he must pay 25,000 euros ($28,000) each day that they remain online. He has also been barred from using images of the Holocaust as part of the debate surrounding health measures.
In a reaction on Twitter, Baudet called the judgment “Insane, incomprehensible".
"We are angry and combative. And of course we will appeal,” he tweeted.
The Jewish groups that started the civil case against Baudet welcomed the ruling, saying in a statement that it “made an important contribution to indicating the limits of the public debate".