AMSTERDAM (JTA) — A right-wing Dutch senator-elect said that jokes she posted on Twitter about the Holocaust and Jews were merely to provoke with sarcasm, not out of anti-Semitism.
Annabel Nanninga, who represents the Forum for Democracy party on the City Council of Amsterdam, made the jokes years ago — including one from 2009 about Ukrainian war criminal John Demjanjuk “hitting the gas” upon seeing Jews because “old habits die hard.”
The jokes were reported in the media this month because the Forum for Democracy unexpectedly emerged in Tuesday’s regional elections as the largest party in the Netherlands’ two most populous provinces. Some critics of Forum for Democracy on the left say it is a far-right or fascist movement, though others dispute the claims.
Nanninga will represent the party as a senator following the elections.
A former journalist who as a politician has protested violence against Dutch Jews and anti-Israel bias, Nanninga wrote in a column last week on The Post Online that the tweets were “cynical jokes about bans on ‘Mein Kampf,’” Adolf Hitler’s manifesto. She opposes censorship of books as a matter of principle, she added, conceding the jokes may have been “tasteless.”
Forum for Democracy “and I are friends of Israel and feel an affinity with the Jewish community,” she wrote.
Several Dutch Jews defended her in the Dutch media.
Last year, Nanninga was featured in a campaign video that for the first time in Dutch politics focused on security for Dutch Jews and protested violence against them.