Jewish groups criticise Wilders’ invitation to speak at Capitol Hill
American Jewish groups and two Muslim politicians have criticised the decision by two Republicans to invite anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders to speak on Capitol Hill.
Wilders was invited to speak on 29 April by outspoken Republican Louie Gohmert and to address meeting of the Conservative Opportunity Society by another Republican, Steve King.
The American Anti Defamation League, set up in 1913 to combat anti-semitism, said it was ‘deeply distressed’ that two members of Congress were hosting Wilders.
Providing a platform for a man who is ‘practically an international symbol of anti-Muslim hatred not only lends him credibility, it ill-serves the goal of having a Congress that lives up to America’s ideals of tolerance,’ said ADL national director Abraham Foxman.
‘King and Gohmert should reconsider the invitation, given this individual’s established record as one of the most notorious bigots in the world.’ Members of the National Jewish Democratic Council also condemned the invitation. ‘It would be bad enough that King and Gohmert allow Wilders, who has proven to be a xenophobic individual, to even attend their event, but to actively invite him is beyond the pale, ’the NJDC said.
The condemnation by Jewish groups is notable because Wilders is a staunch supporter of Israel.
Two Muslim members of the House of Representatives wrote to the government earlier this month urging it to deny Wilders entry to the US. ‘We respectfully request that the US government deny Mr Wilders entry due to his participation in inciting anti-Muslim aggression and violence,’ wrote Keith Ellison and André Carson. 'Mr Wilders’ policy agenda is centered on the principle that Christian culture is superior to other cultures.’
The Representatives called on officials to stop Wilders under legislation which allows foreign leaders responsible for severe violations of religious freedom to be banned. At the time of publication it was unclear how many people had attended meetings.