Commentary Magazine


Dutch Fund West Bank “Settlers” Game that Incites Anti-Semitism

From the seemingly harmless country of cycling enthusiasts, windmills, and those little wooden shoes nobody understands, comes the latest in a string of nefarious and anti-Semitic episodes, as a self-described liberal-Protestant Dutch website, VPRO, marketed an online game based on the popular board game ‘‘The Settlers of Catan.’’

Apparently, ‘‘The Settlers of the West Bank’’ was conceived and defended as ‘‘satire,’’ despite the overtly politicized idea behind the game, and the numerous, obviously insensitive features, including the ‘‘Jewish stinginess,’’ ‘‘Wailing Wall,’’ and ‘‘Anne Frank’’ cards. Allusion is also made to the ‘‘typical mercantile spirit’’ of the Jewish nation, and, according to the Jerusalem Post, the ‘‘settler’’ may also use the ‘‘Mahmoud Ahmadinejad card’’ to avoid losing resources to a terrorist and simultaneously draw resources from other players. The ‘‘Anne Frank House’’ is a ‘‘winning point’’ for the settler.

The website receives state funding from the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science, but the minister claimed the state has no authority over content. In any case, according to Dr Shimon Samuels of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, ‘‘the funding makes the Netherlands the largest financier of hate incitement among youth in Europe.’’ Liberal Dutch Jewish groups, which also protested the game, agreed.

To put this in context, remember that the Netherlands has a ban on Jewish ritual slaughter forever pending in parliament, and a rising Muslim community whose intolerance of Jews provoked a veteran Dutch politician to warn Jews to leave, for their own safety. As for the game itself, it has just been taken offline, but the damage has been done.

In case anyone thought the low-lying Netherlands could not stoop any lower, evidently the Dutch are now prepared not only to tolerate the further abuse of their domestic Jewish population, but also to disinherit Anne Frank. It was precisely this European inconstancy toward its resident Jews – friendly here, lashing out there – that contributed to the need for the Jewish state. Evidently, little has changed, but with Anne Frank – and the many others – gone, the hostility turns to that very entity which could have saved her life.

Maybe that’s playing the Anne Frank card. But it was Europe which dealt the Jews this hand.