Although there was plenty of news on the BBC about Geert Wilders last year when he was banned from entering the UK, now that he’s on trial in the Netherlands, the BBC has gone quiet.
One would have thought there would be much material to interest the world’s foremost news organ in this story. For a start the 15 defence witnesses that the court has disallowed, leaving only three, and causing Mr Wilders’s supporters to wonder whether the trial can have a fair outcome.
Those of us who are hurt, offended or frightened by anti-Semitism should always apply a test whenever negative feelings about Islam overcome us.
We have to ask ourselves whether our negative thought is rational and based on a genuine concern, or just a phobia-like distaste, a tarring with the same brush, a generalisation based on myth and mystery as per anti-Semitism.
While we mustn’t scapegoat groups of people, dehumanise them or blame them for all the evils in the world, surely we can criticise what needs criticising, and not be afraid to make value judgments when necessary.
At the time of writing, most references to Geert Wilders on the BBC website are dated last year; one by Mark Mardell actually puts his case in a reasonably evenhanded manner.
Many people distance themselves from Geert Wilders’s campaign, but there is considerable and undeniable logic in what he is saying, which should be reported and given a fair hearing. So for that reason I think the BBC should not only be reporting the trial, but also discussing the issues it brings up.