US ambassador at odds with modern Netherlands

Pete Hoekstra, the Trump appointed US ambassador to the Netherlands, is getting some awkward publicity.

Image result for pete hoekstra ambassador appointed

Stuff:  Donald Trump’s new ambassador to the Netherlands caught lying about his own lies

A Dutch journalist has asked new US Ambassador Pete Hoekstra why he said there were “no go” areas in the Netherlands, where radical Muslims are setting cars and politicians on fire.

Hoekstra denied it, and called the claim “fake news”.

A standard Trumpian response.

The report cut to a video clip of Hoekstra at a 2015 conference hosted by the David Horowitz Freedom Center saying:

“The Islamic movement has now gotten to a point where they have put Europe into chaos. Chaos in the Netherlands, there are cars being burned, there are politicians that are being burned.”

“And yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands”.

When the reporter pressed, Hoekstra denied using the term “fake news”, which he’d uttered moments before.

“I didn’t call that fake news,” he said. “I didn’t use the words today. I don’t think I did.”

The odds of Hoekstra being controversial were always high.

Though Hoekstra was born in the Netherlands, his family immigrated to Michigan when we was a toddler.

A bit ironic given:

He served as a Republican congressman for a decade-and-a-half, eventually chairing the US House Intelligence Committee.

In that time, he adopted several positions that are at odds with core Dutch values. Hoekstra is opposed to same-sex marriage and gay rights. In the US Congress, he voted repeatedly to limit women’s rights to abortion. He supports the death penalty, and has argued passionately that refugees are a threat to European security.

Hoekstra has given several talks at the anti-Islam American Freedom Alliance, which has also hosted Dutch far right leader Geert Wilders. In 2015, Hoekstra blamed a “secret jihad” for the “chaos” in the Netherlands.

So he was always going to be controversial as an ambassador.

After Trump announced Hoekstra’s appointment, Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant observed that Trump “put a Dutchman in the Netherlands – but it is a Dutchman from the Netherlands of the ’50s”.

Of the appointment, liberal politician Sophie in’t Veld said: “We are looking forward with interest to co-operating with Mr Hoekstra.

We will certainly remind him his roots lie in a country that values tolerance, equality and inclusion … we expect the representative of our friend and ally the United States to fully and wholly respect our values and to show that respect in all his acts and words.”

Hoekstra has apologised, sort of.

He only refers to “remarks in 2015” without qualification, defends being “passionate about confronting the global threat of terrorism”,  and “regret the exchange” shows more concern about being embarrassed, with a very lame apology tacked on.

It’s a Clayton’s ‘I’m sorry I got found out’ sort of non-apology.

The appointment of Hoekstra is another example of jobs for loyal supporters of Trump, which is at odds with the ‘drain the swamp’ goal, unless Trump meant ‘drain the swamp and refill it with my own lackeys.

Detroit Free Press: President Donald Trump nominates U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra to be Dutch ambassador

President Donald Trump on Monday evening nominated former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of west Michigan to be his ambassador to the Netherlands, selecting for the job to a key supporter in a state that helped elect Trump.

During the 2016 campaign, Hoekstra became a key surrogate for Trump and his outsider bid to become president, appearing on cable TV in support of him and introducing him at a large rally at the Freedom Hill Amphitheater in  Sterling Heights the weekend before the election last November.

In announcing Hoekstra’s nomination the White House praised him as “a prominent politician” and said he “continues to be active on public policy issues and in business affairs as a consultant, researcher, and writer.”

Hoekstra has a bit to learn about diplomacy.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph:

“The administration made a wise decision by picking Pete, with his long-established Dutch roots and heritage,” He is exceptionally qualified and will make a tremendous ambassador. Pete’s always had a passion for public service and a way of connecting with people that will continue the fruitful relationship we’ve long-enjoyed with The Netherlands.”

His way of connecting with people in The Netherlands needs a bit of refinement.

30 Comments

  1. David

     /  December 24, 2017

    Just as well he is the American representative in Holland and not the other way around then. If the Dutch are getting a bit sensitive about peoples beliefs and views then I would say they have become quite intolerant, looking forward to hearing if the Saudi ambassador has approved views.

  2. duperez

     /  December 24, 2017

    Exactly David. Which doesn’t mean the man isn’t an arse.

    • David

       /  December 24, 2017

      True but there is a huge double standard in calling out anyone associated with Trump for their personal views and everyone else.
      I probably share no views in common but I respect his right to hold those views, this thought police nonsense is a bit dangerous and frankly tiresome especially from those who preach tolerance…like the Dutch.

  3. Gerrit

     /  December 24, 2017

    As a dutchman with some contact to my place of birth, can honestly say that what Pete Hoekstra said is 100% correct. There are “no go” areas just like in parts of ALL Europe.

    His problem was the lack of conviction in backing his earlier statement.

    As for being arch conservative? Many Dutch people are. Plus is he not entitled to his views?

    Being a supposedly tolerant society has turned into a intolerant society where only one view is permissible. That is not tolerance.

    Maybe the snowflakes pushing the Netherlands towards disillusionment need a “safe” space from the likes of Pete Hoekstra.

    Maybe they could share a :safe” space with their Muslim “friends”?

    It is easy to sit at the bottom of the world and not recognise the huge problem Europe (not just the Netherlands) has with predominantly young male Muslim immigrants.

    Worth a read. https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-02-23/why-the-dutch-turned-against-immigrants

    Something Jacinda Ardern best get to grips with by continuing the Manus Island fiasco.

    • Hup Holland Gerrit… There are really problems in the Netherlands with migrants. And the locals have been getting progressively more disillusioned with them..

      I do find it odd that anyone who doesn’t toe the line gets attacked by the so call “Progressive” and “Tolerant” left..

    • Mefrostate

       /  December 24, 2017

      Hoi Gerrit. Since you’re the expert, I’m sure you can tell us where exactly are these “no go zones”? Because I spent last winter in the Netherlands and biked through literally every single suburb of Amsterdam at one point. Including the more Muslim areas like the Nieuwe West. In fact I lived in Bos en Lommer, which probably has the highest proportion of Arabs.

      Regardless of the existence of these zones, what do you think about Mr Hoekstra’s demonstrated willingness to blatantly lie to the journalist twice in just one tiny interview?

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  December 24, 2017

        You’re game going there in winter.BRRRRR !!! I remember my feet turning to ice if I stood still for a minute and seeing the canals frozen over. It was COLDDDDDD !!!! We used to go over the border quite often, as we were near it. Belgium was bloody cold, too.

      • Gerrit

         /  December 24, 2017

        “In the Netherlands, a Dutch court ordered the government to release to the public a politically incorrect list of 40 “no-go” zones in Holland. The top five Muslim problem neighborhoods are in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht. The Kolenkit area in Amsterdam is the number one Muslim “problem district” in the country. The next three districts are in Rotterdam – Pendrecht, het Oude Noorden and Bloemhof. The Ondiep district in Utrecht is in the fifth position, followed by Rivierenwijk (Deventer), Spangen (Rotterdam), Oude Westen (Rotterdam), Heechterp/ Schieringen (Leeuwarden) and Noord-Oost (Maastricht).”

        https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/2367/european-muslim-no-go-zones

        Let those who never tell lies throw the first stone.

        • Gezza

           /  December 24, 2017

          Sorry – see my comment on gatestone below. Posted in the wrong place by accident.

        • Mefrostate

           /  December 24, 2017

          Hahaha this is amazing. I lived in Kolenkitbuurt which you’ll see is right next to Bos en Lommer. I can personally guarantee that the police and women will happily go there right through the night.

          It might be a ‘problem area’ relative to the rest of an extremely safe country, but it’s not even slightly a ‘no-go’

  4. Gezza

     /  December 24, 2017

    Do you have a better source? Gatestone does a lot of fake news items it seems.

    Gatestone Institute

    “Inaccurate reporting

    In 2011[23] and 2012,[6] Gatestone published articles claiming that Europe had Muslim “no-go zones”, describing them variously as “off-limits to non-Muslims”[6] and “microstates governed by Islamic Sharia law”.[23][24] The claim that there are areas in European cities governed by Sharia is false,[6][23] although many of the areas deemed as “no-go zones” have high levels of unemployment and crime.[24] Gatestone’s claims were picked up by many outlets, including FrontPageMag,[23] and Washington Times.[24] The idea of no-go zones originated from Daniel Pipes,[23] who later retracted his claims.[6]

    On November 18, 2016, Gatestone published an article that said the British Press had been ordered to avoid reporting the Muslim identity of terrorists by the European Union. Snopes rated the claim “false”. Snopes pointed out that the report only made a recommendation and it was issued by the Council of Europe, not the European Union.[7] Gatestone subsequently corrected the article and apologized for the error,[25] before removing it entirely from its website.

    The Gatestone Institute published false articles during the German federal election of 2017.[26] A Gatestone article, shared thousands of times on social media, including by senior German far-right politicians, claimed that vacant homes were being seized in Germany to provide housing solutions for “hundreds of thousands of migrants from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.”[5] The German fact-checker Correctiv.org found that this was false; a single house was placed in temporary trusteeship, and had nothing to do with refugees whatsoever.[5] Gatestone also cross-posted a Daily Mail article, which “grossly mischaracterized crime data” concerning crime by refugees in Germany.[27]”

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gatestone_Institute

    • Gerrit

       /  December 24, 2017

      I suppose this site is also suspect?

      http://freewestmedia.com/2017/04/14/as-no-go-zones-riot-the-next-dutch-government-could-be-more-leftist/

      I guess you can cherry pick your information sources to suit your predilection.

      • Gezza

         /  December 24, 2017

        Well, it seems to use some of the same discredited sources. Looks like a far right site but I don’t know what to make of it really. I don’t feel like delving in to it more than the quick look I had as it seems to be a fringe one.

        I thought this article was interesting?

        ‘Only 31 percent of Americans back Jerusalem as Israeli capital
        US President Donald Trump signed a declaration earlier this week officially announcing his intention to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. But his choice is not popular with Americans.

        “Today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality,” Trump said in a speech.

        The international community was almost unanimous in condemning his move. By moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, many negative reactions have followed, as both Palestinians and Israelis claim Jerusalem as their capital.

        Trump may be alientaing his 50 million-strong evangelical voter base in the US too. Before his announcement, Trump’s team disseminated the “Jerusalem Prayer” in order to shore up support for the controversial decision, but the announcement to move the embassy does not have popular support across the US population as a whole. A Brookings Institution survey found recently that it has the backing of only 31 percent.

        Trump may also actually be hastening America irrelevance in the Middle East, as his decision means that no Arab or Muslim leader can be seen supporting it without risking street riots and major upheavals.

        Without victories, without being able to enforce political settlements, and thus without any hopes or enforceable policies to enhance peace, the American/Israeli axis, has no power to negotiate a favourable outcome in the region.

        Condemnations came not only from the Arab and Muslim Worlds, but also from the EU with the French President Macron and German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier. Both voiced their shock and disappointment.

        All 28 EU foreign ministers warned the US chief diplomat Rex Tillerson against moving the US embassy in a face-to-face meeting the day before the president made the announcement, the European Commission revealed.

        EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the EU backed a two-state solution to the long-standing Palestine-Isreal conflict, with Jerusalem as the capital of both parties along 1967 lines.“That would be a gift to the extremists and to those that are not interested in peace,” she said.

        The announcement had “the potential to send us backwards to even darker times than the ones we are already living in”.’
        … continues

        http://freewestmedia.com/2017/12/09/only-31-percent-of-americans-back-jerusalem-as-israeli-capital/

    • Mefrostate

       /  December 24, 2017

      Ah yes, that famous beacon of truth – The_Donald. It’s not a cult forum at all.

    • Gezza

       /  December 24, 2017

      The Dutch government has released a list of forty “no-go” zones in the Netherlands.
      I’m opposed to Islam & I don’t want to increased Muslim immigration to New Zealand, but I don’t think it helps matters when the concerns I & so e others have about it get associated with fake news & spurious claims from straight-out Far Right hate sites.

      Where is this actual list supposedly released by the Dutch government that these sites all refer to? Have you seen the official release? Do you have a link to it? It’s looking to me like it doesn’t actually exist & never did.

      • Mefrostate

         /  December 24, 2017

        I haven’t been able to find it either. Burden of proof is on Gerrit I think.

        • Gerrit

           /  December 25, 2017

          “THE NETHERLANDS – Housing Minister Eberhard van der Laan has published the controversial list of the so-called “40 problem neighbourhoods”. The minister had originally refused to name the areas for fear that the neighbourhoods and their residents would be stigmatised.

          The list, originally devised by former housing minister Ella Vogelaar in 2007, contains 83 problem areas.

          The worst in the country is in the west of Amsterdam, the Kolenkit district. The next three are in Rotterdam – Pendrecht, het Oude Noorden and Bloemhof. An Utrecht neighbourhood Ondiep is in the fifth position”

          https://www.expatica.com/nl/news/country-news/Most-problematic-Dutch-neighbourhoods-made-public_159195.html

          Worth a read

          https://web.archive.org/web/20110917234611/http://www.nisnews.nl/public/100209_1.htm

          “The problem districts in the Top 20 are characterised by a high density of government-owned housing, high unemployment, crime, nuisance by youngsters, and many immigrants. In Kolenkit, 80 percent of the residents are immigrants.

          RTL Nieuws made a call on the Openness of Government Act (WOB) a year and a half ago to get the ranking order made public. The Council of State, the highest administrative court, however forbade this, ruling that making it public would be stigmatising.

          Nonetheless, RTL Nieuws has decided to make the information public based on the principle that the public has the right to be informed on government policy. “Everyone can then judge for themselves what is happing with the spending of taxpayers’ money and whether this is having an effect. No political goings-on in backrooms, just let people judge for themselves,” was the chief editorial statement.”

          • Mefrostate

             /  December 26, 2017

            It’s interesting how we’ve backpedaled from “there are no go zones” to “problem neighbourhoods”. There’s probably an interesting conversation to be had about immigration, gentrification & immigration, but it’s hard to have that conversation when you’re fear-mongering about Muslims imposing no-go Sharia zones, backing it up with dodgy sources, while simultaneously cherry-picking your own weird ones (like that NIS News site and various conservative blogs).

            By the way, here is the location of my old house, right in the heart of Kolenkitbuurt: https://imgur.com/1YGd8Bd

            And here’s what the view from the window looked like: https://imgur.com/a/59MoU

            Terrifying stuff!

  5. Gerrit

     /  December 25, 2017

    If you need more information, is Radio Netherlands Worldwide a neutral enough reference?

    http://archief.wereldomroep.nl/english/article/amsterdams-new-mayor-coffee-not-tea

    “Public behaviour is high on the agenda of many residents of Amsterdam. While crime has been going down in general, there is the feeling that public disturbances continue to increase, particularly among young men of Moroccan origin. A recent rise in anti-Semitic incidents has disturbed many Amsterdammers, coming on top of a longer trend of violence against homosexuals.

    Amsterdam considers itself the most diverse city in the world, with more than 180 nationalities represented among its residents (more even than New York City). But many neighbourhoods have become segregated. The city passed a landmark last year – more than 50 percent of Amsterdammers are now of immigrant background.

    • Gezza

       /  December 25, 2017

      I’m sure it’s a problem. I’m a firm believer in immigrants assimilating & I don’t think some of these immigrants, particularly Muslims can assimilate. Their religion makes it impossible. But I’m still waiting for the official list of 40 “no go” areas. I suspect there wasn’t one.

      • Gerrit

         /  December 25, 2017

        Yet time and again the reference in reports leads with

        “In 2009 Eberhard van der Laan, the Minister of Housing, referred to the neighborhood as the worst in his “40 problem neighbourhoods” list”

        Now I don’t have official documentation but the many references make me suspect there is one. Those references are from neutral news organisation such as Radio Netherland World Wide Service and RTL News.

        Feel free to suspect your own interpretation there is no report.

        Note the lead article in RTL News today is a failed terrorist attack on a political party office in Berlin. Do we here in New Zealand ever get to hear about these thwarted terrorist attacks? No. We live in New Zealand wrapped in false news or at best no news (information).

        https://www.rtlnieuws.nl/