Lawmakers from the notorious far-right Forum for Democracy Party (FvD) in the Netherlands frequently repost writings and imagery from evidently antisemitic Twitter handles. As per a story in the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant, experts at Leiden University discovered that even though these retweets might not always necessarily include antisemitic sentiments, they do still expand the potential audience of those racist profiles.

From December of last year to February of this year, the researchers looked at about 100,000 tweets, retweets, as well as likes from lawmakers of the Netherlands-based parties ranging across the political spectrum such as FvD, BIJ1, D66, DENK, GroenLinks, PVV, and SGP. They separated extreme antisemitism, which comprises antisemitic language particularly aimed at targeting Jewish individuals, from semi-obscure antisemitism, which encompasses antisemitic tropes, narratives, and widely-debunked conspiracies.

According to the study, none of the Dutch political groups has ever itself produced any kind of hardline antisemitic messages. Yet, FvD lawmakers were still five times as probable in comparison to the average Twitter users to retweet as well as like messages from hardline antisemitic handles. Upwards of 10% of FvD lawmakers’ Twitter history include liking and retweeting content from various antisemitic profiles. That amounts to 2% of Twitter content for the PVV and far under 1% for all the other political groups included in the study.

Thierry Baudet, the head of the FvD party, said to the Volkskrant daily that antisemitism is not driving his Twitter activity. “I retweet a lot. It’s an ad hominem argument to say that you shouldn’t retweet someone because he also believes unacceptable things. As a result, I do not believe it is my job to look into it,” he stated. His retweets, he claims, are much more regarding the message rather than the messenger.

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