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Friday 24 October  
VPRO settlers game
Heleen Sittig's picture
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Hilversum, Netherlands
Hilversum, Netherlands

'Anti-Semitic' settlers game taken offline

Published on : 15 March 2012 - 3:13pm | By Heleen Sittig (Photo: VPRO)
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Is it satirical or anti-Semitic? An online game on the site of Dutch public broadcaster VPRO has come under discussion. It’s based on the popular board game Settlers of Catan – only in this version the players have to establish colonies on the West Bank.

The VPRO has now taken The Settlers of the West Bank offline because its “satirical aim is now overshadowed”.

The game
Players are required to assume the role of a Jewish settler. The aim of the game is to build as many settlements as possible on Palestinian territory.

'Anne Frank House cards' and 'Wailing Wall cards' can be used to acquire extra points. Players are also required to apply the stereotypical 'traditional Jewish trading mentality' and trade in diamonds.

The game is not satirical but anti-Semitic, say both the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, a watchdog for anti-Semitism, and the Dutch-based pro-Israeli Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI).

Hate speech
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has written a letter about the matter to European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Viviane Reding, hoping she could put pressure on the Netherlands to make sure the game is taken offline.

According to Shimon Samuels from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the game is anti-Semitic and racist. As the VPRO is a public broadcaster, he claims the Dutch state is guilty of hate speech using public money.

It’s not as simple as that, says Dutch Minister of Culture Marja van Bijsterveldt, who doesn’t intend to interfere in the case. The VPRO is a public broadcaster but that doesn't mean the government has anything to do with the content.

Anti-Semitism
Chair of the CIDI Joël Serphos doesn’t think the game is merely satirical. In the Dutch press he said that “use is made of traditional anti-Semitic views”. According to him, they might just as well have been put on the extreme right website Stormfront.

The VPRO says that the game – which is the focus of discussion after being online for longer than a year – was intended as an ironic commentary on the Middle East conflict. The makers hadn’t really intended it as a game. “It should be considered a visual column. It’s oozing satire.”

(hs/as/imm/ae)

Discussion

Bosgeus 6 February 2013 - 12:05am / Netherlands

To me as a Dutchman, having in the past been a member of this popish propaganda producer VPRO, does agree with this decision. Knowing other programs of VPRO, anti-semitism, popery and anti-nationalist propaganda is produced by these Roman Catholics of the VPRO very often. Aggressive propaganda is their fingerprint. The philosophical backgrounds of the VPRO Romanists is controlling the opposition. The content I would read above, I recognize not only as typical dumbing down by VPRO, also as support of an anti-semetic agenda internationally being played out. That VPRO always supports. My compliments for attacking these VPRO papes.

VPRO denies their Romanism behind a smokescreen of lies after secrecy.

Troll 19 March 2012 - 4:38am

How can the truth be anti-Semitic?

Vivian Clayborn 17 March 2012 - 10:15pm / Denmark

Good the VPRO finally came to their senses, or whatever made the take down the anti-Semitic game.

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