Putting a small-town Jewish baker on the ticket was supposed to change the public image of the Netherlands’ Party of Unity — but not like this.
The tiny party, which is run by Islamic fundamentalists, has had little impact at the ballot box since it launched in 2014. But propelled by the inflammatory comments of its leaders, it’s gained a reputation as anti-Semitic and jihadist.
Its leader, Arnoud Van Doorn, wanted to prove that those perceptions were unfounded when he chose Jolisa Brouwer for the No. 3 slot on the party’s ticket in next month’s national elections.
“We’ve been accused of anti-Semitic views and Salafism,” Van Doorn, a former far-right politician who converted to Islam, told a newspaper called AD last month. “This is how we’re showing that we really don’t seek to exclude anyone.”
But the party’s inclusion has its limits.
Last week, Van Doorn effectively axed Brouwer from the ticket after she refused to stop selling pornographic cakes. The “18+” section of her bakery’s website showcases X-rated confections, including cakes shaped like erect penises.
“Had we known this in advance, we never would have placed her on the ticket,” Van Doorm told AD. “We’re distancing ourselves from this. These cakes do not conform to the conservative policies for which we stand.” On Tuesday, the party wrote in a statement that Brouwer had withdrawn from the party’s ticket.
Brouwer, a mother of three, told the newspaper that her cakes were widely known — and in keeping with the Dutch value of tolerance. “We live in the Netherlands, not in the Middle Ages,” she said.
Brouwer told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that she was sorry that her baked goods and identity were occupying the spotlight, rather than what she perceives as the party’s message of coexistence, which she still supports.