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New Game from Dutch State TV: How Many Examples of Antisemitism Can YOU Spot?

The Jerusalem Post reports:

A Dutch public broadcasting network last month offered its viewers a board game featuring Israeli settlers who use “Jewish stinginess” and “the Anne Frank card” to colonize the West Bank.

Organizations combating anti-Semitism have called on the Dutch government to persuade the network, VPRO, to halt the downloading of the board game.

A VPRO representative said the game was not anti-Semitic, but rather a thought-provoking satire.

The game, titled “The Settlers of the West Bank,” is based on the multiplayer hit “The Settlers of Catan,” first released in Germany in 1995. The Dutch variant appeared in 2010 on the VPRO website – a self-described liberal-Protestant network.

In the game, the user is a settler trying to expand his community and mine diamonds and Dead Sea mud while producing textile and bulldozers. Players can use the “Jewish stinginess” card to force competitors to hand over resources. The instructions refer three times to the “nation’s typical mercantile spirit.”

Terrorist attacks are described as a natural result of settlement expansion. “Saw wood, and you get wood chips: Not everyone’s happy with the Israeli settlements. Least of all the terrorist,” the instructions explain. “Terrorist attacks” cost players resources.

The settler may also use the “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad card” to avoid losing resources to a terrorist and simultaneously draw resources from other players. The Anne Frank House is a “winning point” for the settler.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center strongly condemned VPRO for publishing the “disturbing” game.

“It would be more likely as a product of neo-Nazis or Ahmadinejad,” Dr. Shimon Samuels, the center’s director for international relations, told The Jerusalem Post.

References to Jewish stinginess, the exploitation of minerals and the “contemptuous misuse” of Ann Frank’s House as a “winning point” were “anti-Semitic tropes,” Samuels said.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science provided 89 percent of VPRO’s budget of 51,973,000 euros in 2010.

“This funding makes the Netherlands the largest financier of hate incitement among youth in Europe,” Samuels said.

The Wiesenthal Center has written to Viviane Reding, the European Commission’s vice president for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship, urging her “to take all available measures to press The Hague to withdraw its funding from VPRO for as long as it serves as a vector for racism.”

Queried by the Post, VPRO Communications Manager Marina Alings defined the game as “satire.” VPRO is of the opinion that “although the item ‘The Settlers of the West Bank’ could have done with some more delicate detailing, it is not fitting to earmark it as anti-Semitic,” she said.

If you would like to play this game, you can see the original here, and a translation here.