Jewish channel preparing discrimination lawsuit against Dutch TV fund

The fund disputes the allegation, with a spokesman saying the Jewish channel’s pitches weren’t strong enough.

March 2, 2019 19:23
1 minute read.
Jewish channel preparing discrimination lawsuit against Dutch TV fund

Locals sit as Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the VVD Liberal party and Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders of the PVV party take part in the "EenVandaag" debate, shown live on television at a bar in The Hague, Netherlands March 13, 2017. (photo credit: DYLAN MARTINEZ/REUTERS)


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AMSTERDAM (JTA) — The Dutch national television fund is facing a discrimination lawsuit for rejecting all production pitches by the country’s Jewish broadcaster.

Since the 2017 creation of the television fund of the Dutch Foundation for Public Broadcasting, the Jewish Programming division of Holland’s EO broadcaster has applied 11 times for funding for documentary productions that have all been rejected, the Jewish broadcaster’s editor in chief, Alfred Edelstein, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

“There seems to be an institutional decision not to fund our projects,” Edelstein said. “I don’t know why. But there seems to be discrimination. There’s no functioning appeal process, so we’re preparing to sue at the Council of State.”

The fund disputes the allegation, with a spokesman saying the Jewish channel’s pitches weren’t strong enough.

In 2017 and 2018, the fund handed out nearly $30 million in government subsidies to applicants for cinematic projects. It approved one application for preliminary research by the Jewish broadcaster, which has made several critically acclaimed productions, but rejected the application based on the research.

Last year, the fund rejected an application by the KRO-NCRV broadcaster for funding for a documentary series on Westerbork, a former Nazi concentration camp. The intended director of that series, Theu Boermans, told the NRC daily that he was “dismayed” over the refusal.

Shula Rijxman, the head of the Dutch Foundation for Public Broadcasting, is “displeased” by the allegations and rejects them, the foundation’s spokesman, Thijs van Soest, told JTA. Rijxman is Jewish.

“There is no desire to avoid Jewish themes — on the contrary,” van Soest said.

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