Child's Play: Antisemitic Board Games
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has written a letter to Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship requesting the removal of a board game entitled "The Settlers of the West Bank" because of its antisemitic overtones.
This is an online game on the site of Dutch public broadcaster VPRO which claims that the game's "satirical aim is now overshadowed" by accusations of hate speech. VPRO has now removed the game.
Basically, players are required to assume the role of Jewish settlers and the aim of the game is to build as many settlements as possible on Palestinian territory. Some of the game's features include "the overtly politicized idea behind the game, and the numerous, obviously insensitive features, including the 'Jewish stinginess,' 'Wailing Wall,' and 'Anne Frank' cards. Allusion is also made to the 'typical mercantile spirit' of the Jewish nation, and, according to the Jerusalem Post, the 'settler' may also use the 'Mahmoud Ahmadinejad card' to avoid losing resources to a terrorist and simultaneously draw resources from other players." Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the Iranian president who calls for the extermination of all Jews beginning with Israel.
Notwithstanding the removal of the game online, Dutch Minister of Culture, Marja van Bijsterveldt claims that while the VPRO is a public broadcaster, that does not mean the government has anything to do with the content. The website receives state funding from the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science but the minister claims the state has no authority over the content. In fact, The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science provided 89 percent of VPRO's budget of 51,973,000 euros in 2010.
One is reminded of the infamous board game "Juden Raus!" (Jews Out!) that was popularized in Nazi Germany. It was published in Nazi Germany in 1936, a year after passage of the Nuremberg Laws. In light of those heinous "laws" it is noteworthy that the Dutch have now issued a ban on Jewish ritual slaughter and the rising Muslim Dutch intolerance has former European Union Commissioner Frits Bolkenstein asserting that Jews have no future in the Netherlands. He recommends that they emigrate to the US or Israel for their own safety.
"Juden Raus" sought to instill "values of a totalitarian fascist regime." In their study of this and other racist board games, Andrew Morris-Friedman and Ulrich Schadler shed light on the game and its distributor, Rudolf Fabricius. Apparently, "evidence indicates that the game sold very poorly." According to Friedman and Schadler, the game "is not a Nazi board game as it is sometimes called" and that "the game was disdained -- at least officially -- in a major publication of the most important Nazi organization." In fact, Himmler's SS complained that the game trivialized the "serious business of expulsion and, ultimately, extermination." But the fact that "antisemitism was so deeply rooted in German society in the 1930s that someone thought it would be a good subject for a children's game" speaks volumes. To listen to an interview about the game, see here.
And lest one think this is an aberration, according to a report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, the German neo-Nazi terror trio calling itself the National Socialist Underground designed and marketed an anti-Jewish board game called "Pogromly" as a fundraiser in the late 1990s."
The intensity of hatred of the Jews knows no bounds.
Eileen can be reached at email@example.com