The Dutch, that most tolerant of European peoples, have at last reached the limits of their tolerance. The change has come from within the Dutch Labor Party – the country’s biggest left-wing political grouping and the party holding the “integration” portfolio in government:
“The mistake we can never repeat is stifling criticism of cultures and religions for reasons of tolerance.”
Government and politicians had too long failed to acknowledge the feelings of “loss and estrangement” felt by Dutch society facing parallel communities that disregard its language, laws and customs.
Newcomers, according to Ploumen, must avoid “self-designated victimization.”
She asserted, “the grip of the homeland has to disappear” for these immigrants who, news reports indicate, also retain their original nationality at a rate of about 80 percent once becoming Dutch citizens.
Instead of reflexively offering tolerance with the expectation that things would work out in the long run, she said, the government strategy should be “bringing our values into confrontation with people who think otherwise.”
Labor clearly no longer thinks that newcomers can be coddled into joining Dutch society. It remains to be seen whether they can be confronted into becoming more Dutch, and – in the end – more tolerant.