As Jordanian firefighters were helping extinguish raging forest fires in Israel, that country was hosting racist Dutch politician Geert Wilders who was calling on turning Jordan into a homeland for the Palestinians.
The anti-Muslim, anti-Arab Wilders, a leader of the third leading political party in the Netherlands, the Party for Freedom, is a proponent of ethnic cleansing of the Arab population of Israel and of the Palestinian population in the West Bank. He is a sworn enemy of Islam, with political views mostly shaped by his travels, during his youth, to Israel, a country that was "a source of inspiration for me".
Out of such inspiration, he calls for banning the Koran, which he describes as a book of hatred and terror, an opinion that is clearly at odds with his claim that he is a supporter of freedom of speech.
Wilders arrived in Israel on December 4 to address the Jewish people, that same people that in the recent past suffered because of hate speeches and ethnic-cleansing policies perpetrated by fascist leaders, and that now hosted one of those leaders for the sole purpose of directing such malice and hatred at another people already suffering from discriminatory policies for no other reason but because they are not Jews and belong to a different religion.
Wilders, this most senior right-wing European political leader, took part in a conference hosted by extremist Israeli Knesset member Aryeh Eldad to call for rejecting the two-state solution and pushing for Jordan to become a substitute homeland for the Palestinians.
Wilders has repeatedly encouraged Israel to confiscate more Palestinian land and to settle more Jews in the occupied territories. Hypocritically claiming to be an atheist, he describes Israel as the country at the forefront in the battle to defend Judeo-Christian values.
The Israeli government issued a statement in which it said the conference did not reflect its stance and expressed desire "to fortify its relations with its important eastern neighbour, with whom it shares important interests". The statement, however, fell short of condemning the conference and its theme, which means, just as well, that it condones such position.
If its justification is guaranteeing freedom of speech, it should accept equally magnanimously the view expressed by dispossessed Palestinians that their homeland extends from "the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea".
The Israeli government's answer to inflammatory statements like those uttered at the above conference should not be merely tepid dissociation, but focus on means of achieving a just and lasting settlement to its conflict with the Palestinians, a settlement that would enable the Palestinian people to establish their state on their national soil west of the river.
Racist rhetoric of the like that ignited two world wars, bringing about death and destruction to Europe, and consequently to our and other parts of the world, must never be tolerated.
The spirit of neighbourly cooperation that prevailed during the Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli firefighters' efforts could be an answer to damaging right-wing rhetoric that can only sow destruction and hatred.