Withdrawal of religious broadcasting funds in Holland will silence Jewish voices

LATE last year the Dutch Government declared that was cutting the annual £11.24 million that it gives to nine religious broadcasters. The cut, announced on December 6, cut was part of a wider effort to reduce the government’s culture expenditures.

Broadcasters that wish to continue to receive public funds must sign up 50,000 subscribers each by 2016 and reapply.

For large religious communities, according to this report, this should be a snap. There are more than a million Muslims in the Netherlands, 170,000 Buddhists and at least 90,000 Hindus – and each of those groups has their own broadcasting service, two in the case of Dutch Muslims.

But Holland’s Jewish community of 40,000 stands little chance.

Said Bart Wallet, a historian at the University of Amsterdam and an expert on Dutch Jewish history:

The government’s decision therefore spells certain demise only for JO.

JO, know locally as as Joodse Omroep was receiving just £75,000 of public funding, and local Jews say it provides a vital platform for community members to talk to one another and to Dutch society at large, while also providing an avenue for Jews outside Holland’s major cities to stay connected to the community.

A documentary called 'Make Jewish Babies' stirred public discussion in the Netherlands after it was aired by the Jewish Broadcasting Company last year.

A documentary called ‘Make Jewish Babies’ stirred public discussion in the Netherlands after it was aired by the Jewish Broadcasting Company last year.

Prem Radhakishun, a Surinam-born Hindustani television personality said recently in a prime-time television appearance:

Generally speaking, our taxes shouldn’t go to spreading religion, but I would make one exception here, and that is in the case of the Jews.

In relative terms, he said:

More Jews were murdered here than elsewhere in Europe, and we have a moral debt to Jews.

But for some Jewish leaders, such appeals to Holocaust guilt are discomforting. Said Alfred Edelstein, director of the JO:

I don’t want to immediately go all the way back to the Shoah. The JO is important for Jewish life here and now, for the community and especially for people who live in small towns, for whom it is a way to stay connected.

It seems the only way that JO can continue broadcasting is by being nested with one of the larger broadcasting groups. Edelstein said he would raise that possibility in a meeting with government officials on January 16. But Wallet is less optimistic.

I don’t know which broadcaster will want to be Santa Claus for the JO, which only costs money and brings nothing in. I’m afraid all Dutch media are feeling a serious pinch right now and I’m not sure at all a satisfactory solution will be worked out.

Meanwhile, in the UK outrage has been expressed by some Christians because Radio 2’s Sunday Half Hour is to be usurped by a secular musical programme. From January 20, Sunday Half Hour will be moved from 8.30 am to 6pm and be broadcast in a new-60 minute format as Sunday Hour.

But, according to this report, there was a deluge of criticism of Twitter, with some users describing the new time as “ridiculous” and an “insult” to the audience.

Some accused the BBC of being “unfair” and deliberately driving loyal listeners away, with one tweeting:

Moving from 8.30pm to 6am looks like marginalisation.

Announcing the switch, Presenter Diane Louise Jordan told listeners that those who would be “fast asleep at six o’clock” could listen to the programme again on the BBC’s iPlayer – though this may not be of much comfort to those not familiar with the Internet service.

Miss Jordan said:

Sunday Half Hour is moving to a new time. So instead of Sunday evenings I will be bringing all your favourite hymns as well as some new ones in a new Sunday morning slot at six o’ clock.

Now I know some of you like me are morning lovers and so are always up bright and early or at least have the radio on to help you start your day.

But for those of you that are still fast asleep at six o’clock there is of course the opportunity to listen to BBC iPlayer so you can still enjoy being part of this very special time we have together.

A Radio 2 spokesman said:

We understand how well loved Sunday Half Hour is for many regular Radio 2 listeners so the decision to move the programme has not been taken lightly.

Over the past decade, the number of people listening to the programme and on Sunday nights generally has declined significantly and early Sunday mornings actually reach a much wider audience than Sunday evenings.

The programme is making way for a show presented by musical star Michael Ball, focusing on popular music from the 1940s to the present day, which will air between 7pm and 9pm.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn (BBC report)

24 responses to “Withdrawal of religious broadcasting funds in Holland will silence Jewish voices”

  1. Stonyground says:

    “I don’t want to immediately go all the way back to the Shoah. The JO is important for Jewish life here and now, for the community and especially for people who live in small towns, for whom it is a way to stay connected.”

    Do they not have the internet in Holland then?

    “Moving from 8.30pm to 6am looks like marginalisation.”

    Well yes, that would be because, in the UK, Christianity is pretty marginal. In any case, if the show is also broadcast in the evening, and it is being doubled in length, the complainers are sounding a bit like spoiled brats.

  2. Daz says:

    The JO is important for Jewish life here and now, for the community and especially for people who live in small towns, for whom it is a way to stay connected.

    To see how silly it is to claim that this organisation needs public funding, try one simple substitution:

    The JO is important for Motörhead fans’ lives here and now, for the community and especially for people who live in small towns, for whom it is a way to stay connected.


    focusing on popular music from the 1940s to the present day, which will air between 7pm and 9pm

    Wahay! My Sunday nights just got a bit brighter!

  3. David Anderson says:

    I agree with Edelstein here. Why does everything concerning Jewish people has to go back to Shoah? Nobody ever mentions the other genocides that have occured in recent history. What about the Native Americans? What about South Americans and people of the Caribbean? what about the Armenians? What about the Kurds?

    As Stonyground said, don’t they have the internet, or as there is 40,000 jews, can’t they all get together and produce a nice little magazine or newsletter to stay connected. Perhaps Barry Duke can give them some tips.

    Christians of the UK. Wake up! It’s your god telling you not to be slothful.

  4. Broga says:

    @Daz: Ditto. Maybe some Elvis Presley, bit of Johnny Cash, things could be looking up.

  5. Matt Westwood says:

    Well yes indeed. Motorhead is indeed a religion, as everybody knows that that Lemmy is God.

  6. Stonyground says:

    I don’t think that Motorhead are too keen on religion judging by their song lyrics.


    I am the one, Orgasmatron, the outstretched grasping hand
    My image is of agony, my servants rape the land
    Obsequious and arrogant, clandestine and vain
    Two thousand years of misery, of torture in my name
    Hypocrisy made paramount, paranoia the law
    My name is called religion, sadistic, sacred whore.

    I twist the truth, I rule the world, my crown is called deceit
    I am the emperor of lies, you grovel at my feet
    I rob you and I slaughter you, your downfall is my gain
    And still you play the sycophant and revel in my pain
    And all my promises are lies, all my love is hate
    I am the politician, and I decide your fate

    I march before a martyred world, an army for the fight
    I speak to great heroic days, of victory and might
    I hold a banner drenched in blood, I urge you to be brave
    I lead you to your destiny, I lead you to your grave
    Your bones will build my palaces, your eyes will stud my crown
    For I am Mars, the god of war, and I will cut you down.

  7. barriejohn says:

    Broga: Or maybe the Ink Spots. No one today seems to comprehend just how influential they were!

    (Altogether: “Dum-de-dum-de-dum-de-dum-de-dum-de-dum-de-dum…”)

  8. RabbitOnAStick says:


    Barry Duke.
    You are an ‘evil evil’ man. Bob alleges so on xtian voice. As you aren’t clean. Don’t they have soap in Spain? Is it true?
    But don’t worry as he is praying for you, and that jez-use bloke is gonna save you. And bob actually has a kind of homosexual love for you. That’s the way I read it anyway. I detect a thread of homo-erotica in his writing.

    Hey Stephen

    I want to thank you for having the fair-mindedness to publish Mr Duke’s comments. He wants to make comments on the blogs of Christians but he doesn’t show the same courtesy to Christians who want to make comments on his “Freethinker” blog. He has banned me from making comments on his blog because he cannot abide anyone who disagrees with his militant atheism.

    I have been praying for Mr Duke – he needs Jesus in his life to clean him up and give him eternal life.

  9. Daz says:


    Surely that’s the theme from the Archers…?

  10. RabbitOnAStick says:

    Barriejohn and Daz.
    these are the first words of the bible. It’s a reference to the readers.

  11. Daz says:

    Nah, the first words in the Bible are:

    All Characters and situations in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental. And rare.

  12. Barry Duke says:

    Thanks for drawing my attention to Hutton’s post. But let me assure you that there is no shortage of soap in Spain. On the contrary, the Spanish, according to a variety of surveys, are among the cleanest people in Europe, and highly intolerant of BO.

    Supermarket shelves are packed with the biggest selection of cleaning and personal hygiene products I have ever seen in my life; they even have cologne for pets. I have a theory that every Spanish baby is born with a mop in its hand.

    As for my soul, it is, as Tallulah Bankhead once famously said, “pure as the driven slush”.

  13. RabbitOnAStick says:

    Barry john

    thank goodness there is soap.You are blessed.
    Clearly a miracle! A sign! From the heavens perhaps?
    Or Pears or Unilever?

  14. Matt Westwood says:

    In the beginning was the sound.

    But before the sound there was the voice, faintly heard to say: “A one two three four.”

    But before that, by straining the ears, you could hear the voice even more faintly heard to say: “A-one, a-two.”

    Even before that, there was another voice, even yet more faintly, heard to say: “Rolling.”

    (With apologies to Terry Pratchett for a similar riff in Soul Music.)

  15. Matt Westwood says:

    I believe in froth, the lather almighty
    Maker of foam and bubble
    And in Shining White, his only beloved sud …

    (Again with apologies, to whom I haven’t got the foggiest.)

  16. Canada Dave says:

    Why on earth would any faith of any kind rely on funding of any kind from government of any kind…….what is the Dutch government doing in funding faith in any form ?……anyway…anyhow

  17. Daz says:


    I’d forgot that one! I thought you meant…

  18. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    Why should any religious radios get any funding, no matter the size of the audience? What’s so special about religion that it gets a special funding? Will they give funding to model railway enthusiasts if they can sign up 50K listeners?

  19. remigius says:

    Graham, this model railway enthusiast radio show has over 86,000 listeners!

  20. barriejohn says:

    Daz: I hadn’t come across those Ella Fitzgerald recordings until I looked at YouTube tonight. (“Don’t you tell it to the trees, ‘cos they will tell the birds and bees…”)

    Remigius: I bet they’re chuffed about that!

  21. remigius says:

    I’ll choo-choose to ignore that dreadful pun, barriejohn.

  22. Daz says:


    You have to admit that pun took some engine-uity, though.

  23. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    @Remigius: But do they get a subsidy?

    Re;The puns, GROAN!