'Stingy Jew' game taken off TV site

By Benjamin Weinthal, March 22, 2012
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The Dutch public broadcasting network VPRO removed an antisemitic computer game from its website last week after coming under strong criticism.

The game, "The Settlers of the West Bank", based on the multi-player hit "The Settlers of Catan", was offered as a download on the VPRO site.

Players of the Dutch game can use a "Jewish stinginess" card or "the Anne Frank card" to colonise the West Bank. A VPRO representative denied antisemitism, claiming that the game was merely satire.

In the game, the user plays a settler trying to expand his community, mine diamonds and Dead Sea mud, and produce textiles. Players can use the "Jewish stinginess" card to force competitors to hand over resources. The instructions refer to the "nation's typical mercantile spirit".

Joël Serphos, chairman of the Dutch youth organization CiJO - For Israel, for Peace - said: "Criticism of the settlement movement cannot appear in the form of antisemitic stereotypes."

Terrorist attacks in the game are described as a natural result of settlement expansion.

The settler may also use the "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad card" to avoid losing resources to a terrorist and secure resources from other players. The Anne Frank House is a "winning point" for the settler. The Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science provided 89 per cent of VPRO's budget of 51,973,000 euros in 2010, but declined to intervene.

Ronny Naftaniel, the head of the Hague-based Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel, said: "This game should have been removed immediately when the first complaints about it were made."

    Last updated: 4:27pm, March 22 2012