Another extreme right-wing, racist party turns pro-Israel

Just read this on Bartholomew’s indispensable blog: the English Defence League, an islamophobic (they resent that assertion though) tinpot sect adding to the acronyms on the lunatic fringe of the British extreme right wing, is said to have taken part in a pro-Israel demonstration organised by the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland in front of the Israeli embassy in London on June 2, in support to the Israeli government’s handling of the Gaza flotilla affair:

There were about 2000 of us, including the EDL, JewishEDL set up by the wondrous Joe Bloggs who set up the LGBT EDL. (Juniper in the Desert)

The Jewish Chronicle denies this however:

Rumours that the English Defence League were planning to attend the demonstration appeared to be unfounded. One EDL member was spotted by protesters on the other side of the street but he did not join the throng (…) Israel Connect’s David Cohen expressed his relief that the EDL did not make an appearance, saying: “We wouldn’t have stood for it, and nor would the police or the CST.”(The Jewish Chronicle)

While the EDL’s participation in that particular demonstration is not averred, they otherwise bend over backwards to make public their devotion to Israel – mind you, even the neo-nazi BNP has made vociferous, pro-Israel noises. Their advances have been rejected by the mainstream Jewish organisations, however.

Nothing really new: they’re fond of Israeli flags (oddly enough – not many nationalist movements raise foreign flags) – for instance in Birmingham last September at on the rooftop of the Dudley mosque in April this year

The English Defence League displays its affection for Israel - Birmingham, September 6 2009

Two EDL militants on the Dudley mosque rooftop, April 30, 2010.

Well, if one is to judge by the haircut of their most enthusiastic supporters, some incredulity as to the EDL’s protestation against being labelled a racist and extreme right-wing party might be called for:

The English Defence League, which started in Luton last year, has become the most significant far-right street movement in the UK since the National Front in the 1970s. A Guardian investigation has identified a number of known rightwing extremists who are taking an interest in the movement – from convicted football hooligans to members of violent rightwing splinter groups.

Thousands of people have attended its protests – many of which have descended into violence and racist and Islamophobic chanting. Supporters are split into « divisions » spread across the UK and as many as 3,000 people are attracted to its protests.

The group also appears to be drawing support from the armed forces. Its online armed forces division has 842 members and the EDL says many serving soldiers have attended its demonstrations. A spokeswoman for the EDL, whose husband is a serving soldier, said: « The soldiers are fighting Islamic extremism in Afghanistan and Iraq and the EDL are fighting it here … Not all the armed forces support the English Defence League but a majority do. » (The Guardian)

 

The Guardian’s thorough investigation is damning – a must-read.

This recent phenomenon of extreme right-wing flirtation with Israel is a growing trend in Europe. The first populist and xenophobic right-wing politician to discard any hint of anti-semitism or fascist nostalgia and to openly embrace Israel was probably (1) Netherland’s Pim Fortuyn, who set the tone for the current trend: he was openly gay, secular, paid lip-service to gender equality and limited his xenophobia to Muslim immigrants. He’s been joined now – after his death – by his fellow countryman Geert Wilders and his PVV, Danish Pia Kjaersgaard and her Dansk Folkparti, while Filip Dewinter and his Vlaams Belang (formerly Vlaams Blok) and Jimmie Åkesson and his Sverigedemokraterna have had more trouble distancing themselves from a murkier past.

For these right-wing parties and politicians to embrace Israel – apart from the fact that it might reflect a personal choice – has of course the desirable effect of shielding them from electorally and mediatically lethal comparisons with their garrulous predecessors. Anti-semitism being the most universally rejected form of racism in Western Europe, being linked to the old ways of fascism is a considerable drawback for any party taking electoral competition seriously. France’s Jean-Marie Le Pen might be the odd  (2) here, but even he made a few moves towards Israel and the Jewish community – to the extent that the former chairman of the CRIF, the French Jewish community’s umbrella organisation, Roger Cukierman, hailed Le Pen’s stupendous score at the 2002 presidential elections as a « message » to France’s Muslim community « to keep quiet »

My previous posts on this subject:

- Quand l’extrême-droite scandinave soutient Israël (« When the Scandinavian extreme right-wing supports Israel);

- Nationale Sozialisten für Israel;

- Le Vlaams Belang invité en Israël: “ « Still, Israel is in a crucial struggle and can’t be choosy with allies now” «  (« The Vlaams Beang invited to Israel: « Still, Israel is in a crucial struggle… »);

(1) Norway’s Carl I Hagen and his Fremskrittspartiet could possibly also make that claim, although more conservative than Fortuyn.

(2) Austria and Germany are other obvious exceptions.

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by arabist, Maroc Blogs. Maroc Blogs said: Another extreme right-wing, racist party turns pro-Israel: Just read this on Bartholomew’s indispensable blog: the… http://bit.ly/aDA3Mk [...]

  2. There are many ways becoming rabidly pro-Israel solves problems and makes sense for European fascists. Here are a few:

    1. These hard right parties and groups are inspired by Israel’s mad-dog strategy and thumbing its nose at international opinion. They similarly feel under siege by more « polite » society, even though their base would like nothing more than to engage in the same level of thuggery with the same level of international protection by western governments.

    2. The foundational mythology of Zionism is also appealing in elevating one group’s identity and rights over others in the eyes of their God and their laws.

    3. Israelis are largely white Europeans, while their supposed enemies are the same brown people that racist parties target in Europe.

    4. Anti-semitism is a dead end for fascist mobilization, but Islamophobia is tolerated in society due to the « Global War on Terror. »

    5. By being pro-Zionist, one not only gets instant legitimacy, but access to media networks and campaign funds. It also inoculates an otherwise fascist movement from being compared to movements and parties of the past. The pro-Israeli position provides a fresh start for these movements — ironic given that they are ideological successors to those who facilitated the Holocaust.

    In all these ways, Zionism is serving as the midwife for the rebirth of fascism and militarism in the Western World.

  3. « This recent phenomenon of extreme right-wing flirtation with Israel is a growing trend in Europe »

    i suggest that it’s the other way around. Or a carefully calculated mutual embrace.
    Here in Denmark we saw an unusual coupling last spring. The Israel-based Raoul Wallenberg Foundation awarded its annual award to the foreign affairs spokesman of the far-right populist anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti). who also happens to sit on the board of the Danish chapter of this foundation. I don’t know much about who controls this foundation other than it appears to be a front for Likhudite propaganda interests which is trading on the name of a martyred hero.
    This in itself would be of limited interest, but within a day or two the leaders of the Danish Jewish community announced that they no longer considered the Dansk Folkeparti to be a potentially anti-semitic force – which had been their line for the previous decade. Unusual timing? Coincidence?
    Within days the relationship flourished into DF being a dependably steady faucet for regurgitating the likhudite line on everything.
    In other words the Israeli right is willing to blind-eye barely-concealed neo-nazi antics (one of DF’s bright young things was fingered for publicly singing the Horst Wessel song not long ago; they were very tightly tied with Austria’s late Haider who was up to his eyeballs in barely-concealed neo-nazi flirtations, etc, etc) for a tactical alliance with the populist anti-Islamic forces in northwestern europe.
    Why? Because these ‘populist’ forces seem quite popular at the moment….
    ….much like the Likhudite strategic alliance with the Christian « end-time » millenialists in the USA (Sarah Palin, et al).
    I wonder if the Israeli’s have to hold their nose when doing so, or whether they actually relish being in contact with these types. Must seem like clever politics when these populist forces are on the rise…will they be discarded when these ‘populist’ forces are on the wane?
    A disgusting spectacle. But so VERY revealing….

  4. [...] oreserverade stöd för Israel så kan jag inte låta bli att länka till Ibn Kafkas post om europeiska främlingsfientliga partiers tendens mot att stödja Israel. I många fall är detta [...]

  5. Your saying it as if it is a bad thing.. it’s not…

  6. Maybe not in Israel, but in the rest of the world…

  7. Do not forget that this is the country who cretaed Israel, Do not forget that this is the country that created the south Africa apartheid, Do also forget that this is the country that fought the German under a fals propaganda that they are anti semite .The Haulocost is a british home made propaganda!!!

    Simply do not forget that half of the English are Jewish !!! For this reasons I left England because simply I did not to stay in a country who help Zionism with my Money!!!

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