One of the greatest injustices to the victims of racism, and in particular the holocaust, is the trivialization of it. One does not have to agree with the Dutch “Islamophobic” anti-immigration politicians Geert Wilders or Rita Verdonk, but what kind of person writes something like: “Whenever I see people such as Wilders and Verdonk I think of the Kristallnacht! The moment the Jews were rounded up...”?
People who write such things do not care about the suffering of the Jews. They merely abuse the Nazi crimes for their own petty political objectives. The example quoted above comes from the Dutch correspondent of the far-left Belgian blog Yelloman. This blogger is an intolerant, immoral Stalinist activist. The politicians in the European Parliament, however, are hardly any better.
On January 27, 2005, the European Parliament voted a resolution “on remembrance of the Holocaust, anti-semitism and racism.”
Near the end of the resolution, the EP states (items 6-8) [the bold-face being our addition] that it:
6. Welcomes the declared intention of the Luxembourg Presidency to restart the stalled discussions on the proposal for a Council Framework Decision on combating Racism and Xenophobia, and urges the Council to reach agreement on a ban on incitement to racial and religious hatred throughout the EU while preserving legitimate free speech;
7. Invites the [European] Commission to start a review of the application of the Racial Equality Directive 2000/43/EC aimed at strengthening European Union anti-discrimination measures and to organise a major conference involving all the actors concerned, in particular political representatives, public institutions at a national, regional and local level, and NGOs and associations active in this field;
8. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the [European] Council [=the meeting of the European heads of state and government], the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the [EU] Member States and candidate countries.
If we read the “Council Framework Decision on combating Racism and Xenophobia”, we find that it imposes an end to free speech:
[T]his proposal provides for the approximation of the laws and regulations of the Member States regarding offences involving racism and xenophobia. Racist and xenophobic behaviour must constitute an offence in all Member States and be punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties. [...] Racism and xenophobia will mean belief in race colour, descent, religion or belief, national or ethnic origin as a factor determining aversion to individuals.
Certain forms of conduct outlined below committed for a racist or xenophobic purpose will be punishable as criminal offences:
* public incitement to violence or hatred;
* public insults [e.g. the Danish cartoons] or threats;
* public condoning of genocide or crimes against humanity as defined in the Statute of the International Criminal Court;
* public dissemination or distribution of tracts, pictures or other material containing expressions of racism and xenophobia;
* directing of a racist or xenophobic group (by “group” is meant a structured organisation consisting of at least two persons established for a specific period).
[…] In all cases, racist or xenophobic motivation will be considered as an aggravating circumstance in determining the penalty to be applied to the offence.
Since 2005 the governments of the European Union member states are persecuting – on the basis of the above Council Framework Decision and the above EP Holocaust Resolution – people who express concern about the Islamization of their countries.
As the British conservative philosopher and author Roger Scruton said in a speech in Antwerp last year, the charge of racism and xenophobia in the EU countries “has become the equivalent of a charge of heresy in medieval Europe, of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts, or of ‘deviationism” in the Stalinist state.” However, as Mr. Scruton pointed out, “we have a duty to brave the charge of ‘racism and xenophobia’, and to discuss every aspect of immigration.”
Mr. Scruton made his remarks in a speech to the Vlaams Belang party – a party which has been accused of racism and xenophobia by the Belgian authorities. “There are many people in this country,”Mr. Scruton added, “who believe that I should not talk to you at all, and that by doing so I become tainted with the very charge that has been levelled at you: the charge of racism and xenophobia. By talking about this charge, I hope to deflect it. I am neither racist nor xenophobic; I am in the habit of assuming that the same is true of others, until they have shown evidence to the contrary; and I am glad that a Party exists that is willing to brave this charge, in order to discuss the problem that is in the minds of all ordinary Europeans today.”
When the EP Resolution of January 25, 2005, came before the European Parliament it was almost unanimously approved with 617 votes to 0 with 10 abstentions. Among the ten abstentions were the three Vlaams Belang members of the EP. One of the latter, Frank Vanhecke, the VB chairman, said he feared that the resolution would be used against parties who “fight for European values and European peoples.” Mr. Vanhecke was right. Today we see how this resolution exploits the Holocaust in order to introduce support for legislation silencing the peoples of Europe and submitting them to radical Islamist ideologies that are paving the way for new Holocaust.
The Egyptian-born Jewish author Bat Ye’or (a pseudonym meaning “daughter of the Nile”) and her family were expelled from Egypt in the 1950s because they were Jewish. She, too, is worried about the trivialisation of the Holocaust by the left and the far-left for the advancement of its own political aims. When recently she expressed her worries at a public meeting she was insulted and called… a racist. A lawyer who was present says that though Bat Ye’or was treated most disgracefully “few people reacted. People are not ready to fight the new anti-Semitism.” The Europeans did not fight the previous anti-Semitism in the 1930s, and they are not fighting the present one. Europe did not prevent the previous holocaust. It does not seem able to prevent the coming holocaust either. And maybe, paradoxically, feelings of guilt for the horrors of the past are preventing some people from doing so.
As Roger Scruton says it needs courage to brave the charges of racism, xenophobia or neo-Nazism in order to speak out. This courage is what Europe lacks.
Unfortunately, some Americans realize that Europe is in for a disaster but seem to think that it is only getting what it deserves. Europe has to be destroyed by the Muslims as a punishment for the Nazis’ crimes during WWII. Last year, I was invited to speak about the situation in Europe at one of America’s major universities. For two days my host subjected me to the most terrible accusations. He told me I would have to suffer for what my ancestors had done to his ancestors. “One cannot respect the Europeans,” he said. “America should have nuked Europe during WWII instead of Japan. If ever things turn nasty in Europe I will make sure that neither you nor any white European will be allowed to seek shelter in the US. I would rather invite the Muslims in than you and your lot, because one can respect Muslims but not Europeans.” Since my host was Jewish and had lost his family in the war I could understand his anger, but not his short-sightedness. I think he did not mean all he said, though it was an upsetting experience and one of the most unpleasant moments in my life.
Why do I mention all this today? Last week almost 80 people from 15 European countries, plus sympathizers from the US, Canada and Israel, convened in the European Parliament in Brussels to discuss a common strategy to fight Islamism. This important and historical event, which shows that there still is a fighting spirit among some Europeans, has been criticized by Charles Johnson, the owner of Little Green Footballs, an influential American neo-conservative website, because members of the Vlaams Belang were present. Though the VB did not organize the conference, it provided an important part of the logistics and the security of those attending. Johnson says the VB is a neo-Nazi party. His arguments are:
(1) that the party abstained in the European Parliament from approving the above mentioned Holocaust resolution;
(2) that early this month the party organized a “white supremacist” demonstration;
(3) that Nazi skinheads applaud the party;
(4) that neo-Nazis link to VB videos.
Instead of being able to write about last week’s meeting I have been busy answering emails from friends who, because Charles Johnson is such “a respected anti-Jihadist,” fear that they have been fooled by the VB. The issue is hotly debated on American blogs (here is a detailed account for those interested).
There is, however, no beef to Charles Johnson’s allegations.
(1) The VB was right regarding the Holocaust Resolution. It is a disgrace that Christian-Democrats and other European mainstream Conservatives do not dare to oppose the Left’s abuse of the Holocaust. The VB should be applauded for its courage, rather than branded neo-Nazi.
(2) The VB did not organise a “white supremacist” demonstration. Johnson’s website links to a picture of a group of people carrying a white supremacist flag and a number of Flemish flags. He claims this picture was taken earlier this month and says there are VB flags on the picture. I do not see any VB flag on the picture. Johnson got this picture from the Yelloman blog, a far-left Belgian website – the very same website which wrote about Geert Wilders and Rita Verdonk “Whenever I see people such as Wilders and Verdonk I think of the Kristallnacht! The moment the Jews were rounded up...”
Interestingly, Yelloman does not mention when and where the picture with the flags was taken [update, Nov. 1, 2007: here it is]. It is unclear where Johnson got his information about a demo earlier this month, but certainly not from the Yelloman link he refers to. There is also something fishy about the picture. The Flemish lion flag which we see on the picture is the official flag of the Flemish regional government. This lion has a red tongue and red claws (the three colours of the flag – black, yellow and red – refer to the tricoloured Belgian flag). The flag of the Flemish secessionist movement (which is the flag VB people ALWAYS use) has a black tongue and black claws.
Let us take a more detailed look at Yelloman’s article. It is entitled “Nazi symbolism and Vlaams Belang.” It claims that VB people are fond of symbols like the Celtic cross, the triskel and the swastika.
It is true that the Celtic cross is a popular symbol in Flanders. It was placed on the gravestones of Flemish soldiers who fell during the First (not the Second) World War. The Flemings used to harbour a lot of sympathy for the Irish and the 1916 Irish Rebellion. The Celtic cross, however, is also used by so-called “neo-pagan” followers of the French anti-American and anti-Christian philosopher Alain de Benoist. Though there may be individual VB members who sympathize with de Benoist, this is not the position of the VB. Yelloman also claims that the German Wehrmacht used to paint the Celtic cross on its army barracks during WW II. I have never heard that argument before (and I doubt whether it is true). Moreover, the Wehrmacht was the regular German army. Its symbol is the German cross, which the Bundeswehr still uses today.
The triskel is another Celtic symbol, which is used by the separatist movement in (the French province of) Brittany. Yelloman refers to a local VB official who has a triskel on his weblog. Yelloman claims that it is a symbol of apartheid because the far-right South African whites use the triskel as their symbol. The latter is something I have never heard before either. It may be true or not, I do not know.
Finally the swastika. Yelloman refers to one Bjorn Roose, another local VB member, who last January opposed an EU proposal (initiated by the German government) to ban the swastika everywhere in Europe. Roose criticized this as an example of Political Correctness gone wild in Germany. He argued that the EU proposal is ridiculous because the swastika is an old Hindu symbol, which can also be found on medieval paintings and on ornaments in medieval cathedrals. According to the EU legislation, Roose wrote, these swastikas will have to be removed. He wondered whether the EU will soon ban the crucifix because the Ku Klux Klan ties its victims to a cross.
(3 & 4) Johnson’s two last charges against the VB are that Nazi skinheads applaud the VB and neo-Nazis link to VB sites. During the past days several far-left and even pro-Islamist groups have linked to Johnson’s website. Does this prove that Johnson is a leftist and a pro-Islamist? Yes, it does if we judge Johnson by his own standards. Friends tell me that I should not say that Charles Johnson is an Islamist who disguises himself as one of their adversaries. But, hey, why should we not judge a man by his own standards? Because we are decent and responsible people.