A wave of violent protest demonstrations struck Europe in the wake of the recent events in Gaza. Despite efforts of the media to downplay the incidents, ordinary Europeans realize that the vandals who demonstrate against Israel in Europe’s streets are almost exclusively youths of immigrant Muslim origin. The protests have been accompanied by anti-Semitic rants and attacks on Jewish citizens. Leftist Europeans joined in by demanding a boycott of Israeli products and local Jewish businesses. Even mainstream politicians joined the chorus of Israel bashing, hoping to attract the support of the growing Muslim electorate in Western Europe.
Some observers see disturbing parallels between the intellectual climate in contemporary Europe and the appeasement mentality of the 1930s. It seems as if Europe is in the grip of a continent-wide “Stockholm syndrome:” Europe’s media and political establishment parrots the Islamist arguments of aggressive Muslim populations who hold major European cities hostage.
According to Philippe Moureaux, a professor at Brussels University and the Socialist mayor of Molenbeek, a Brussels borough with a majority immigrant population, one should understand the “despair” of the immigrant youths over the events in Gaza. The “despairing” mob from Molenbeek, in an outburst of disproportionate rage over Gaza, recently demolished a McDonald’s restaurant and plundered shops in downtown Brussels.
As it happens, Mr. Moureaux, an esteemed and highly decorated member of the Belgian establishment, is the former Justice Minister who authored both Belgium’s 1981 “law against racism and xenophobia” which severely restricts freedom of speech with regard to the dangers of multiculturalism, and its 2004 law granting foreigners the right to vote.
Fortunately, however, the media disinformation and the cowardice of the establishment politicians and intellectuals do not seem to greatly affect ordinary Europeans. Last Thursday, Belgium’s supermarkets announced that they have not noticed “any impact so far” of the various calls for a boycott of Israeli products. Some Europeans may even specially buy Jaffa oranges as they bought extra Danish butter cookies during the height of the Muslim boycott of Denmark three years ago.
On the political level, the rioting in Europe’s streets seems to benefit those politicians who for years have been warning that Europe has foolishly brought a Trojan horse into its cities by allowing millions of Muslim immigrants to settle in Europe during the past decades.
It seems as if the Israeli operation in Gaza might have two beneficial effects. It is destroying Hamas’ capability to strike at Israel by firing rockets and it is leading to a healthy and long-overdue polarization in Europe where the political complacency with regard to the radicalizing Muslim population should be broken before it is too late.
In France, the major topic among politicians is that the conflict in the Middle East must not be imported into France with Muslim fanatics attacking Jewish French citizens (never the other way round). Although no-one dares say so openly, for fear of violating the laws “against racism and xenophobia,” it is clear to all that the conflict was imported decades ago when millions of anti-Jewish Muslims were allowed to immigrate into Europe. The harsh reality can no longer be denied: either Europe appeases the Islamists and submits or it fights back against a force which also happens to be Israel’s enemy.
In Italy, the regionalist Northern League party, which traditionally used to sympathize with the Palestinian aspiration for self-government and a Palestinian state, today supports Israel. As Mario Borghezio, a member of the European Parliament for the Northern League, explains: “We fight to preserve the identity of our people. This identity is being threatened by Muslim radicals who want to impose their laws on us. We hear the hate speeches against Israel and the Jews in the mosques in our own cities, and we have come to realize that we have the same enemy as Israel.” The same is true for the Vlaams Belang party in Belgium.
The realization that a common enemy who wants to subdue all non-Islamic peoples, must be fought is bringing together European parties which so far had not entered into international alliances. At a meeting in Antwerp last week the Vlaams Belang demanded that violent anti-Israeli demonstrations by immigrants no longer be condoned by the authorities. The meeting was attended by an MP from the traditionally neutralist Swiss People’s Party and an MP from Germany, a former Christian-Democrat who left his party because of its soft position on the preservation of Germany’s national identity.
While Europe’s mainstream media, in their efforts to win the Muslim electorate, are neglecting the concerns of their traditional voters, others are filling the void. Even Nick Griffin, the politically astute leader of the British National Party, has grasped the opportunities which Britain’s mainstream politicians are giving him by failing to address the concerns of a large segment of the British voters. Mr. Griffin asserts that “9/11 has changed the world; it has also changed our view of the world” and says that his party is no longer anti-Semitic because it has come to realize that Islam is the enemy.
In a remarkable statement on “Israel’s Gaza Affair” Nick Griffin, while opposing any move “to entangle Britain in war on behalf of Israel”, writes that it is “our clear national interest that [Israel] should survive” and that it is for the Israelis at the ballot box, and not for the British, to decide how it responds “to the cynical provocations by Hamas.”
Whether or not Mr. Griffin is an honest politician and whether or not he is misleading the British voters is not the issue here. What is important is that he realizes that taking an outspoken pro-Israeli and anti-Hamas position will win him votes rather than cost him support among ordinary Brits who have grown exasperated with the arrogance of Muslim immigrants in Britain. It seems that more and more ordinary Europeans are willing to defend their own values and fight back. They are looking for political leadership.
This article was first published at the website of the Hudson Institute New York.