The pendulum in Europe is swinging to the right and it ain’t pretty. Most recently, Nick Griffin of the British Nationalist Party was elected to the European Parliament representing North West England. This is no joke: the man is no flash in the pan but has been a dedicated leader of the British far right for years. (He was recently pelted with eggs at a speech by british protestors).

You may try to write this off as a one-off event reflecting British frustrations. Though the political body is different, brits were recently told that their MPs had been behaving badly with their expense accounts, for example (from suite 101):

Labour Hazel Blears claimed expenses for three different houses in a single year including mortgage, furniture, TVs and bed linens. Not contented with three different addresses, she also claimed for stays at some of the most fashionable hotels in London. Miss Blears sold her second home to another politician making a profit of £45,000 without paying Capital Gains tax, having conveniently reassingned her primary address. Miss Blears, it is worth pointing out, is Communities Secretary and, as such, she is in charge of Housing Policy.

Yikes! Not cool, Hazel. But, as the new republic points out:

What is particularly grim, however, is that this is not solely a British phenomenon: The far right has made gains across Europe, including in longstanding EU member states. In Italy, the anti-immigrant Northern League and post-fascist National Alliance are part of the political establishment, serving in Berlusconi’s government. In Austria, the political spirit of Jorg Haider lives on as two extreme-right, anti-immigrant parties took an unprecedented 17.7 percent of the vote. In the Netherlands, the anti-Muslim immigrant far-right party of Geert Wilders came in second place, again with 17 percent of the vote, while in Denmark the far-right Danish People’s Party won two seats in the European Parliament.

But the most worrying developments are in the “new” Europe, where the heady days of rapid growth enjoyed in the post-Communist era have been brought to an abrupt halt. With national economies in a tailspin, ultranationalists and neo-fascists have tapped into the hardship felt by many voters, turning their ire on immigrants, Gypsies and other “outsiders.” In Slovakia, only 19.4 per cent of people turned out to vote–allowing ultra-nationalists parties, complete with their chilling anti-Roma rhetoric, to triumph. In Hungary, the Jobbik party, with its anti-Roma propaganda and Hungarian Guard paramilitary wing, won three seats for the first time.

A trend to notice is the increasing sophistication of at least the BNP. They have made a concerted effort to ditch anti-semitism and move onto cashing in on fear and hatred of Islam. In other words, Nick went from saying things like this:

I have reached the conclusion that the ‘extermination’ tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie, and latter-day witch-hysteria…

to this:

It stands to reason that adopting an ‘Islamophobic’ position that appeals to large numbers of ordinary people – including un-nudged journalists – is going to produce on average much better media coverage than siding with Iran and banging on about ‘Jewish power’, which is guaranteed to raise hackles of virtually every single journalist in the western world.


(The first quote is from Griffin’s 1998 trial. The second is from an article last year, both from the Guardian)

The BNP even put out a Jewish candidate, Patricia Robertson. According to the editor of the BNP newspaper, ‘Freedom’:

There has been a growing dialogue between senior members of the Jewish community and the BNP and today there are an increasing number of Jews campaigning for the BNP and feeling very comfortable with their political choice.

Muffti imagines that ‘increasing numbers’ may be easy to achieve given how low the numbers presumably were to begin with. Muffti assumes that few Jews feel comfortable with a party whose leader was a holocaust denier and whose prominent members members are holocaust deniers. In other words, the far-right is becoming more sophisticated in their message and ditching the ‘we hate every body’ that made them easy targets for the more nuanced position of ‘we hate those guys and, hey so do you!’. Muffti only hopes we won’t all be duped: radical islam is a terrible and frightening force and European politicians have been slow and lazy to deal with it. But empowered far right political parties that can take advantage of what promise to be very tough economic times for Europe have a history is not a very savory alternative.

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  • Politicians have been dealing with radical Islam here, but they have underestimated the populist demagogues. Psychology, which I know Muffti loves, teaches us those people would be looking for a target for their hate anyway, Muslims or whatnot. In Eastern Europe, the main target of the right-wing extremists are Jews, Sinti and Roma. In the European Parliament, the right-wing parties form one political block; no questions asked. Jews should know better than to make their beds with those that only an instant ago and in an instant to come would rather see Jews digging their own graves.

  • The election of two BNP members to the European Parliament is extremely worrying to all of us Jews here in England. Nearly a million voters out of the 15 million Brits who bothered to vote cast their ballots in favour of a Nazi party.

    Myself and 55,000 others like me have already expressed our disgust by signing the Hope Not Hate petition entitled ‘Not In My Name’. Get in touch with your British friends, and if they haven’t already, urge them to sign it.

  • Well, I have seen a number of Jews latch on to Geert Wilders.

  • If mainstream politicians are willing to address the problems of mass immigration, which absolutely includes the problem of Islamicism growing in the west, voters will not need extremist parties to address their concerns.

    Unfortunately, in the U.S., Jewish groups have taken the lead in punishing anyone who raises the issue of immigration in typically vociferous terms.

  • Amazing.

    DK and I agree on something.

    By allowing radical Islam to spread unchecked in the name of “inclusion” and “multiculturalism” and rolling over like dead dogs every time the Islamists shit all over the counties who have taken them in (even while living off the money the stupid dhimmis pay in taxes), the European politicians have ceded the field to the worst kind of nativist fascists, who appear to be the only ones who are willing to fight to protect Europe from the encroachment of sharia and all that it entails.

    The politicians of Europe have demonstrably failed to protect Europe from a culture and an ideology that are alien to it and bent on domination. They have only themselves to blame if people turn to someone, anyone, who is willing to stand up and say “enough”.

    If liberalism hasn’t the stomach for the fight, there are always those who do.

    It is a bad situation, and if things keep up like this, the Jews had better watch out and make sure the suitcases are packed.

    But I’ve been expecting this for a while. It is not at all surprising. If the non-fascist politicians take a hint and grow a pair and start standing up the the Islamists, there is hope that the fascist right will not keep growing. But if they don’t, it will, for sure.

    This is just the beginning.

  • Islam hasn’t been foreign to Europe for quite a few centuries, and Islamist ideologies cannot only be found among recent immigrants, but also among others, including converts. The fanaticism with which converts appear to pursue what they understand to be the official religion is the same kind of fanaticism you’ll find among any group of people that believe to have “seen the light”.
    And as I stated above, the right-wing parties form one political block in the European Parliament now. Suppose political opportunism wins hands down over alleged / self-acclaimed affiliations and sympathies.

  • Yes, Islam has been around in the Balkans for quite a few centuries. It is patently foreign to Western Europe, however, at least in the sense that Europeans have had to make any sort of concession to, or accommodation with, Islam as a religious force in their societies on any significant scale, at least heretofore.

    Yes, yes, we know: all “fundamentalist” religious people are fanatics, we get it. Some fanatics are worse than others, though. Islamist fanatics are bent on forcing non-Muslims to accommodate them with the aim of eventually imposing Islam and subjugating non-Muslims under its rule. I think the haredim are crazy, but I don’t believe they want to rule over gentiles. You may believe their way of life is oppressive and barren, but I don’t see them out trying to impose it on gentiles. On other Jews, yes, perhaps, but that’s as far as it goes.

    If Muslims in Europe were Muslims like the Christians in Europe are Christians, there wouldn’t be any problem. However, Islam is by its nature a domineering, aggressive faith.

    Something will have to give at some point, and I think we’re beginning to see it.

    Absolutely not a desirable outcome, I agree. But this sort of situation always favors the fascists, and the Muslims do themselves no favors by allowing themsleves to be represented by people who live on the dole while preaching hatred of the society which supports them. Who would not be angry at this?

  • Ephraim, I just think the issue is more complex than to tie it to immigration; there are huge groups of non-radical first-generation immigrants, and there are third or fourth generation practically non-religious Muslims that turn to fanaticism at some point in their life etc. Haredim in Israel also try to or already do impose their beliefs onto non-Jews as they get implemented in common law, but that is also due to Israel’s extraordinary status that makes it not a clear-cut secular state.

    I think it will be just as counterproductive to ignore Muslim radicalism as it will be to marginalize the non-radical majority of Muslims. If I condescend on all Muslims in a generalizing swoop, so to speak, odds are high I will drive people that not even are on the fringe into the arms of Islamists.

  • froylein, it doesn’t have to be all or even most for Islamicism to be a terrible problem. And then there is the reality that there is a terrible welfare problem among Muslim immigrants even from industrious and productive nations like Somalia.

  • And the welfare problem among immigrants from the former Soviet Union (who are eligible for welfare)? Unemployment is higher among those than among e.g. Turkish people (who are not eligible for welfare as long as they are Turkish citizens) in Germany.

  • It is not functional to have both a welfare state and mass immigration. Something has to give.