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Among the agitating gilets jaunes in Paris were known anti-Semites. One banner described President Emmanuel Macron as a “whore of the Jews”. Others abused the Jewish billionaires, the Rothschilds.
Ukip now has official links with those with similar views. Among them is Paul Joseph Watson, an editor of Infowars, a website that promulgates Jewish conspiracy theories. John Mann, the Labour MP who chairs the all-party parliamentary group against anti-Semitism, has described Infowars as a “vile and dangerous” organisation. Mark Meechan, a “comedian and free speech activist” who posted a video showing his girlfriend’s dog giving Nazi salutes in response to the words “gas the Jews”, joined the party last year.
George Soros is slandered and assailed by nationalists and right-wing extremists. Why? Because the rich Jewish philanthropist believes passionately in liberal values and social democracy and Neo-Nazis.
Meanwhile, children of neo-Fascist parents are increasingly referred to the Prevent radicalisation programme. Last December, Adam Thomas and Claudia Patatas, who named their son Adolf, were convicted and imprisoned for being members of a banned Neo-Nazi group. A pro-EU couple I know were demonstrating peacefully outside parliament, when some hi-vis bullies called them “Jew scum”. Such fascist creep seems to get little attention from leading anti-Semitism watchers such as MPs Margaret Hodge and Louise Ellman who readily and rightly call out left-wing anti-Semites.
Peace was promised and kept across Europe after the Second World War. The EU was set up to ensure Nazism and fascism would be permanently debilitated, and adherents – white, Christian supremacists – would be banished to the swampy fringes of society and go extinct. “Never again” was the promise made by honourable democrats from left to respectable right. Sadly, those desensitising, noxious malignancies festered, and now infect and sicken mainstream political life.
Hard-right on the march
The hard-right is surging in North and South America, also in Italy, Sweden, Denmark, France, Germany, the UK, Austria, Holland, Hungary and Poland and elsewhere. A Reuters poll predicts that rightwing populist parties will increase their seats from 78 to 119 in the European Parliament elections later this year. Steve Bannon, the “disrupter” of established democratic systems and once Donald Trump’s trusted ally, is now backing European populist cabals and coalitions.
This is happening on our continent which suffered immeasurably between 1933 and 1945 under the Third Reich.
Jewish people today, even those with power, influence and wealth carry memories of appalling suffering and scapegoating in their blood which stirs quickly when they sense some of that bad past is returning. They get it. They know ethnic and religious hatreds are always with us, easily aroused and murderous.
Times are bad for minorities
Thirty years ago this February, The Satanic Verses inflamed passions around the world. For millions of Muslims the book had violated their scared faith (I have never shared that view, but I understood their pain). Many non-Muslims, including my liberal friends, turned savagely against the objectors. Dr Shabir Akhtar, an academic, wrote in a newspaper column of his fear that Muslims would be the next to be burned in the gas ovens of Europe. I thought this was absurdly paranoid. Now it doesn’t seem so outlandish.
In the murky fantasies of a modern-day fascist, Islam is irredeemably evil, all Muslims, enemies within fighting an anti-West war. The integrated are Trojan horses; the wilfully segregated are running terrorist cells or grooming gangs. It would be dishonest to deny that there are alienated and destructive Muslims around us. But the hard-right does not distinguish between the good, bad and the blameless. To them, we are all vermin.
The late Rabbi Hugo Gryn was sent to Auschwitz when he was a teenager. His younger brother was killed. I respected him hugely. One thing he said comes back to me often: “We tried to disappear, not draw too much attention. It isn’t about rights or justice. You do what you must to survive. That doesn’t make you untrue to yourself or your people, just shrewd. When times are bad, that’s what is needed.” I wish my fellow believers understood that times are really bad for us. That we should be less conspicuous, more connected to outsiders, less demanding, more compromising, less solipsistic and much cannier. We should take on the anti-Semites in our communities and educate our young about old and new fascism. I know some prominent British Jews are unforgivably racist towards Muslims – but many more feel a bond with us and are on our side.
This year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day will be more resonant than ever because Europe is going through another pre-fascist chapter. Millions died so Hitler and his pernicious ideology could be defeated. Should Jews, Muslims, other minorities and good Europeans not unite and carry on that fight? Are we that weak, divided and pathetic?
Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/opinion/new-fascism-neo-nazis/