by Gerry Emmett
Dutch Rightist Geert Wilders, who has also visited New York to attack the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” visited the West Bank settlements last month to declare that Palestinians should leave, to live in Jordan. “There already is a Palestinian state, and that state is Jordan,” he lied. Wilders, who sometimes tries to present a reasonable facade, went so far as to say there: “Without Judea and Samaria, Israel cannot protect Jerusalem. The future of the world depends on Jerusalem. If Jerusalem falls, Athens and Rome–and Paris, London and Washington–will be next.”
Wilders is attempting to create a reactionary alliance that would include both the European far Right and the American Tea Party Right. The warped history and fantasy apocalypse he expressed on the West Bank catch the exact tones of those movements.
Until the 1980s, official U.S. government policy held Israel’s West Bank settlements to be illegal. This was only reversed by the world outlaw, Reagan, at the time of the Begin government’s invasion of Lebanon.
The alliance forged with world reaction at that moment has meant one disaster after another for Israel, for Palestinians, and for Lebanon.
At the same time, representatives of four European neo-fascist parties visiting Israel published a so-called “Jerusalem Declaration” supporting Israel’s right to self-defense against what they term “Islamic terror”–which in their countries they interpret as any presence of Muslims. Filip Dewinter of Belgium’s Vlaams Belang, Heinz-Christian Strache of the Freedom Party of Austria, Kent Ekeroth of the Sweden Democrats, and René Stadtkewitz of the German Die Freiheit all represent the politics of anti-Muslim bigotry that found a home in Europe since Serbia’s President Slobodan Milosevic used it so brutally in his own interests.
According to Dewinter, “The Arab-Israeli conflict illustrates the struggle between Western culture and radical Islam.”
This latest fascist rewriting of history denies the genuine freedom struggles of the Palestinian people, which have been non-violent and creative, particularly on the West Bank, and have found support among Israeli progressives.
This was seen in the outpouring of support following the death of Bil’in resident Jawaher Abu Rahma after she was tear-gassed by the Israeli Defense Forces near protests of the “security” wall on Dec. 31.
It was also seen in the subsequent words of her mother, Sulhia Abu Rahma, “We want to live and not to die. We want to live alongside Israel, but in dignity.”
A number of these “freedom-loving” European parties trace their roots to Hitler’s Third Reich and post-World War neo-Nazi movements.
Few things could have been more shocking than the coming together of the West Bank settlers, and elements of the Israeli government, with the neo-fascist European Right. It will surely give rise to much soul-searching among thoughtful people in Israel. Israeli newspaper Haaretz correctly pointed out that these European Rightists were “trading in their Jewish demon-enemy for the Muslim criminal-immigrant model” and were visiting Israel to gain “Jewish absolution that will bring them closer to political power.”
Apparently, the West Bank settlers, Members of the Knesset and others who participated in these rallies have searched their souls and found nothing there at all, certainly no memory of actual Jewish history, or of the Shoah. Instead they chose to stand with the racist European heirs of Mussolini, Mosley and Hitler.
This sickening alliance is being recreated elsewhere. In Toronto, for example, the thugs of the English Defence League were invited to a rally at the Toronto Zionist Center by the Kahanist Jewish Defense League. This has been rightly criticized by the Canadian Jewish Congress, among other groups.