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Saturday, 19 May 2012

Yad Vashem - the top tourist attraction for Europe’s neo-Nazi and far-Right politicians.


It’s becoming quite a habit.  No visit to Israel by assorted neo-Nazis and far-Rightists is complete without an obligatory visit to Yad Vashem.  It’s strange that a delegation of such people, in an Israel bristling with security and intelligence, was not spotted beforehand.  After all, Israeli intelligence takes great care to spot any possible peace activists trying to enter the country.  Surely a delegation consisting of prominent European politicians, members of the European Parliament etc. isn’t that hard to spot?  Truth is that Yad Vashem, dedicated to using the holocaust as Israel’s primary justification, is quite happy to host such people.  It began with John Vorster, the South African Prime Minister, interned during the war for neo-Nazi sympathies during his 1976 visit.  The following article gives a good account of how Vorster was welcomed to Israel by Yitzhak Rabin of the Israeli Labour Party:

When the South African prime minister John Vorster made a state visit to Israel in April 1976, it began with a tour of Yad Vashem, Israel's major Holocaust memorial, where the late Yitzhak Rabin invited the onetime Nazi collaborator, unabashed racist and white supremacist to pay homage to Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

Compared, say, to routine outcries from organized Jewry over often even mild whiffs of Holocaust controversy, no less remarkable was the bland equanimity both Israeli and diaspora Jews also displayed toward the Vorster visit.

Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi recalls [The Israeli Connection, Random House: Toronto, 1987, p.x]:

"For most Israelis, the Vorster visit was just another state visit by a foreign leader. It did not draw much attention. Most Israelis did not even remember his name, and did not see anything unusual, much less surreal in the scene [an old Nazi diehard invited to 'mourn' the victims at a Holocaust memorial]: Vorster was just another visiting dignitary being treated to the usual routine."

The old Nazi collaborator was graciously welcomed by his hosts. The South African leader left Israel four days later -- after signing a number of friendship treaties between the Jewish state and South Africa's racist, apartheid regime. A denouement Leslie and Andrew Cockburn describe in Dangerous Liaison [Stoddart Publishing: Toronto, 1991, pp. 299 - 300]:
This took place on Tuesday, 7.12.2010, just prior to their leaving for the Knesset. KGS
Pictured are Marc Doll  of Germany’s Freedom Party Die Frieheit, Filip DeWinter  of Vlaams Belang, a Flemish far-right party, René Stadtkewitz  of Die Freiheit,  Heinz-Christian Strache leader of the neo-Nazi Austrian Freedom Party (FPO),  David Lasar (FPÖ); Haim Muehlstein (shady far-right Israeli settler/businessman); Eliezer “Cheetah” Cohen (a Likud MK);
Hans Christian Strache
Rabbi Nissim Zeev
René Stadtkewitz
David Lasar Jewish member of FPO
 "The old Nazi sympathizer came away with bilateral agreements for commercial, military, and nuclear cooperation that would become the basis for future relations between the two countries."

Leaving unmentioned Vorster's wartime internment for supporting Germany, Israel's prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, hailed the South African premier as a force for freedom and made no mention of Vorster's past as he toured the Jerusalem memorial to the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis. At a state banquet, Rabin toasted "the ideals shared by Israel and South Africa: the hopes for justice and peaceful coexistence". Both countries, he said, faced "foreign-inspired instability and recklessness".
On Tuesday May 15th members of the Knesset met with mutual friends in the European parliament.  Israel's delegation was led by Rabbi Nissim Zeev of the Oriental Shas Party, who believes in setting up ‘treatment centres’ for people who are gay and Lia Shemtov from Yisrael Beiteinu, another government party.  Accompanying them was Gershon Mesika, head of the Samaria Settlements Council and Professor Hillel Weiss, a man whose publisher describes how “in his provocative and unconventional approach, challenges the very basic politically correct terms such as human rights, democracy and racism.

There to make up the numbers was David Ha’ivri of Israel’s very own neo-Nazi party, Kach.  Haviri's speciality is desecrating mosques as well as being an adviser and spokesman for Mesika.
The conference was appropriately enough entitled “Peace in the Middle East.”  No doubt many Shaloms were said!  Also attending was Andreas Molzer of the neo-Nazi Austrian Freedom Party (FPO).  Molzer has been instrumental in creating a far- right block in the European Parliament, including within it the Front Nationale and Belgium's fascist Vlaams Belang.

Co-hosting the conference was Philip Claeys, an MEP for Vlaams Belang and Fiorella Provera MEP of Italy’s Lega Nord.  Provera is also busy organising another conference in northern Italy next month entitled “The Secular State and Sharia Law in Western Democracies.” Mesika, Zeev, Molzer et al are proposed speakers at the event.

Austria’s Jewish community was not happy with Molzer meeting with Israeli government politicians. The chief rabbi, Paul Chaim Eisenberg, wrotea private letter  to Nissim Zeev urging him not to attend and explaining why the FPO is a fascist party.  Zeev not only ignored the letter but he handed it over to Molzer!  And Zionists object when one points out that collaboration with Nazis is not something new!

But Nissim Zeev isn't an isolated far-right maverick.  Danny Danon and Ayoub Kara of Likud have been keen to forge similar alliances and meet up with neo-Nazis and the European far-right.  Danon and Kara are not mavericks or fringe figures.  Kara is deputy minister for the development of the Negev and the Galilee, and is close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, while Danon is a deputy speaker of the Knesset and chairman of the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs.

Kara met in December with the leader of the FPO, Heinz-Christian Strache.  The head of Austria’s Jewish community, Ariel Muzicant, wrote in a letter to Netanyahu that Kara had “stabbed Austrian Jews in the back.”  It has to be said that this is pure naivety.  The sooner Europes Jewish communities come to terms with the fact that Zionism has always seen anti-Semitism as an opportunity not a threat the safer they will be.  That Jews do not belong in a diaspora and should live in Israel is one of the key foundation stones of the Zionist movement.

Of course Kara and Strache share a hatred of Islam. Kara justified his meeting with Strache on the grounds that his party was not anti-Semitic. They are just anti-Islam!

Likewise far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party (these fascists love the title ‘Freedom Party’ whilst doing their best to snuff it out). Wilders was invited to Israel by Arye Eldad of the National Union.  Previously Wilder's party played a significant part in the prohibition of Jewish ritual slaughter of animals in The Netherlands.  It is difficult to ban hallal meat and at the same time allow kosher meat.

And for any naive reader who believes that their main concern is cruelty to animals, we should remember that the first legislative act directed against Germany’s Jews was the banning of the slaughter of kosher meat in 1933.

As the Jerusalem Post noted  
‘The flirtation of the Israeli Right with xenophobic European politicians causes difficulties for many Jewish communities in the Diaspora that are deeply uncomfortable with anti-immigration policies. However, one would not expect Eldad and like-minded politicians to dwell too much on the concerns of Diaspora Jewry: After all, it has been an article of faith for many on the Israeli Right that Jews belong in Israel and not in Europe.’   
 This is of course disingenous.  It has been an article of faith of Zionism – left and right – that Jews do not belong where they live.  To give but one example.  Jacob Klatzkin, co-editor of the Zionist Organisation paper Die Welt from 1909-1911 and editor in chief of the Encyclopaedia Judaica believed, according to Shulamit Volkov ‘Germans, Jews, Anti-Semites’, wrote about anti-Semitism that ‘if we deny this antagonism all its justification, then we also deny our own identity as a Volk.’  The concept of a Volk, was dear to the heart of German nationalists and the Nazis.  It is not so much a nation as a people in touch with their soil – the concept of ‘blut and bloden’.  Klatzkin also wrote that ‘The contribution of our enemies is in the continuance of Jewry in Eastern Europe. One ought- to appreciate the national service which the Pale of Settlement performed for us... we ought to be thankful to our oppressors that they closed the gates of assimilation to us and took care that our people were concentrated and not dispersed.' Klatzkin 'Crisis' Decision! p.62. 

Kara has stated openly that since right-wing leaders are “fighting our enemies, we should back them.” This is the basis of Anders Breivik’s manifesto claim that Israel was a “frontline citadel” in the campaign against Islam. By their friends shall ye know them!

As even the right-wing Jerusalem Post asks:   
‘What is one to make of Danon’s foolish support for American broadcaster Glenn Beck, who is not even an elected politician? This is a man who has alienated large swathes of American Jewry with his unsophisticated attack on the US Reform Movement. Danon’s support for Beck is based on his ardent support for Israeli settlement of the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Is the Israeli settler movement so desperate for friends that it needs Beck’s support? It is troubling that Netanyahu has effectively acquiesced to the reckless activity of his Likud colleagues, by his lack of leadership on this issue.’   
 Lack of leadership is of course one description.  The other description is that Danon does what Netanyahu would like to do.


Posted on March 13, 2011 by Richard Bartholomew 

Newsweek recently had an article on some right-populist European politicians in Israel:

To the casual observer, the visiting Europeans at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial in the hills above Jerusalem, looked like any other foreign delegation….
But these were no ordinary travelers with Zionist sympathies. Rather, on this trip to Israel were a Belgian politician known for his contacts with SS veterans, an Austrian with neo-Nazi ties, and a Swede whose political party has deep roots in Swedish fascism…

The delegation formed part of a group called “European Counterjihad”, and the visit was described by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff at the time:

Unlike most dignitaries who visit Yad Vashem, our delegation lay its wreath in the Valley of the Communities, which is a massive 2.5 acre monument literally dug out of natural bedrock.  According to Newsweek, officials at Yad Vashem were not aware of their presence. Newsweek notes the following participants:

Heinz-Christian Strache, head of the Austrian Freedom Party; Filip Dewinter, head of Belgium’s ultranationalist Vlaams Belang; René Stadtkewitz, founder of the German Freedom Party; and Kent Ekeroth, the international secretary for the Sweden Democrats, a populist anti-immigration party.

Sabaditsch-Wolff adds to this list of delegates Hilmar Kabas and Andreas Mölzer (both of the Austrian Freedom Party), and Marc Doll (0f the German Freedom Party). A couple of political “colleagues” also appear in photographs, but are unnamed; a post on PI (in a post since deleted for some reason) further adds David Lasar (var. David Lazar), who is also with the Austrian Freedom Party.

The delegation met some Israeli politicians:
…The mayor of Ashkelon, Benny Vaknin… invited us to City Hall, where we had the opportunity to introduce ourselves and the members of the delegation.

Vaknin is pictured with Eliezer “Cheetah” Cohen, a National Union MK. This was followed by a trip to Ariel:

Following a tour of the university center, we were invited to meet the mayor of Ariel, Ron Nachman, who is also the city’s founder.

Further:

The Austrian MSM as well as the political Left (including official Austrian Jewry) have been unable to deal with Strache’s trip to Israel. Ariel Muzicant, the president of the Austrian Jewish community, has gone so far as to ask the Israeli ambassador to Austria for assurances that no Israeli politician meet with Strache and his delegation. Muzicant now has a problem: Not just a politician met him, but several, and he was also received by a close confidante of prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu, deputy minister Ayoub Kara.

In the Knesset the delegations held discussions with a prominent member of the Shas party, Rabbi [Nissim] Zeev, and met with Giora Fortis, the former military adviser to Israeli president Chaim Herzog, now press officer of the Knesset.

A visit to the small museum honoring Gush Katif, a former Israeli settlement in the Gaza Strip, ended the 100-hour-long visit to Israel. Paul Weston and I were able to deliver our speeches, interrupted only by the arrival of Deputy Minister for Development of the Negev and Galilee, Ayoub Kara, who gave a short speech in which he supported the new European Right.

Newsweek adds the detail that the trip to Yad Vashem was arranged by a ”right-wing Israeli businessman named Chaim Muehlstein” (var. Haim Muehlstein). Details of this person are scarce, although he was mentioned in a Die Spiegel article about Stadtkewitz in January:

…Stadtkewitz is headed for Copenhagen to attend the international conference of the Free Press Society, a group critical of Islam.
…Stadtkewitz is standing at the window, looking out at Copenhagen under a blanket of snow. A short man in a black suit taps him on the shoulder: Chaim Muehlstein from Israel.

“We are pinning our hopes on you, here in Europe,” says Muehlstein, “you and the other parties.”
Stadtkewitz smiles, looking inspired.

2 comments:

Gert said...

”(these fascists love the title ‘Freedom Party’ whilst doing their best to snuff it out)”

Precisely.

To see Filip Dewinter having his mugshot taken in Yad Vashem frankly makes my blood boil. Vlaams Belang is the direct descendant of the openly fascist (and trust me: they didn’t like Jews one little bit) Vlaams Blok, a party riddled with Nazi collaborators and their offspring. Like so many of these brownshirt parties they tried to clean up their act with a new name and a new enemy (Islamophobia is now basically as socially acceptable in much of Europe as antisemitism once was). To my fellow citizens I’ll give modest credit for maintaining the so-called ‘cordon sanitaire’, an unwritten pact between all mainstream political parties to never enter into coalition with VB.

And still so many European Zionists, including Zionist Jews, seem to have a blind spot for this classical switch and bait.

Kevin Wade said...

To the casual observer, the visiting Europeans at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial in the hills above Jerusalem, looked like any other foreign delegation. But these were no ordinary travelers with Zionist sympathies.

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