Saturday, 12 April 2008

The BNP - the most Zionist of the Political Parties

On Thursday April 10th the Guardian carried a news story which, for some of us at least, was no revelation. ‘BNP seeks to bury antisemitism and gain Jewish votes in Islamophobic campaign’.· We were told by one Ruth Smeed of the Board of Deputies of British Jews that ‘The BNP website is now one of the most Zionist on the web - it goes further than any of the mainstream parties in its support of Israel’.

Of course to some people the idea that the BNP, a party started by an open holocaust denier, the late John Tyndall, was now opposed to anti-Semitism and supportive of Zionism must seem 1ike a sick joke. Maybe global warming is now having an effect on the fascists’ ability to think rationally. Yet, in fact, there is nothing at all strange about the BNP being pro-Zionist and dropping anti-Semitism.

Those who have kept up with fascist and far-Right politics will be aware of the fact that the present leadership of the BNP is determined not to make the same mistakes as the National Front did in the 1970’s when they were at one time described as the four major political party. In the West Bromwich by-election they saved their deposit, obtaining over 16% of the vote and in the GLC elections in 1976 they gained over 100,000 votes. It was to meet this threat that the Anti-Nazi League was formed (then it was a mass movement not an SWP front). A combination of mass political agitation and the cultural appeal of Rock Against Racism resulted in the NF being caught between the rock of anti-fascism and the hard stone of Thatcher. The 1979 General Election all but wiped them out and the NF subsequently imploded politically.

The lesson that Nick Griffin, has learnt has been a painful one. Jews in European society are white. Racism in its mainstream variant is anti-Black or today anti-Muslim. Racism has moved from an obsession with the immigrants from Afro-Caribbean societies to the victims of western imperialism in the Middle East. It is Muslims not Jews who are demonised. Indeed Israel is an armed watchdog of the West, at the cutting edge of imperial barbarity against non-white peoples. For the BNP to engage in solidarity with the victims of imperialism on account of their traditional hate of Jews would be an act of self-immolation. And one thing Griffin doesn’t want to do is to see the BNP self-destruct.

In what is a key article by Nick Griffin, By their fruits (or lack of them) shall you know them’ he makes his reasons for the switch to a pro-Zionist position explicitly clear:
‘When the overwhelming majority of the instinctively patriotic people of our nations feel threatened by an alien force which is self-evidently evil by Christian and democratic secular values alike, to place oneself in the position whereby our political opponents can portray you as an enemy sympathiser, a collaborator, a traitor, is political suicide.’

Historically British fascism has marked itself out as pro-Nazi. True there has always been a smattering of Tory fascists who were anti-Nazi in the anti-German sense, people like John Bean or Roy Painter, (who Martin Walker got waylaid by in his book 'The National Front') but from Moseley onwards the vast bulk of British fascism has traced its origins back to the bunkers of Berlin. In so doing they have paid a heavy price. Griffin, an ex-Cambridge graduate, is not stupid. He has looked at the success of equivalent movements in Europe – the French FN and the Italian National Alliance wistfully. These movements have been equally hostile to ‘foreigners’ without feeling the need to bow the knee at the slightest mention of Adolf. Hence why the BNP expelled Tyndall before his death and now seeks to position the BNP as a mainstream party of the nationalist right rather than the neo-Nazi right.

In so doing Griffin is doing little more than following the lead given by groups like the Ulster Defence Association and a variety of Loyalists in Northern Ireland who have always supported Israel in its ‘anti-terrorist’ fight, whereas the Republicans identified with the Palestinians. Likewise the apartheid regime in South Africa was as close as one could get with the Zionist entity yet for historical reasons, British fascism – which supported both Loyalism in Ireland and Apartheid in South Africa – nonetheless ‘supported’ the Palestinians.

The first indications of the BNP’s move was an article by its Legal Affairs Director, Lee Barnes, in the summer of 2006, when he came out openly in support of Israel’s bombing of the Lebanon. The article has since been removed from the BNP web site but it was clear at the time that it was intended to fly a kite. At that time, Israel Shamir, close friend and ‘unique and advanced thinker’ to Gilad Atzmon, engaged in an e-mail debate with Barnes. The results were not edifying. Barnes wrote of Shamir’s that
‘The only thing sadder than a self hating jew empathising with those who would cut his throat in a moment are those whites who are so eaten up by anti semitism they prostrate themselves before the islamic invaders that pollute our nation.’

To which Shamir, still dreaming of a far-right and white supremacist alliance against Zionism protested that ‘I do not feel at ease accusing you and your comrades of betraying the Britons and joining with the Jews, but if I'd keep mum, stones won't.’ In the course of this ‘debate’ Shamir accused Barnes of selling out the grand and noble traditions exemplified by Oswald Moseley of the British Union of Fascists!

What began as a toe in the water has now assumed full-scale proportions as the BNP attempts to win over a sizeable section of London’s Jewish community in the GLA elections. How successful will they be? In The Jewish Community & British Politics Geoffrey Alderman, once a radical but now a reactionary columnist for the Jewish Chronicle, noted that about 300-400 Jewish voters in Hackney North had voted for the National Front in the February 1974 General Election on the basis of anti-Black prejudices. This was at a time when the NF was widely acknowledged to be anti-Semitic. But even then it had a smattering of Jewish members, including Albert Elder in Eastbourne and Gerry Vine in Hackney. Today it has a Jewish councillor and one suspects that despite the attempts of the Jewish establishment to pour cold water on the matter, that the BNP may well succeed in doing what Le Pen’s FN has done, which is to gain proportionately more Jewish voters in the Rhone Valley than it does among non-Jewish ones.

It is therefore interesting to have a look at the BNP web site as an indication of what is happening. In an
article on Ken Livingstone, the BNP attack his connections to Muslims and in particular one Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Livingstone is attacked because Qaradawi is close to the Muslim Brotherhood, which according to the BNP has a ‘history of enthusiastic collaboration with the Nazis - including significant participation in the genocide of both Christians and Jews in Europe, during the war.’ Such is the dizzy pace of change, the BNP now condemns those who apparently collaborated with the Nazis during the war (except of course the Zionists!).

Indeed Livingstone is condemned for making ‘sick jokes about the Holocaust’ which must qualify as a good example of what is meant by chutzpah.

Indeed the BNP paints a nightmare scenario where, put under western pressure, ‘Israeli representatives cave in to international pressure and waive the demand to recognize Israel’s unique Jewish character.’ Words such as Paul and Damascus come to mind.
'Is this crazy, or is this crazy?’

Unsurprisingly some of the BNP’s members and sympathisers have found this somewhat hard to digest. Under an article entitled ‘The Wonderful world of Disney - AKA the Religion of Peace!’ about a Hamas video being shown to school children, one contributor comments that ‘I’m not sure that we should be using the Israeli Palestinian conflict for propaganda. I just think it’s a bit more complex than those pesky Islamists having a go at innocents. … We don’t need to use the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to put across the bad side of Islam. Islam does a good enough job of that already.’ To which Hilton Gray responds that ‘I cannot imagine what sort of mental state a person must be in after they have lost not just their husband and brothers but all their children to “accidental” shootings at the hands of Israeli soldiers. Or to have watched an Israeli officer empty an assault rifle magazine into the body of a 14 year old girl - my mind cannot deal with such barbarism, and I think it best we simply stay out of the whole ugly mess.’

The moderator Ed then joins in to reorientate the discussion: 'Look at the bigger picture. It is a threat the Western World faces. Israel today, where next do you think?’ To which an obviously more naïve and innocent member of the BNP, one Dissident Congress, asks: ‘Out of interest, is the BNP pro-Israeli? When I joined I was told that the BNP has no policy regarding Israel and Palestine.’

And in case DC fails to get the message then Artorius is there to help out. He explains that ‘Extermination of the Jews is a religious obligation for all Muslims, which long precedes the establishment of the state of Israel.’ which may not have the effect that is intended, since a sizeable proportion of the BNP presumably still subscribes to said obligation. We are told that:
Twice in three days, PA religious leaders have openly called for the genocide of Jews.’ And almost on cue, Artorius asks: ‘P.S. Has the BNP ever thought of attracting the Jewish vote? I realise that relations haven’t always been sweetness and light in the past, but ultimately only the removal of most of the Muslims from Britain can protect British Jews from extermination.’
The zealousness of the convert, yesterday denying the holocaust, tomorrow predicting it, is fascinating. And why stop there? He adds another postcript: ‘P.P.S Similarly with the gay/lesbian vote, which normally supports Livingstone’ citing those well known anti-fascists at Harry’s Place no less!

Indeed we told that ‘Under a BNP government gay/lesbian couples wouldn’t be able to adopt kids, but at least they’d keep their heads on their shoulders.’ which must be comforting indeed!
And after being regaled with ‘an Arabic saying I grew up with: ‘First the Saturday people and then the Sunday people.’ by one Brigitte Gabriel, Artorius then goes on to cite Pastor Martin Niemöller’s famous saying ‘First they came for the Jews’. And unlike the US Holocaust Museum in Washington, he doesn’t even omit the line which says ‘Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.’ Clearly the BNP is going to pot or Tyndall is spinning in his grave!

And in case we didn’t get the message he goes on to quote Benjamin Franklin: “We must hang together, gentlemen…else, we shall most assuredly hang separately.” Asking ‘
When are we kuffars (Jews, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Secularists) going to learn to hang together?… Israel is the Canary in the Coal Mine. Eventually the poison will engulf us all.’

It has taken a long time for Britain’s fascist right, but eventually they have managed to align their politics with the overwhelming majority of the Right. And like Arthur J Balfour and the Tory Zionists of old, the BNP are quite capable of maintaining both pro-Zionist and anti-Semitic politics. As trueblueloyalist explains: ‘While I find it unsettling that the Jewish interest has rather an excessive amount of influence in our nation’s political/financial life I really believe we need to support the Israeli state 100%. Israel is a useful tool for drawing the sting of Islamic aggression…. It devours Islamic military resources and rots the power of the Arabic nations preventing them from forming any meaningful conventional military alliance with which to attack the west.’ Which, let us face it, is a pretty accurate analysis of Israel’s role in the Middle East.

In what is a lengthy article, By their fruits (or lack of them) shall you know them (10.11.07.) Griffin explains at length why the BNP must ditch its traditional anti-Semitism in favour of something more refined and nuanced. First we must be clear who is the main enemy and the real target and he issues a warning that ‘The enemy of your old enemy may turn out not to be your friend, but something much worse.’ His opponents, the Tyndallites and old Nazis, who are so wedded to anti-Semitism, ‘are perilously close to entrenching themselves in political dead ground from which there can be no escape.’ And quoting from Karl Marx, he exclaims that: ‘Truly, they are living examples of the old adage that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, and then as farce.’ In the middle of this debate, we have the anti-Nazi pastor Niemoller and now Marx himself brought into play!
Griffin goes on to explain that:

‘When the overwhelming majority of the instinctively patriotic people of our nations feel threatened by an alien force which is self-evidently evil by Christian and democratic secular values alike, to place oneself in the position whereby our political opponents can portray you as an enemy sympathiser, a collaborator, a traitor, is political suicide.’

And that is the rub. To be seen to be aligned with Muslims today for a racist, far-right party, is political suicide. And Griffin goes on to lay into US neo-Nazis who have never built a nationwide political party:
‘The USA is, after all, the country whose ‘far-right’ leadership has consistently failed even to establish a viable national organisation…. By what monumental arrogance do such pathetic failures claim the right to criticise others…?’

Griffin also lays into those ‘Internet cockerels of the anti-Semitic new dawn’ who believe that Iraq is ‘a war for Israel, organised as part of a Jewish plot to rule the world.’ He explains to his admittedly pretty dense audience that the problem is that the BNP’s supporters, when told this will say: “great, let’s hope the Jews and Our Boys win and wipe out those limb-amputating, suicide-bombing Arab Muslims” So the problem with claiming that “We’re in the Middle East for the Jews. This is a war for Israel organised as part of a Jewish plot to rule the world” is that it ‘has precisely the opposite effect on around 90% of the population to that which we must presume is intended by those who make it’.

Griffin makes clear his view of ‘the real conspiracy nuts’ who shout that “Griffin’s sold out to the Jews, that’s why he gets media coverage and such fair treatment,” or those who though ‘slightly less hysterical but still obsessed by “the Jews”, suggest that my motivation for being so critical of Islam is the hope that “the Jewish media will go easy on the BNP.”

Griffin doesn’t deny this may be the result, rather that this isn’t his motivation. He explains that he had an ‘interesting conversation’ with one of the Judeo-obsessives who, whilst ‘at least giving me credit for not having sold my soul for a purse full of shekels from the Learned Elders … did opine that “the Jews will never treat you fairly, they hate us too much.” To which Griffin responds that ‘during the Leeds Free Speech Trial, huge sections of the British media did indeed treat us remarkably fairly’. Which is one way of putting it! And then Griffin reaches the key point of his article:

“it stands to reason that adopting an ‘Islamophobic’ position that appeals to huge 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 the hackles of virtually every single journalist in the Western world.”

And showing, it has to be said, a somewhat firmer grip on reality than Gilad Atzmon, Israel Shamir and the Rizzos of this world he explains that:
‘there is also the little matter of truth: The neo-cons are mainly Jewish, but they are not “the Jews”. When it comes to Middle Eastern policy, they are a particular faction, an unofficial overseas agitprop department of Israel’s ruling Likud party. To oppose their war is not to oppose “the Jews”, but only one group of Jews and their Christian-Zionist and plutocrat allies.’

In a section entitled ‘Jewish opponents to neo-cons’ Griffin employs heavy sarcasm in making the obvious point that:

‘any anti-Semite worth his salt could just as easily ‘prove’ that it is “the Jews” who are behind the efforts to stop those nice Christians George Bush and Dick Cheney from making the world safe for American capitalism by killing all those A-rabs and confiscating their oil. Just look at the key players in the ‘American’ anti-war movement: Within days of 9/11, Susan “the white race is the cancer of history” Sontag was widely quoted in the US media sympathising with the Saudi kamikazes.…. It may not always be Politically Correct even to name them as an ethnic group, but the plain truth is that individual Jews are prominent on both sides of this quarrel. Wow! There’s a surprise, since individual Christians, individual white atheists, and no doubt individual Red Indians find themselves in exactly the same position, on the opposite side of the war fence to their parents, siblings, cousins and childhood friends: Some for, some against, some don’t know.’

And dealing with the conspiracy theorists he takes up another of their arguments:
‘Why are a disproportionate number of Jews involved in various movements? “So they can control both sides of the argument,” is the fallback position of the doctrinaire anti-Semites, and the fact that they can shift so quickly from ignoring inconvenient facts to incorporating them in their Grand Scheme is an indicator that we are dealing here with cultist faith rather than a rational assessment of facts.’

It must be even more of a bitter pill coming from one of their own. Of course Griffin has to throw some red meat to his more neanderthal followers. And he reassures them thus:
‘This is not to say that all Jews are angels who can do no wrong. While some Jews have made valuable contributions to our civilisation, others have not. Marxism, the Frankfurt School, feminism, the multi-cult - one only has to make the most cursory study of the origin of such socially devastating movements to find radical leftists from East European Ashkenazi stock playing a vastly disproportionate role. Why? Partly because it was in their ethnic self-interest - a weak gentile society is less likely to identify and persecute Jews than certain kinds of strong one.’

Which is another way of saying, anti-Semitism is fine in its place, but don’t let it cloud your judgment when it comes to matters of high state. Which is of course little different to the old Nazi pro-Zionist position, but maybe that is too sophisticated even for Griffin!
And Griffin also demonstrates that anti-Semitism and philo-Semitism are but two sides of the same debased coin. Griffin explains the ‘reason for Jewish over-representation in all sorts of intellectual movements’. It is because ‘On average, Jews are the cleverest people on the planet. Someone had to be, after all, and a people who have been selectively bred for intelligence by internal choice and external pressure for nearly two thousand years were always more likely to be brighter than groups which valued brawn more than brains.’

And in case the brawn in the movement still doesn’t get it, Griffin patiently explains that
‘The neo-Nazi “global Jewish conspiracy” line also triggers a Pavlovian PC reaction among most educated gentiles as well. Most journalists are not directly ordered to write or to bury specific stories, they just know the kind of things that can and cannot safely be said, and inevitably they also reflect the opinions of the wider society of which they are a part.’

And although he’s wrong about there being a ‘huge peace movement in Israel’ the key point Griffin makes is unarguable (except amongst his own traditional supporters!):

We should oppose the war-mongers on grounds of what they do, not what they are. For simple propaganda reasons we should go out of our way to avoid criticism of neo-cons being portrayed as ‘anti-Semitism’ by pointing to the contra-indicators: The huge peace movement in Israel, the radical left Jews opposed to the war in Western countries, the role of other motivations and interest groups - oil, reconstruction contracts, and the vanity of individual politicians.'

What is one to make of this? The BNP as a party of the far-right is, above all, a party of imperialism and racism. It is, as Griffin makes clear, impossible to be the most clear and expicitly racist party if one’s main anger is directed against a section of Whites – the Jews – rather than Muslims who have become the main scapegoat for the war against Iraq. This is a circle which simply cannot be squared. Although much of the left even has not faced up to it, anti-Semitism is a marginal form of racism, a prejudice for the most part in Western Europe. That isn’t to say it isn’t dangerous when it rears its head but there is simply no comparison between what Muslims experience on the streets and what Jews go through. That is why one has the rednecks of the British press, people like Richard Littlejohn, shedding tears over ‘anti-Semitism’ at the same time as pillorying Palestinians as ‘pikeys’ a racist term of abuse for Gypsies.
What is perhaps most pathetic of all is when one of Atzmon and Rizzo's buddies bemoans the fact that the BNP isn’t anti-Jewish enough!

Tony Greenstein


  1. "‘Has our sharia law loving Rowan had a look at these movies?’

    This refers to the Archbishop of Canterbury. What a howler!

  2. In Germany for a long time, the fash were in an what would have up until recently to us seemed an odd position they hated the Jews, but supported Israel.

    It is difficult to say whether it is simply a case of siding with Israel because the "left autonomous" (commies and anarchos) sided with Palestine and or how much any sophisticated "diaspora bad; Zionism good" came into play intellectually, but it certainly manifested itself that way at any rate.

    But more recent developments in Germany are more worrying still.

    There is according to german spooks, a trend towards the extreme right reaching out to the extremist Islamists on the basis of their anti-Semitic rhetoric. There is now a possibility of a schism in the right with a faction occupying a 100% anti-Jewish stance.

    This mechanism seems to overlap with what Rizzo & Atzmon are introducing into the English-speaking PSM: an interpretation of solidarity that draws on Nazi themes and sets anti-Semitism as the benchmark for solidarity.

    The normalisation of racism, where the rejection of racism equals betrayal.

    It is interesting that Atzmon likes to reject the left-right polarity of politics. Exactly what I would encourage if I were trying to piss in someones punchbowl.

  3. To fartypants. Yes someone's already pointed it out about Rowan Berkeley! Covered in egg.

    In Germany, from what I know, there's the antifa who are pro-Zionist and anti-fascist, a kind of double guilt trip which means that they end up supporting racist positions abroad but also accepting that Germans as Germans were guilty for the holocaust.

    Given its history one would expect the fascist right in Germany to be anti-Jewish and even opposed to Israel. However I also suspect that the time won't be far off when an equivalent party to Le Pen's makes an appearance, pro-Zionist and playing down its anti-Semitism.

    But we should also not forget that the most right-wing of the bourgeois parties, the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (allied with the CDU) is very pro-Zionist, anti-immigrant etc. Its founder, Hans Joseph Strauss, who was of course in the Nazi Party, was ardently pro-Israel and went (along with other ex-Nazis like John Vorster) to pay homage at the yad vashem propaganda memorial.

    Tony G


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