Sunday, September 14, 2008

Diana West on Pro-Köln

I’ve written previously about the Pro-Köln movement and the group called Cities Against Islamisation, which will stage a demonstration for next Saturday in Cologne against a planned mega-mosque in the city.

Pro-Köln is a source of controversy among right-wing anti-jihad activists because it includes among its participants members of the Front National (France), the British National Party, and the FPÖ (Austria). For those inclined to paint the European political landscape with broad strokes of primary color, this proves that the Pro-Köln is “fascist” or “neo-Nazi”.

The reality is, of course, quite different from this simplistic picture. We would all do well to take a page from John Kerry and consider a more “nuanced” viewpoint of the situation in Europe.

Diana West has some excellent observations on this topic in her blog. Some excerpts:

On September 20, a European group called Cities Against Islamisation is sponsoring a demonstration called “No to Islamisation” in Cologne/Koln, Germany. Although the demonstration has been planned for some time, just last month the city council there approved controversial plans to construct a mega-mosque and surrounding Islamic complex in this ancient city famed for its skyline dominated for centuries by the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe.


Why this acid campaign to destroy with slanderous and empty buzzwords some of the only politicians in the world with the guts to stand up in the public square (literally, and, as only partly indicated in the picture above, at great physical risk) and try to turn back the Islamic colonization of Europe — a trend which, as Bernard Lewis has famously predicted, barring change, will likely be complete by the end of this century. I speak here specifically about Filip Dewinter, Mario Borghezio and Heinz-Christian Strache, each of whom I interviewed this past summer in Antwerp, Brussels and Vienna respectively. I am not familiar with the two Germans and I will address Le Pen below.

Dewinter, Borghezio and Strache are not “racist-fascist” leaders. They are, in their very different styles, leaders — very popular (but not in the press!) elected leaders — who are bravely combating the smugly dictatorial, entrenched, leftist establishments of Europe which, as Bat Ye’or has explained in Eurabia and elsewhere, have made common cause with the Islamic world, exchanging their Western heritage for power and oil. Dewinter, Borghezio and Strache are all Euro-skeptics, meaning they oppose the sovereignty-gobbling European Union. Dewinter and Borghezio are doubly revolutionary in that they also represent the secessionist movements of Flanders and Northern Italy that want independence from Belgium and Italy respectively. ( Here is an astute appraisal of Lega Nord, Vlaams Belang and the trend of “localism” in Europe by my good friend Paul Belien.) “Racist”? “Fascist”? Did I say the LGF post was ridiculous and poisonous? It’s equally absurd and outrageous.
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The very concept of fighting Nazism, no less than the very concept of fighting jihad, never loses credibility. But this overarching concern for “credibility” — in the eyes of whom? I wonder — appears to be of greater concern to those of the LGF ilk than fighting jihad.

That said, I don’t like Le Pen, who is also appearing at the September 20 event. I can’t even tell you what he stands for. (Last I heard, he was effectively pro-Islamization so long as Muslims speak French, so I can’t imagine what his contribution to an anti-Islamization rally might be.) Last summer in Brussels, I also interviewed Carl Lang, a member of European Parliament for Le Pen’s Front National, and concluded that this political party is in total disarray, and that the 80-year-old Le Pen himself will probably have to retire before any coherent anti-Islamization movement has a chance of evolving out of the political group Le Pen will eventually leave behind. (Coincidentally, Le Pen announced this week he will effectively retire in 2010.) Last summer, when I asked Filip Dewinter about the upcoming event in Cologne/Koln, Le Pen wasn’t even on the list of invitees. I don’t pretend to follow the internal machinations of the group Cities Against Islamisation, so I can’t explain how or why Le Pen came to be added to the list, but again, in the face of “racist-fascist” hysteria, I keep thinking of the analogy of FDR, Winnie and hideous “Uncle Joe.” Who’s on which side here?

Speaking of sides, I find it quite telling that in addition to the hysterical opposition of LGF, there are a couple of other groups also voicing opposition to the protest in Cologne/Koln — albeit in a more measured (!) tone. The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has come out against the protest, and Iran, an OIC member, has separately lodged some kind of official complaint with EU President Sarkozy actually asking him to prevent this free assembly of Europeans from taking place.

LGF, OIC and Iran vs. Filip Dewinter, Mario Borghezio, Heinz-Christian Strache (and I couldn’t care less about Le Pen who at least hasn’t murdered 20 million people a la Stalin). I know which side I’m on.


Hesperado said...

I notice in this essay no mention of Robert Spencer's recent defamation on September 12 of the Cologne demonstration, in his Jihad Watch article titled The Cologne conference and European fascism.

This is how Spencer frames his rejection of the Cologne demonstration:

"we do not support European neo-fascism or race supremacism"

And Spencer has been on record more than once vilifying Filip Dewinter and Vlaams Belang, even though Christine over at the 910 Group long ago meticulously and scrupulously marshalled all the evidence and argumentation for a cogent defense of them.

Fjordman said...

Spencer is a reasonable man and can be debated with in a rational manner even on the occasions where I disagree with him. I have no problems with continuing my posts at Jihad Watch.

Little Green Footballs is more difficult. I know many people think the spat with LGF was only about petty personal issues, but there were very real and important ideological issues at stake. Multiculturalism is anti-Europeanism at heart, or anti-everything-European. If LGF-ers are so passionately anti-European, they can never really criticize globalist Multiculturalism since they agree with much of its substance.

There is also an important battle between the "counter-Jihadists" who falsely believe there is a moderate Islam (among them LGF) and those who know this is a myth (us). To the former group, guys like us appear to be dangerous extremists.

Anonymous said...


Though Spencer does not take the position I wish he would about these political parties in Europe, I understand why he does not. Spencer wants to just stay out of the whole fray because he wants to keep his credibility. He is a highly respected scholar of Islam, which can only help our side. It seems to me that he doesn't want to make any enemies--there's quite a split in the counterjihad movement right now and he does not wish to take sides. And in your linked article, Spencer himself does not mention Dewinter.

I do see what you're saying, but try to remember that Spencer (and by association all of us) will lose a lot of credibility if he is linked to Le Pen, for example. I personally don't like Le Pen, but if there ever comes a day when I have to ally with him, so be it. But until then, I do prefer to keep my distance.

Anonymous said...

And, along with what Fjordman said, Spencer is very rational and can be reasoned with. He also does not believe in a form of moderate Islam, unlike those at LGF.

Conservative Swede said...

Robert Spencer is a reasonable man, but he's not using his reason when it comes to alleged euro-fascists. He's driven by fear, fear of being labeled a Nazi, or the kind, himself. I agree with Erich that his behaviour is very disappointing. But it has to be said that he does this in a defensive way. Only in reaction to attacks from LGF. He never actively goes after "euro-fascists".

Natalie, regarding "credibility", pay attention to what Diana West says. Doesn't mean that what you said doesn't apply (since it was said with reference to Spencer). But it provides an interesting perspective, doesn't it?

Anyway, if we can make a case for allying with Le Pen (under certain circumstances), in spite of his imperfection, I'm sure we will also be able to keep good relations with Robert Spencer, in spite of his imperfection.

And yeah, great article by Diana West. There are still a few ones around that are good on all issues. Such as her and Serge Trifkovic.

Henrik R Clausen said...

As for Spencer, I think it'd be wise if he would be more specific than some vague 'Euro-fascism' - which we here on the continent never even heard of - but which is quite effective at scaring people of lesser knowledge.

He seems a bit timid about launching countercharges against such suspicions, though. My favorite is "Slander!" - that what is being hurled at me is malicious, defamatory and false, and in principle actionable under the law.

When my opponents see the Big Gun of the Law starting to point their own direction, they usually shut up pretty fast :)

nimbus said...

I understand the position of both sides. Someone on here, however, made the excellent allegory that most normal folks would never associate with the likes of the KKK or the Black Panthers, but if your house is burning down, and they offer to dowse the flames, are you going to say no? Of course not, you take whatever help you can. So it is in Europe. Ideally the mainstream parties should be dealing with the Islamic threat...but none of them do. They will eventually FORCE people to choose the less savory parties because their house is burning down and there's no on else to help them.

One good thing to come out of voting for the so-called unsavory parties NOW, would be that it's the only way to make the mainstream parties sit up and take notice...because they're sure not doing it now.

Fjordman said...

CS: Diana West is great. I also like Eldad in Israel. I hope he becomes the next Israeli PM. One can only hope....

laller said...

I really hate these "if your house is burning" or "we allied ith the commies against nazism" comparisons, as they are open to the "we aren't at that point yet" response.
If you're gonna use the second world war, then ask the question if it was correct to wait untill Germany invaded Poland(for European intervention, and Pearl Harbour for US intervention), or if intervention should have happened sooner? Why do we always have to wait till (millions of) lives are at stake?
If you're gonna use the "housefire" argument, then instead ask if you would heed the advice of a klansman, if he pointed out a major fire risk, instead. The point is, again, why wait till the house is on fire?

As for Robert Spencer, personally I think there's a kind of disconnect between what he "says" and what he "writes" (and what he "allows" Hugh Fitzgerald to write). I'm not sure he's certain what leg to stand on to be honest.

Czechmade said...

I think it is much more simple:

If one of these guys uttered something remotely outrageous now, 10 years or even 20 years ago, it will be quoted mercilessly and linked to Spencer.

Now Spencer has a "free choice" to become an expert on Dewinter, Haider etc. to know exactly what risk he is going to run backing them.

And this is extremely time have to know in advance a lot before getting engaged in a public debate.

Bert said...

@nimbus: I also had a sharp look at both sides. But most of those "so-called unsavory parties" are Conservative parties (like VB, the PVV, FPÖ and the late Fortuyn), who support Israël (without posing), the USA, justice and law, pro small government, free speech, free market, and the --since early eighties, or in VB's case since 1830-- oppressed native populations. They are also the only true EU-sceptics around.

These Conservative parties are ostricized by the "mainstream-parties", the press, the militant left ("Anti"Fascists and Autonomous, the real heirs of Fascist and Nazi ideology) and Islamists alike, who all want the opposite.

So why, with all respect, wait for failed and incompetent dhimmies to choose sides? They already did! They locked their fingers deep in their Eustachian Tubes, and stamp their feet on the "ban", "prosecute" or "send out the AFA" button.

Western Initiatives said...

I'm not sure this is such an important part of the crisis. It is irrelevant, really, to what is happening on the ground. Focusing on cranky personalities can be a diversion.

Calling European nationalist parties nasty little names is an excuse for people Western liberals like Spencer and CJ to do nothing. It is a way for them to banish everyone else from the playing field. Spencer and CJ are trying to forge writing careers, so OF COURSE they will accuse the competition of nastiness.

In the end, I consider the good people at VB and BNP (among others) to be much more authoritative on the issue of Islam and third world immigration, than the sofa samurai like Spencer and CJ.

Joanne said...

I'm marking my calendar - please keep us briefed.