How Merkel’s mistakes are empowering anti-Semites.

Two days before the leaders of European far-right parties met in Koblentz on January 21, one of the leaders of Germany’s far-right AfD party made clear why so many people fear the rise of nationalist forces in Europe.

Speaking at a rally in Dresden, Bjorn Hocke, AfD’s state leader in Thuringia, attacked the Holocaust memorial in Berlin. In his words, “Germans are the only people in the world who plant a monument of shame in the heart of the capital.”

Hocke likened German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Eric Honecker, the last leader of East Germany. The crowd responded by chanting, “Merkel must go!” Hocke insisted there must be a “180-degree turnaround” in the way Germany remembers its past. “This laughable policy of coming to terms with the past is crippling us,” he said.

Recalling the Allied bombing of Dresden, Hocke argued that Germany’s current policy claims that in World War II “there were no German victims, only German perpetrators.” This, he argued, is unjust.

Some of Hocke’s party colleagues criticized his remarks. But reported criticisms did not relate to the substance of what he said. Rather his fellow AfD leaders criticized him for making statements that could scare German voters away.

Frauke Petry, Hocke’s party leader, participated in the Koblentz conference. Sitting next to her fellow nationalist European leaders, Petry was the belle of the ball. Holland’s Geert Wilders, whose Freedom Party is expected to win the Dutch elections in March, and France’s Marine Le Pen, who is now leading national polls ahead of April’s presidential elections, both enthused that Petry is the future of Germany.

AfD enjoys the support of between 10%-15% percent of German voters. It is expected to gain seats in the Bundestag for the first time in September’s general elections.

The AfD’s rise has been sudden. It was formed in 2013 and in its short history it has siphoned off voters from nearly every party in Germany. In the 2014 elections for the European Parliament AfD shocked Germany’s political establishment when it won 7.1% of the vote.

In 2015 it won big victories in regional elections. In Merkel’s home state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania it outperformed the chancellor’s CDU party with 20.8% of the vote. It even won 14.2% of the vote in normally left-wing Berlin.

Like its European counterparts, whose leaders shared a stage in Koblentz with Petry on Saturday, AfD’s steady empowerment is based in large part on its stalwart opposition to Islamic immigration and its concomitant rejection of the intellectual constraints of political correctness and the cultural restraints of multiculturalism.

AfD’s barely disguised xenophobia and Nazi sympathies make its empowerment disconcerting.

It also points to the fact that not all far-right parties are the same.

Le Pen, for instance has taken drastic steps to separate her National Front party from the antisemitic and fascist roots her father Jean-Marie Le Pen planted.

Wilders has adopted a decidedly pro-American and pro-Israel platform and record.

In Germany, though, the situation is different.

There are many causes for the absence of a nationalist party in Germany that is bereft of Nazi sympathies.

Two are particularly worth noting.

First there is Angela Merkel and the political establishment she represents. The AfD’s rise is a direct consequence of the German political establishment’s refusal to consider the wishes of German voters along a whole spectrum of issues. On immigration specifically, rather than listen to her critics Merkel and her allies denounce them as racists and treat them as criminals.

For instance, as Judith Bergman reported last week at the Gatestone Institution website, in July 2016, 30 people had their homes raided by German police for publishing anti-immigration posts online.

When thousands of German women were raped by Muslim immigrants during the public celebration of New Year’s Eve in Cologne last year, German authorities went to great lengths to cover up and deny what had happened. The Cologne police took several days to acknowledge or begin investigating what had happened. For four days, the German media delayed reporting what had happened.

In September 2015 Merkel was caught on a hot microphone excoriating Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for not erasing anti-immigration posts from Facebook fast enough.

If Merkel spent more time listening to her constituents and less time rejecting their right to their entirely rational opinions, the AfD would probably not be so powerful today. In all likelihood, AfD politicians wouldn’t be embarrassed when their colleague mouthed off about Holocaust memorials because their constituents wouldn’t include anyone who had a problem with people like Hocke.

Even if Merkel was willing to listen though, she would still have to worry about Germans that yearn for the glory days of Hitler and the Third Reich.

This then leads us to the second reason for the resonance of Nazi messaging in Germany and beyond.

In 1945 the Nazis were defeated and Nazism was outlawed in Germany and throughout Europe. But whereas the peoples of Europe were prohibited from denying the fact of the Holocaust, they were never required to conduct a true moral reckoning with what happened. Criminalizing Holocaust denial and outlawing Nazi parties, while reasonable on their own terms, mistook the symptoms of Nazism with the cause of Nazism.

Europeans have been schooled to view the Nazi period as a unique phenomenon unrelated to anything that happened either before 1933 or after 1945.

But the opposite is true.

Adolf Hitler and his Nazis and their collaborators throughout Europe didn’t spring from nothing. They were the natural outcome of centuries of European antisemitism. Their genocidal obsession with the Jewish people was a natural progression of a hatred that predated Christianity, and was an integral part of Europe’s development through the ages.

The way to block the Nazis from rising on the Right is to correct both Merkel’s mistake and the larger mistake of the leaders of Europe since 1945.

Merkel empowers Nazi forces by preventing liberal democracy, predicated on limited government, individual freedom and equal protection under the law, from developing in Germany. By demonizing and criminalizing her critics, she forces lawful citizens into the open arms of the political fringe, which resonates their concerns.

More generally, Europe itself facilitates the rise of antisemitism as a political force on the Right and Left by conflating European rejection of Jews with a more general, and less meaningful, problem of racism. You do not fight hatred of Jews by pretending away its significance and its roots that go back as far as European civilization itself. You do not block the resurgence of Nazism by pretending that European antisemitism was born the day Adolf Hitler came to power.

There is a tendency to believe that all nationalist movements are alike. But this is not true. Each nationalist movement is a reflection of the specific nation it represents. For European nationalists and globalists alike to avoid the fascism that captivated their grandparents, they need to embrace liberal values and meaningfully reject Jew hatred in all its forms.

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post


Anti-Semitism and the Native American Genocide

As a child I watched hundreds of Westerns and played hours upon hours of Cowboys and Indians. I was born in the United States and marveled at the exploits of both sides, courageous, tragic, emboldened, displaying all the pathos of the American experience. At that tender young age, I really had no idea that I was playing out in full regalia, cowboy hats on the one day and bows and arrows on the other, the genocide of Native Americans. As a Jew, having imbibed the Holocaust from birth, it is clear that I should have been far more sensitive. But it was all so innocent for the non-Native American youth of America – Hollywood had done its part, as had James Fennimore Cooper, Buffalo Bill and a host of others.

Not only was I unaware of the degree of slaughter of American Indians, but I further had no idea that one of the greatest admirers of the American Cowboy was an Austrian-German by the name of Adolf Hitler. In fact, Hitler was not only an admirer of the Cowboy, he was a consummate student of the genocide of Native Americans.  Adolf Hitler would draw on the lessons learned in America to design the trains and the concentration camps that would lead to the butcher of millions of Jews as well as homosexuals, gypsies and other undesirables of the nascent Nazi Empire.

In an eye-opening article by Lia Mandelbaum, entitled Hitler’s Inspiration and Guide: The Native American Holocaust, the encouragement for the expediency of Hitler’s Final Solution is outlined in frightening detail. The article concentrates on both the 1864 relocation of the Navajos and the Mescalero Apaches in a camp called Bosque Redondo, a isolated and forsaken patch of New Mexico territory. During the 300 mile walk, hundreds died and thousands more found their demise in the camp itself – men, women and children.

This story is recounted in the 1985 documentary, Broken Rainbow. It is also told that Adolf Hitler studied the plans of the Bosque Redondo  in order to design the Nazi concentration camps. According to historian John Toland, Hitler praised the extermination of the “red savages” by the means of starvation and uneven combat. Toland further explains that “Hitler’s concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of United States history.”

Indeed, Mandelbaum writes that Hitler had first considered marching the Jews off to a large reservation near Lubin where they would be left to their own, to die of starvation and disease, a model he had learned from the Native American genocide.

Hitler was not the only rabid anti-Semite to usurp the narrative of the Native Americans for the purpose of destroying the Jewish people; in a twist, the return of the people of Israel to their ancestral homeland has enraged Muslims throughout the better part of one hundred years.

Deploying historical fabrication and an total distortion of this return has been the chief propaganda tool of Arab leaders throughout the Middle East, and specifically has become the official party line of the Palestinian attempt to eradicate the modern State of Israel.

As such, they have tried to appropriate the tragic extermination of Native Americans as representative of their own state of affairs. The facts simply do not matter when the extermination of the Jews is the goal. Palestinians enjoy a greater overall standard of living than the rest of the Arab Middle East and their numbers in Israel have increased from the low hundreds of thousands to millions since the Zionist enterprise achieved Jewish statehood. The suggestion that they are victims of ethnic cleansing as were American Indians offers a powerful soundbyte and, indeed, has been  accepted by some Native Americans themselves.

Fortunately, many more Native Americans are not at all willing to buy the story and, in actuality, are great supporters of the State of Israel. Rachel Abraham discusses the important Jewish and Israeli support of Native Americans and the equally important support of most Native Americans for Israel.

In a most telling statement, Abraham quotes Ryan Bellrose, a member of the Metis nation: “Our population of over 65 million was violently reduced to a mere 10 million, a slaughter unprecedented in human history. To compare that in whatever way to the Palestinians’ story is deeply offensive to me.…… they were repeatedly given the opportunity to build their state …….. and to partner with the Jews — and they persistently refused peace overtures and chose war. We were never given that chance. We never made that choice.”

There is no doubt that the genocide – the holocaust – of Native Americans has been used for evil purposes by those that would rewrite history and attempt now to destroy the Jewish people. There is also no doubt that the Jews, Israel and the Native Americans, many of which may actually have Jewish ancestral blood running in their veins, will stand together.  With courage and deep mutual understanding, two proud peoples that have survived the worst know that suffering can only build bonds between nations that must endure,  for the betterment of mankind.