That Diabolically Clever Filip Dewinter

During the last couple of weeks the controversy over the Flemish separatist party Vlaams Belang has centered on allegations of “neo-Nazi” baggage and white supremacist tendencies among its leaders and membership. Various pieces of evidence are offered in support of these assertions: an alleged radio interview of VB leader Filip Dewinter “opposite David Duke”, the photo of a white power flag at a Vlaams Belang rally, etc.

VJW rallyMost of these allegations have been refuted. The rally in the photo (a smaller version is shown at right) turns out to have been a rally by an entirely different group, a truly racist group. Christine has been assiduously compiling the facts about this and other allegations at the CVF blog, including a report from a European reader named Cincinnatus who posted a comment here a couple of days ago, identifying the rally photo as being from a July rally of the VJW, Vlaamse Jongeren Westland. Here’s how Cincinnatus describes the group:

VJW is a repulsive mix of nationalism, socialism, anti-Israel and anti-USA (lots of burning USA flags), but mostly, as far as I can see, it is a bunch of twenty-eens who haven’t outgrown the leftist education which was pumped into them in high school…

An important point is that the VJW is no fan of the Vlaams Belang! See, for example, the 14 January 2007 entry which reads “Vlaams Belang wants to recruit new Flemings” and states that Vlaams Belang is recruiting among the Muslims!! This is much to VJW’s disapproval.

This conflation of Vlaams Belang with VJW has not been retracted, nor have any number of the other allegations which have been refuted.

The furor over VB has generated a lot of email from people who are polite and reasonable, but who are also concerned that our Counterjihad Summit was associated with such a “white supremacist” group. Below is my reply to one of these emails.

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The “shady past” of Vlaams Belang is really the shady past of earlier Flemish groups. The current party is not shady; it is simply a Flemish separatist party with widespread popular support in Flanders. The Flemings have, in my opinion, a good case for separation from Wallonia; but that is obviously a matter to be decided within Belgium via the ballot box.

As for being nationalistic — I think a resurgence of nationalism within Europe would be a good thing at this point, being the only effective strategy for blocking the Eurabian juggernaut.

But when I say this, I don’t really mean nationalism; I mean patriotism, in the sense described by George Orwell (thanks to Fellow Peacekeeper for the citation):

By “nationalism” I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labeled “good” or “bad.” But secondly — and this is much more important — I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognizing no other duty than that of advancing its interests. Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By “patriotism” I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.

A resurgence of Flemish patriotism is what is represented by Vlaams Belang. This is what is being commonly referred to as “nationalism”, and I see no objection to it. The Flemings want to defend themselves, their culture, and their homeland from what they see as an invasion of (mostly Muslim) foreigners imposed on them by people outside of Flanders.
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The “white power” accusations are without merit. Almost all of them have been proved to be erroneous or disinformation — the rally in the photo was one held by VJW, and not by Vlaams Belang. Filip Dewinter did not give a radio interview “opposite David Duke”. For more refutations of the allegations against VB, with detailed sourcing, see the CVF Blog.

The persistence of such assertions is not evidence of their truth. If you investigate Vlaams Belang, you will find it very difficult (if not impossible) to find evidence of their “white power” proclivities — anything that goes beyond slander or disinformation is simply an assertion by people who are already predisposed against VB.

But more to the point: if Vlaams Belang are racist neo-Nazis, they are hiding it extraordinarily well. I spent several days with Bart Debie and Filip Dewinter in Antwerp and Brussels; I talked to their employees, hung out in their offices, and looked at their party literature and campaign materials. I saw no sign that they relied on racism or anti-Semitism in their vote-getting efforts.

I realize that this proves nothing to people whose minds are already made up — they’re clever fellows, these Flemish neo-Nazis; they know very well how to hide their nefarious plans — but don’t you think they’d make their stance more obvious if they wanted to pick up the Nazi vote?

Consider this: The VJW (Vlaamse Jongeren Westland, the Youth of West Flanders) are openly racist and recruit on that basis. They criticize Vlaams Belang for being too soft on the Muslim immigration issue. Don’t you think VB would be revealing their own racism in order to counter this criticism and gain VJW votes?

Or consider the support that Filip Dewinter enjoys within the Orthodox Jewish community in Antwerp; he’s openly proud of that support. Don’t you think he’d want to hide this inconvenient fact at election time, to cover up his association with the Zionist enemy?

Or do you think his secret Nazi admirers are thinking, “Ah, that wily Filip! He’s clever enough to fool even the Jews!”

I don’t think so.

The “neo-Nazi” and “white supremacist” slurs against Vlaams Belang are a mirage; when one approaches them, they vanish into the overheated air of these rancorous and uncivil debates.

22 thoughts on “That Diabolically Clever Filip Dewinter

  1. The VJW also sells the “Celtic Cross” (and, yes, they actually call what CJ says shouldn’t be called a Celtic Cross a “Celtic Cross”).

    Go to this page, then select “Symbolen” and “Het Keltisch Kruis” to see the same symbol displayed in the picture above.

  2. At the beginning of this debacle, I was completely on the side of Gates of Vienna and the Brussels Journal. However, several things have made me lean ever closer to Charles’ point of view:

    1. This video. The way Filip Dewinter describes Turkey to his daughter (I’m guessing that’s who it is) just made me really uncomfortable. It had a very propaganda-like feel to it, IMO. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the psychology experiment where an American third grade teacher told her students one day that blue-eyed children were superior to brown-eyed children, and the next day said the opposite, to show them what discrimination felt like. The way Dewinter says “That’s Turkey. Turkey’s not part of Europe” reminds me a little too much of that teacher saying “Billy has brown eyes. Everyone knows brown-eyed children are smarter than blue-eyed children.” It might be just me, but his whole manner in that video really turned me off and made me a little suspicious of whether he really is more racist than he lets on.

    2. Vlaams Belang’s consistent demand for amnesty for Nazi collaborators. I understand they want this because the Nazis helped Flemish nationalists during WWII, but why is this still an official part of the party platform? Why is it so important to the Vlaams Belang that, sixty years after the fact, when most of the Nazi collaborators have already either been prosecuted or have died, they continue to bring it up? That’s suspicious to me. And I haven’t seen anyone on the pro-Vlaams Belang side address this issue.

    3. Vlaams Belang’s membership in the Tradition, Identity, and Sovereignty group in the European Parliament. Some of the parties in that group are really, really nasty, especially the Front National. If Vlaams Belang really isn’t anti-Semitic, then associating with these people greatly damages their reputation.

    Overall, I still support Vlaams Belang, but not as much as I did before.

    I welcome any response to my concerns.

  3. zarxos, let met take on this a bit. The Celtic Cross is the thing I know least about, I’ll skip that, merely noting that nothing Filip does substantiates the WS allegations surrounding this.

    2) The Nazi collaborator thing. The Nazi accusation has been used by Walloon-minded members of the administration of Belgium to harass old people who used to be low-level collaborators of the Nazis, even this many years after. People who just saved their skins by doing what was morally bad, but were never Nazis themselves, and had never taken up any Nazi activity after the war. It’s been hitting Flemish persons in particular, and it’s just mean. Now, 60 years after the fact, it’s time to close the matter and leave these 80-years old persons with their pensions, housing etc. instead of hunting them out. It’s a small number of persons anyway.

    3) The ITS membership is something I discouraged when VB considered it in the first place. They were fully aware that it would put them in bad company, but eventually decided that the technical advantages in the EP outweighed the disadvantage of being grouped with Le Pen etc. I always believed that VB belongs in the UEN group, at least according to the UEN charter, but that group has suffered some tricky internal problems that didn’t make it easy for VB to join them. Hopefully after the 2009 elections.
    VB is not Front National-type of party. Their people are highly educated and very civil. It was made clear from the beginning that the purpose of ITS itself was to be a technical group to enable the (small) member parties to work better inside the EP. It was not designed to represent a common ideology, just to provide technical advantages, like committee seats etc.
    I have checked the VB over the last couple of years. They are fine, principled people with integrity, and, in a remarkable contrast with most politicians in Europe, are not easily scared by mob mentality. That earns them some suspicion. Every time I looked into one, I found it to be unwarranted.

    Yes, I’m pro-VB. Openly so, because there is nothing to hide, for each and every detail I checked.

  4. Just to clarify, that festival at Brugge seen on
    is not a VJW rally, but an annual holiday celebration at which a few (unwanted) VJW-ers appeared. The pictures focus on their flagholder. Their text reads:

    “As in every year, to the annoyance of many, VJW participated in the Flemish holiday… of 11 July. Surely 25 VJW members were present. (My note: usage of this phrase indicates there were in fact less than 25). Was it a bad thing that VJW was seen with (Flemish) lion flags? The attending VJW-ers were quickly noticed by the police there. The scowls from the uniformed (police) side eventually settled down. Was our presence so unappreciated? By the police, certainly. You call that tolerance? There is none for our VJW flag. They forbade it. Other people were very glad to see us there. Well! Their intimidation didn’t work. As if we would abandon the memorial? They told us we could display just one flag. So, 25 VJW-ers, armed with just one little flag, participated in the laying of the wreath on the war memorial. Afterwards we returned to the town centre along with everyone else. But what we hadn’t anticipated was that the police accompanied us, in a march-stepping manner. What were they expecting, anyway? A revolution? We hope the police remember that VJW always stands for law and order. Free Flanders!”

    Poor guys, eh? Check out their latest posting on Scroll down to the 24 October entry for illustrations of their Celtic Cross flag which has Charles in a stew. Booga booga, Charles! You know, they have a lot of nutty anti-Jew and anti-USA material (especially on their 2006 archive), but VJW is upset at the USA taking the side of the Muslim Kosovans against the Serbians. I think they’ve got a point there, guys!

    Somewhere on the site they’ve got a T-shirt with the Celtic Cross for sale — can’t find it now (and I’ve had quite enough of their site now, thanks). Would make a good Xmas present for Charles. cheers, Cc.

  5. You’re misrepresenting the Jews here. The Jews of Antwerp might vote for Vlaams Belang, which promises to protect them from the Muslims, but they are not in an easy position doing so and there is a lot of debate about it.

    Moreover, VB head Filip Dewinter has even demonstrated solidarity with the Jewish community and with Israel, especially since the creation of the AEL. This tactic was designed to attract part of the Antwerp Jewish vote during the campaign for the June 2004 regional elections. Although the results of the election demonstrated that the vast majority of Antwerp Jewry was not convinced the VB had undergone a fundamental change, it increased its strength in the Flemish electorate and confirmed its status as the leading political party in the city of Antwerp, with 35 percent of the overall vote.
    (Tel Aviv’s University’s center against antisemitism)

    Having Jews support you does not always show that you’re not antisemitic. Just take a look at Ahmanidijad. He is supported by the Iranian Jewish community, as well as ultra-orthodox anti-Zionist Jews. Which shows that sometimes, the goal justifies the means. It might be anti-Zionists teaming up with a rabid antisemite. Or it might be a community suffering from Muslims, willing to consider voting for a party they see as antisemitic.

  6. So it appears that Charles Johnson misrepresented the context of a photograph and used it to smear the VB. It’s OK, though. While the facts are wrong, the narrative is right, correct Charles?

    What would Aeschylus do with this plot?

  7. While the facts are wrong, the narrative is right, correct Charles?

    That’s right. LGF has a new motto: Fake but Accurate.

  8. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.

    I’d agree with this definition if it were talking about imperialism. I identify myself as an Australian Nationalist – I desire to preserve my nation, her heritage and culture but have no interest on imposing it elsewhere.

  9. The way Filip Dewinter describes Turkey to his daughter (I’m guessing that’s who it is) just made me really uncomfortable.

    In the context of the current EU obsession with pulling Turkey in to the union, it’s not surprising. Turkey is not part of Europe and never has been. Even when it was Byzantium, it was considered to be part of asia, not europe or, at the very least, a bridge between the two. My french is a little rusty, of course, but the way he seems to be describing Turkey isn’t simply in terms of “they’re foreign, I don’t like em!” but in the terms of explaining to his daughter (if she is so) that Turkey is not European. Given the uniform and the way the conversation went it looks to me like she’s either just come home from, or just about to go to school, and is learning about the borders of europe, so he’s simply taking part in his daughter’s education and probably countering the current trend for young children to be educated to believe that Turkey is, and always has been, part of Europe.

    It isn’t, it wasn’t. It’s no more European than Russia.

    It’s probably not an ideal attitude to have but the looming threat of Turkish accession to the EU provides a certain amount of context that makes the way he’s talking seem much less threatening.

  10. “It’s [Turkey] no more European than Russia.”

    Having looked closely into the matter of Turkey & EU (just had a journalist on the line about it), I can say that this is quite an understatement. Now, Russia has a truckload of problems with democracy, organized crime, civil liberties etc., and is in no way qualified to join EU.

    Still, it is a European country (later expanded eastward), which Turkey is not. Turkey will not and cannot fulfill the Copenhagen criteria and the EU negotiations with them should never have started.

    What Filip is doing is simple and good – he takes a qualified opinion about something important, and tells his daughter about it. More parents should pay attention to what is taught at school and spend time with their kids about it instead of watching soccer & fashion shows on TV 🙂

    Yes, it implies that the EU Commission is wrong in pursuing Turkish EU membership. Which is a legit political opinion – which I happen to fully agree with, but that’s another matter.

  11. Orwell’s distinction between patriotism and nationalism can be usually applied to the R-word, which as somebody aptly said here (I think) is a shock-collar around the Right’s brain.

    We are slowly loosening it. The victory of SVP party in Switzerland is hopefully the first of many .

    Let me close with a little story. My grandfather was not, shall we say? very multculutally inclined. When one of the grand kids married a Chinese guy the precise seating at the wedding posed a problem.–how to keep grandpa and the Chinese inlaws from meeting? Well, as in the French farces where no matter how you try to keep apart people you don’t to meet, the inevitable encounter happened.

    Suprise. The Chinese father said to grandpa. “You know, we don’t approve of this marriage either”. And racist to racist they became fast friends.

    I’m sure this isn’t exactly what the enemy has in mind when they talk about celebrating diversity.
    But, really, we must outgrow their boogy-man talk and stand up for our ways.

  12. Zarxos,

    The video regarding Turkey appears to elicit an emotional response on your part. However, objectively speaking there is nothing wrong with what Dewinter says. In addition, his views on what Turkey “is like” can be supported with objective facts. Turkey is, in fact, uniquely NOT European in at least the follwing fundamental aspect: The Turkish military’s latent threat to the Government is the ONLY factor keeping Turkey from becoming an Islamic state, and that it is precisely this power structure that the EU wishes to see reversed as a condition to EU membership. I’d say Turkey may, in this respect, even be the anti-Europe…

    VB’s “consistent demand for amnesty for Nazi collaborators” requires some clarification. When we think of “Nazi collaborators” we imagine snitches, Quislings, concentration camp guards and other outright Nazi “converts”. Belgium’s experience was a lot more complex than that. The post-war exercise in vengeance (by both citizens and the Government) is referred to in Belgium as The Repression. The reason for that is that the Government used the existence of several real-life collaborators as cover to cripple the (morally legitimate) Flemish-nationalist movement. As a result, the vast majority of Belgian citizens who were banished and stripped of their civil rights were Flemish – even though plenty of Walloons collaborated as well, they mostly got a pass. And while it’s true that plenty of Flemish men joined the SS, we shouldn’t forget that they did so to fight on the Eastern Front against the “godless Communists”, at the urging of Catholic clergy – who also got a pass. This may explain why VB is still harping on this sixty years after the fact: an amnesty would undo the unequal treatment that Flanders received under the law.

    “Vlaams Belang’s membership in the Tradition, Identity, and Sovereignty group in the European Parliament.” I have to confess this one bothered me too when I first found out. However, contact with other groups does not imply automatic endorsement of ALL those groups’ positions. In fact, Front Nationale has only one common position with VB: that of opposition to limitless immigration. FN is also rabidly anti-jewish which puts them squarely in opposition to VB.

  13. “The way Dewinter says “That’s Turkey. Turkey’s not part of Europe” reminds me a little too much of that teacher saying “Billy has brown eyes.”

    The Turks I know would fit into Europe, but that’s because they were in teh military and were secular. I remember drinking and smoking with them and there were no problems. The majority of the country is not like that. Turkey does not belong in Europe until there’s a fundamental shift toward Judeo-Christian cultural assumptions.

  14. Having Jews support you does not always show that you’re not antisemitic. Just take a look at Ahmanidijad. He is supported by the Iranian Jewish community, as well as ultra-orthodox anti-Zionist Jews. Which shows that sometimes, the goal justifies the means. It might be anti-Zionists teaming up with a rabid antisemite. Or it might be a community suffering from Muslims, willing to consider voting for a party they see as antisemitic.
    This is absurd.

    Ahmedinejad is openly antisemitic. He makes no efforts to hide his antisemitism and his hatred of Israel. Using the Iranian Jews in comparison to those in Belgium is completely illogical.

    Is there some Mein Kampf DeWinter has written where his anti-semitic views are explained? No? Then we should take him at his word and quit letting the Left guilt us and define the debate. To say that VB just another evil like Islam is pure moral equivalence.

  15. Ah, yes. The Moral Equivalence.™ What a lovely concept provided us by those with brains so mushy they can’t fall out of their open minds.

    Do not allow people to guilt you into believing everything they tell you. EVER. If you don’t know enough, let them know you will research their assertions, as you trust only FACTS.

    Do not respond, or even blink, when you are labeled the r-word (racist), n-word (nazi), etc. You know why? Because those words mean NOTHING. NOTHING.

    Been labeled those my whole dang life, and for the dumbest reasons. My response is the deadpan face with the “What’s your point?” look, or I just laugh.

  16. Zarxos,

    Sarkozy himself has said that Turkey is a part of Asia Minor. This is a fact. The Turks fought well with the allies in the Korean war but this does not make them a part of Europe. Hell I’m Irish and in my old-fashioned way I don’t consider of Ireland altough I think I lost that debate a long time ago.


  17. Again, Flanders and Brugge are lovely places with lovely people. In the summer they have summer festivals with much pageantry. They like to fly their lion flags. And if one leftist VJWer unfurls a Celtic Cross flag, paranoid LGFers recoil in shock at the awful Nazi Vlaams Belang stormtrooper rally. They think Belgium is like the Balkans in 1910!

    I just made the mistake of browsing LGF’s latest thread “Brussels Journal Unmasked”. Lunacy! As Fjordman said in his penultimate posting there, Charles and his lizards have lost their minds. Perhaps it was inevitable for a site named after what one picks out of one’s nose. And now I am done with all that.

  18. I think Charles J. of LGF should interview Filip DeWinter on his site and bring the issue to a head.

    I’m in this fight against Islamofascism, not for Vlaams or against Walloons, or to keep any ethnicity “pure” or stand up for any “race”.

    Islam is not a “race”, so the issue is irrelevant to this struggle.

    Preventing your country from being swamped by immigrants makes sense to me, since America is being over-run by unrestricted immigration, –both legal and illegal.

    Europe’s leaders, since the 1960’s, have allowed this same folly of uncontrolled “refugees”, “guest workers” and “economic immigrants” to parasitize their lands.

    But this is not a problem of “who” the immigrants are (“ethnically” or “racially”), but that they are both uncontrolled and too often are openly hostile to the countries they enter.

    If the people coming into the European nations and America were pro-those countries, and supported their systems and had the same freedom-loving mindset, there would be no great difficulty in accepting them.

    But this isn’t the case.

    Both continents are being slowly invaded by an anti-human rights ideology.

    “Race” and “color” are distractions from the essence of the actual battle for the survival of our human liberty and dignity.

    Against a 1300 year old totalitarian onslaught.

    Of theocratic tyrants.

    That’s the true fight.

    The rest is trivia.

    We need to put down the little banners and unite under the great one:

    The Anti-Jihad Resistance.

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