Update: Extensive additional information on this topic has arrived from Flanders. I’ve posted it separately here.
How many people at the national level in the Democratic party have been members of the Ku Klux Klan?
Uh-huh. We all know him. How about the local level? Presumably quite a few more.
How many people at the national level in the Democratic party have been friends or associates of Louis “Judaism is a Gutter Religion” Farrakhan?
Yep, we all know that guy, too. Even at the national level there are probably a lot more like him, and many more at the local level.
In summary, there are a lot of members of the Democratic Party who are anti-Semitic or have publicly associated with known Jew-haters and anti-Semitic political groups.
Yet no prominent public figure or media person questions the right of the party to exist and operate. No one denies its legitimacy. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid aren’t blamed for the behavior of fellow party members who happen to be friends with the KKK or allies of the Nation of Islam.
The rules are different, of course, if the same types of opinion are associated with any Republicans. But then the rules are always different for conservatives. There’s zero tolerance for anti-Semitism on the Right, but on the Left anything goes. We’re all used to that.
I bring all this up because of the latest incident involving anti-Semitism and Vlaams Belang. Last week it was reported that a member of Vlaams Belang — the wife of one of Filip Dewinter’s bodyguards — invited David Duke over to her house when he came to Europe to conclave with like-minded people.
I wasn’t going to mention this issue and break my self-imposed rule against talking about LGF, but I’ve been getting some email about it, and the most recent one seems to indicate that there is a lot of misinformation floating around about Vlaams Belang:
Date: July 5th, 2008
Subject: Hi Baron — a serious question please…
First a quick apology for what is going to clearly be a misspelled word or two, and an inexact fact or two (though that is largely irrelevant) since you will know what I am talking about.
But let me first say, as this touches somewhat on my upcoming question, that perhaps I am the only guy around who still likes and respects you guys and Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs. Obviously I can’t speak for him but my guess is that Senor Johnson has cut off comments from GOV because he is afraid of being inundated with questions, comments, accusations, etc. from people who support GOV and he figures he doesn’t want to spend all his time having to defend himself. After all he has his own blog to run, and his own contribution, as far as he sees it, to spend his time on. As I don’t know who started your argument, I can’t say for sure if he is being unfair cutting it off though I acknowledge he seems to try to add a zinger now and then. And let’s face it, unfair as it may be, many people, even basically good people, sometimes go low rather than high and cut off an argument when it does their side good.
NOW FOR THE REASON I WRITE. A few days ago LGF ran a piece reporting about a meeting of Vas Blang (the misspelling, sorry) at which a few people, including Felipe De Winter (misspelling again probably, sorry) and several others who are clearly radicals of the “European nationalist right” spoke and several were said to have openly made the nazi salute, and one low down bum spoke in the most anti-Semitic terms. I should note that supposedly David Duke was there and I believe addressed the group as well.
As I said I have great faith in you fellows and was looking forward to hear what you might have to say about this. My own view is that no revolt in Europe is probable, without a “far right” European nationalistic leadership, because I don’t see it coming from anywhere else. My hope is that if I am correct on that then I hope I am correct that quite possibly they will be swept aside later on. I am Jewish and an ardent supporter of Israel, and America too of course, so the thought of somehow rooting for these far right guys is anathema to me, but a drowning man grabs any lifeline.
So if you have the time, I would appreciate hearing from you. It would appear as though if this information reported from LGF is correct you would be in the same ethical bind as I find myself. I assure you I am not playing “gotha”, but am interested in how you would square this uncomfortable information.
[name and location redacted]
Here’s my email in response:
– – – – – – – – –
I’ll do the best I can to answer your questions.
First of all, the conflict (between Little Green Footballs on the one hand and CVF and its associated groups on the other) was initiated entirely by Charles Johnson. His attacks began as soon as the Brussels Counterjihad Conference ended on October 19, 2007, and took us all by surprise. Up until then we had thought we were allies, and all on the same side.
The issues for him were the participation in our conference of the Swedish party Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden Democrats) and the Belgian party Vlaams Belang (Flemish Issue). His contention was that they are neo-Nazi or neo-fascist parties.
After several weeks of repeated accusations, his depiction of Sverigedemokraterna as neo-Nazi was unsustainable — the evidence to the contrary was too overwhelming, even for him — so he quietly dropped them from his attack pieces. But Vlaams Belang remains a target even now.
For our general refutation of his case, see the comprehensive post from last December, “Suggested Corrections for Charles Johnson”.
Many of his assertions come down to the interpretation of symbols, cartoons, drawings, and the presence of various people together in the same photograph. As “evidence”, these rely on the opinion and judgment of the observer, and hence cannot be refuted as fact.
However, there were two supposedly factual matters which were used as accusations, and which are demonstrably and verifiably false. One of them concerned a woman wearing a Nazi uniform whom Mr. Johnson asserted was a member of Sverigedemokraterna (she wasn’t), and the other asserted that a “white supremacist” flag that appeared in a rally in Flanders was a Vlaams Belang flag (it wasn’t; it was the flag of an entirely different group).
We all make mistakes, and Charles Johnson’s errors were understandable. However, although they were pointed out to him repeatedly, he never acknowledged the contrary evidence nor posted a public retraction or correction. This kind of behavior is what he rightly criticizes in the MSM, with Dan Rather being the most prominent example. Evidently the same standards do not apply to him.
For an account of these issues, see “Charles Johnson: the Dan Rather of the Blogosphere?”
The rest of what you describe I find hard to answer, because much of it doesn’t make sense to me. Either some of the information you received has been garbled, or there are accusations against Vlaams Belang that I haven’t been made aware of before.
Please send me the URLs for your information sources, and I will do my best to answer specific issues.
As far as I know, the only member of Vlaams Belang ever to have been accused of giving a Nazi salute was Maria De Berlanger, when she was taking the oath of office for a political position last fall. She was completely exonerated by a Belgian court — and if you’re familiar with Belgium, and with the official antipathy towards Vlaams Belang, you know that the court would have convicted her if there were even the tiniest shred of evidence against her — so I can safely say that the charge against her was false.
The truth turned out to be mundane: when taking the oath, she failed to raise her arm fully, in order to keep her sleeve from slipping down — if you look at the photo, you can see why that might have been a problem — and the photo taken at the time is what caused the slander against her.
Besides Ms. De Berlanger, neither Filip Dewinter nor any other VB leader was ever accused of giving the Nazi salute, as far as I know.
The incident concerning David Duke to which you refer is, I presume, the one described in Little Green Footballs on July 2nd of this year.
Once again, your version seems to be at variance with the reported details, including those given in Little Green Footballs.
A Vlaams Belang party member, Karin Milik, invited David Duke to her house when Mr. Duke came to Europe to meet with other like-minded groups. The visit was not official, did not involve the party, and was not condoned by the party leadership.
When the party leaders became aware of what had happened, they made the following announcement the next day (I received a copy via email):
Vlaams Belang Denounces David Duke
Our party, Vlaams Belang, has been named in an involvement with the American “politician” David Duke. Karin Milik, one of our 1,500 local councillors, had Mr. Duke over at her house when he was in Belgium to speak at a conference with which our party had nothing to do.
Vlaams Belang does not wish to be associated or linked in any way with David Duke or his ideas. Vlaams Belang has no ties or affinity whatsoever with David Duke, the organisations he belongs to or the ideas he stands for.
Ms. Milik has apologized because it was never her intention to incriminate or associate Vlaams Belang with the figure of David Duke. Vlaams Belang will not accept any repeat of such incidents.
Vlaams Belang strives for the independence of Flanders, fights the Islamization of Europe, defends the Judeo-Christian values of Western civilization, opposes anti-Semitism and all forms of racial prejudice, and regards the state of Israel as an invaluable ally in the struggle in which we are currently entangled with an enemy — radical Islam — that is bent on destroying our liberties and depriving our nations of their identity.
Vlaams Belang party leader
Vlaams Belang group leader in the Belgian federal parliament
Vlaams Belang group leader in the Flemish regional parliament
In this country — as we all know from the antics of certain Democratic party members, both at the local and national level — individuals often engage in activities which their party does not support and which it sometimes finds a need to denounce publicly.
As for the rest of what you say in your email, I’ll have to wait until you supply source links or other material before I can address it specifically.
Just a final word about anti-Semitism:
Based on my experience in Europe and in reading European political websites, anti-Semitism is widespread, more so in some countries (e.g. France) than in others (e.g. Denmark). But it can be found everywhere.
However — and this is a fact that cannot be emphasized too strongly — the vast bulk of anti-Semitism, at least 90%, is to be found on the Left, with the radical Green, Anarchist, and Communist groups being the most egregious offenders. The Jew-hatred is disguised as “anti-Zionism”, but you only have to spend a little time on the websites of these groups to discover their true anti-Semitic nature.
It’s hard for an American — especially an American Jew — to grasp, but it’s true: most anti-Semites in Europe are Leftists. Vlaams Belang openly and publicly, as an official party policy, supports the state of Israel. It is the only Belgian political party to do so. Yet, because it is a conservative free-market party that opposes the EU, it is vilified as being neo-Nazi.
This charge is outrageously unfair, yet it is something we have all gotten used to when dealing with the Left.
To his great misfortune, Charles Johnson, in making his case against Sverigedemokraterna and Vlaams Belang, relied on the distortions and outright disinformation put out by some of the most odious hard-Left groups in Europe, including BlokWatch and EXPO. For more information about the devious operatives who gulled Charles Johnson, see Fjordman’s thorough debunking of EXPO in the following posts:
- EXPO and the Islamophobes
- Regarding the Detractors of Vlaams Belang
- An Open Letter to EXPO and Expressen
Don’t take my word for this — look at these posts and the others cited above. We documented all our work, and you can follow the links back to original source material.
It’s quite probable that Charles Johnson was an unwitting victim of a deliberate disinformation campaign mounted by operatives of the European radical Left, for the purpose of discrediting Vlaams Belang and Sverigedemokraterna in the United States and thereby weakening the anti-jihad and anti-EU forces in Europe.
A deeper look at the issues involved will reveal how unfairly Vlaams Belang has been treated.
Thanks for writing.
Gates of Vienna
I’ll wager that there are quite a few Jew-hating Antifa members and other European Leftists laughing up their sleeves right now at the way they duped Charles Johnson and other American “conservatives” into turning against Sverigedemokraterna and Vlaams Belang.
It’s an old tactic known as divide and conquer.
Both the Left and Islam are experts at it.