Paul Belien at the Brussels Journal takes note today of a last-minute attempt by the Dutch MSM to draw support away from Geert Wilders on the eve of the elections:
In an article in the Dutch newspaper Trouw today, the leftist journalist Rinke van den Brink, a self-declared expert of the “far-right” and the author of a number of biased books, such as the “Internationale de la haine“ (The International of Hatred), writes about “Wilders’ European family.” Mr. van den Brink talked to Filip Dewinter (VB), Mogens Camre and Morten Messerschmidt (DF), Mario Borghezio (LN), Andreas Mölzer (FPÖ), and Gerard Batten (UKIP). Mr. Batten says he personally favors cooperation with Mr. Wilders but is not sure whether his party leadership is keen to address the issues (read: the fight against Islamisation) which have made the PVV so successful.
Mr. van den Brink’s article is part of a concerted project. Tonight, Dutch television broadcasts a documentary with the same title, in the hope of persuading the Dutch voters to abstain from voting for Mr. Wilders tomorrow. Part of the documentary is an interview with the Dutch academic André Krouwel who warns that Mr. Wilders is an extremist. Mr. Krouwel says Mr. Wilders is dangerous because he, and the other parties who would like to team up with him, emphasize the importance of national sovereignty over European cooperation. “Giving a central role to the national states will lead to many serious problems: to economic decline and to tensions between the states. It endangers prosperity and peace in Europe,” he says.
Here is the full text of the Trouw article, as translated by our Flemish correspondent VH:
The Right Wing in Europe is moving closer
By Rinke van den Brink
[Photo caption: A German policeman examines a young “anti-fascist”. He belongs to a group demonstrating against a right-wing demonstration in Cologne. It was a fairly relaxed gathering. The right wing and extreme left wing were screaming slogans at each other, but the mobile brigade did not need to go into action.]
The PVV may be heading for a strong victory in the European elections on Thursday. The right-wing corner of the European Parliament is looking with full expectations to Geert Wilders. Working together with such an international media star is an attractive option. But who will court Wilders?
Cologne was black with police. As many as 5,500 policemen were deployed on Saturday, May 8 [sic: should be May 9 — BB] to keep about 350 right-wing demonstrators and half as many counter-demonstrators apart. It is a relatively relaxed atmosphere. The mobile brigade units and the water cannons do not have to be deployed.
For a short while it threatens to become less friendly when a group of counter-demonstrators try to advance towards the truck that serves as a stage for the speakers. With resolute police action real trouble is prevented. The officers form a double line and push the “anti-fascists” back. To the great amusement of right-wing demonstrators. Back and forth slogans are exchanged. The “Nazis RAUS” [“raus” means “out”] chant of the “anti-fascists” is answered with “Stasis RAUS!”
The right-wing demonstration at a square next to the Kölner Messe is directed against Islamization. And in particular the construction of a large mosque in Cologne, which will become the largest in Europe. This is a demonstration of like-minded relatives of Geert Wilders, who came from Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Spain, Flanders, Norway and the Czech Republic.
In addition to the flags of their countries of origin, the demonstrators carry banners which leave little to recommend. They are as hostile towards Islam as they are sympathetic towards Israel. And also freedom of speech is very close to the attendees’ heart. Had he been there, Geert Wilders would certainly have viewed the spectacle with a good feeling.
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As Chairman of the Committee against Islamization, Filip Dewinter is one of the main speakers. Dewinter proclaims Cologne as the “capital of the resistance against Islam in Europe”. His speech is of the no-nonsense type. Since Vlaams Belang is facing severe electoral competition from the party of former judo coach Jean-Marie Dedecker, the tone has become more radical.
The whistling and shouting of the counter demonstrators swells as Dewinter starts to speak. He immediately confronts the challenge: “I have long thought that after 1945 the dictatorship in Germany was over and that there was a democracy. But I was wrong. The right-wing dictatorship has only been replaced only by a left-wing one. The National Socialist dictatorship has given way to a politically correct multicultural dictatorship.” Dewinter’s audience laughs and applauds. “Multiculture is the Trojan horse of Islam. Multiculture is Multiconflict is Multicrime. We will make it clear to the Islamites and Islamists that their ideology does not belong here,” Dewinter calls to his audience. Wilders could have said this..
A few weeks earlier, I was speaking to Filip Dewinter in a cafe in Antwerp at the quays of the river De Schelde. “Our style is not similar one-on-one,” says Dewinter, “but I do recognize a lot when I look at Wilders. As a smaller party with only a few spokesmen you have to provoke, otherwise you will never be able to influence the agenda.”
The adventures of Wilders are in a way a déjà vu to him, Dewinter says. The way Wilders is met by political opponents and the media does not differ much from what first happened to Dewinter and later the Vlaams Blok. “Wilders has Islamization as a theme, as we had the immigrants. We both meet an awful lot of resistance from the establishment. This catapults him into the role of outsider and that does bring success, just as it did for us. Wilders takes provocative positions with very sharp viewpoints and with his film Fitna, as we did with our 70-point plan against immigration. There is a court case set up against him, just as they did against us. It can hardly be more similar.”
Dewinter sees only one big difference: with Vlaams Belang this has been going on for twenty years, but with Wilders for only two years. Dewinter and colleges have had time to build up their party organizationally and programmatically. Nowadays 160 people are working for Vlaams Belang.
The normalization of such parties as Vlaams Belang and the PVV is the most difficult phase, according to Dewinter. His party is struggling against a cordon sanitaire, the agreement of all other Flemish parties not to cooperate with the VB. “They still try to catch us out in extreme expressions,” says Dewinter, “just as they try to do with Wilders. He operates very carefully by connecting his fight against Islamization so strongly with the freedom of expression.”
One side note Dewinter makes though, one that I in fact hear from most conversation partners: “His proposal to ban the Qur’an goes too far [Note: Wilders does not want to ban the Qur’an but since Mein Kampf incites to hatred and is banned, then why is the Qur’an not banned as well?]. How can you stand for the principle of freedom of expression while you want to forbid the Qur’an? I think Wilders also feels uncomfortable with this. Similarly with his proposal to deny access to all Muslims entrance to the European Union [Note: Wilders only suggested this for immigrants and for a period of 5 years, until the situation is cleared up]. It must remain realistic.” The Fleming also has an advice for his Dutch spiritual partner: “I hope that Wilders will not let himself be lured to participate in a government [coalition cabinet]. Then they will for certain attempt to choke him dead, then they will try to strangle him, so to speak.”
Dewinter does not want be explicit on whether he ever met Wilders. He somehow implies he did, but that’s it. It’s certain that there are indirect contacts, however. “We slowly grow a little towards each other. Discreet, without the media on top of it, through all the channels needed. We ensure that Wilders is sufficiently informed about us, directly. This is done through various forms of parallel diplomacy. Slowly but surely we get a better understanding of each other, which is also evident from the interviews Wilders gives.”
Two members of the board of the International Free Press Society (IFPS) that was established this year in Copenhagen play a crucial role in that process. Paul Beliën, a writer and journalist who is married to Vlaams Belang parliamentarian Alexandra Colen, and Bjorn Larsen, the Treasurer of the IFPS. The IFPS organizes meetings at which Wilders is offered the floor (both in Copenhagen and Washington) and collects funds for his legal costs. Last month Filip Dewinter [and Frank Vanhecke] visited the IFPS. And on June 14 Wilders will speak at the Danish Free Press Society, the parent organization of the IFPS.
Wilders himself seems not yet to have decided whether he will collaborate in a right-wing block in the European Parliament. In the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, on December 15, 2008, he did open the door somewhat to a cooperation with Vlaams Belang in the (near) future. “There are different sounds emerging from Vlaams Belang. Some, even from the Jewish community, say they have changed. That they have changed their discourse. Others say that this is not the case. I need to see and speak with people and study further on this. But I am not saying that it is impossible.” A year earlier in the same newspaper Wilders had still excluded any cooperation with the VB because of the supposed anti-Semitism of the party as noted by some Belgian Jewish leaders. In the Dutch HP/De Tijd magazine on December 19, 2008, he said concerning cooperation with Vlaams Belang: “I do not exclude anything. I am willing to cooperate with any party that is elected democratically and does not overstep the mark. Not with a party like the Front National of Jean-Marie Le Pen. Not with racists. But also not with an party like the British National Party, a party that talks about white and black. I want to stay away from that. On the other hand, just look at the Danish People’s Party for instance, to which I paid a visit recently, and where I was able to give a speech. They are suitable from all angles.” In the Dutch newspaper Reformatorisch Dagblad of May 1, 2009 he kept his distance somewhat, however. A spokesman for the PVV commented on rumors of talks with Dewinter as “pertinent nonsense” and rejected cooperation in a right-wing block in the European Parliament.
The Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti, DF) plays a central role in attempts to form a right-wing group of parties that view the struggle against Islamization and immigration and the Turkish membership of the EU as their main issues. DF, under the strict leadership of the former elder-care nurse Pia Kjaeresgaard, has achieved a key position in Danish politics. For the last eight years DF has helped the Conservative government to maintain a majority. In return, strict immigration and integration has become the policy of the Danish government. In the European Parliament DF works closely with the Italian Lega Nord — an Italian government party also strongly opposed to immigration and Islamization.
Mogens Camre has been in the European parliament for DF since 1999. Previously he was in the Danish parliament for 20 years for the Social Democrats. “We have formally declared that we will not only cooperate with the Lega Nord after the elections, but also with Vlaams Belang and the Austrian FPÖ,” said Camre. “The PVV of Geert Wilders will be a perfect match for us.” Mogens Camre once spoke to Wilders in Copenhagen. “I fully agree with his views that Islam is the biggest problem in Europe and that mass immigration has a very negative impact on our society.” Camre himself also has strong positions: “The Muslims simply cannot keep up with the modern world. If too many of these people come to Europe this will lead to severe damage. And it is not the smart Muslims who are coming over here. Those just go sit together to discuss how to fly an airplane into the WTC. There are masses of people around here that completely reject the European way of life and our values. This is a great danger.”
DF has its solutions too. Morten Messerschmidt, now a member of the Danish Parliament, will succeed Mogens Camre in the European Parliament. “If the bath runs over, you should first turn off the tap,” he says. “That is what we have done in recent years. Because of us, the immigration flow has been reduced — actually we only encounter problems with immigrants from Muslim countries and from Africa. Criminal foreigners must be expelled from the country. Furthermore, we will never allow our values and freedoms to be abolished. In these matters, the Danish People’s Party and Wilders have the same agenda.”
On April 4, 2009 Geert Wilders gave a speech in the David Horowitz Freedom Center in Beverly Hills. There he praised the Danish People’s Party as a politically “kosher party”.