As we reported back in December, representatives of various European nationalist parties paid a visit to Israel that month.
Among the delegations to Israel was one from the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), including its leader, Heinz-Christian Strache. Upon his return to Austria, Mr. Strache discovered that his visit to Israel did not sit well with some of the party’s old guard, and pressure was immediately exerted on him to back off from his new Israel-friendly position. His fellow party member Andreas Mölzer — who had accompanied him to Israel — was one of those who questioned the wisdom of FPÖ’s initiative.
Politically Incorrect has posted a report on the whole affair (original in English):
Andreas Mölzer, the FPÖ, Islam and Israel
At the beginning of December, a mutual Israel trip by a few European parties took place in which not only the head of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) H.C. Strache and Andreas Mölzer (photo) participated on behalf of the Austrian delegation. The statements that were made there, the attitude that was shown and the “Jerusalem Declaration” which was signed by Strache appear to have led to increasing tensions within the ranks of his party and both near and distant supporting groups.
The Jerusalem Declaration contains among other things the following passage:
[…] After the totalitarian systems of the 20th century were overcome, mankind presently appears to be facing a new worldwide totalitarian threat: fundamentalist Islam. We see ourselves as a part of the worldwide battle by the defenders of democracy and human rights against all totalitarian systems and their enablers. Therefore we stand on the forefront of the battle for the community of Western-democratic values.
By virtue of this, we reject that cultural relativism that, under the pretext of respecting foreign cultures and traditions, tolerates the fact that people, especially non-Islamic minorities, are limited in their right to freedom, equality and codetermination in sectors of the Muslim cultural circle. […]
Israel, being the only real democracy in the Near East, is more important to us as a contact in this tough region of the world. A region that in past decades has had to deal constantly with extremism and terror. We profess Israel’s right to existence without reservation within secure and internationally recognized boundaries. Likewise, the right of Israel to self-defense against all acts of aggression, especially against Islamic terror, must also be accepted. We believe that this must be possible while concurrently respecting human rights as well as the political rights of the Arab population.* […]
* FREEDOM PARTY addendum: THE FREEDOM PARTY harbors reservations against this statement and replaces it with the following statement: The recognition of human rights — even those of the Arab population — must be self-evident.
Mölzer and Strache indeed concluded after their return to Austria that they had gone too far in the trip to the front lines of Israel with an unavoidable portion of their own party (Strache in the PI interview, starting around 8:20 min).
The reaction by Altermedia Deutschland (German-language Nazi forum) to Strache’s 7/12/2010 “Jerusalem Declaration” could be a gentle hint of the “thinking” in this faction:
All chatter about this declaration [Jerusalem Declaration — PI] aside, this statement makes it clear that the “rightwing parties” have signed on to this document and have made themselves willing vassals of the State of Israel and its Diaspora sectors. It is therefore not erroneous to see them from now on as nothing more than a kind of fifth column in the service of international Jewry that is simply using so-called Islamism as an image of hostility [not bold in the original — PI] so that it can battle any opposition to its interests.
This was already clear beforehand to those knowledgeable about the political material, however, the above declaration can be well understood as an ultimate outing by said parties for the general public, after which no conventional, benevolent or intentionally misunderstanding doubt remains in various groups about their true nature.
And thus the party leadership is apparently forced again to back down in order to appease the internal opponents of Strache’s expressed Islam-critical and pro-democratic/pro-Israeli positions and insignificant actions like the wearing of a Jewish-religiously stipulated head covering by Strache as is usual for all visitors of the Western Wall.
It is above all regretful that the FPÖ leadership, and especially Heinz-Christian Strache, are unable to break down certain animosities toward Israel because of opposition within the party. Strache, together with the party leadership, underestimated how intense the debate would become inside the FPÖ. Nevertheless, he himself and some of his party comrades apparently misjudged the mood within the party, or at least underestimated it. Whether Strache ever produced a contented character in the forced distancing from Israel and pro-Israeli positions after his return is to be dealt with some other time.
For starters, Andreas Mölzer’s reaction after the return is interesting. Like the interview he gave to the Austrian news magazine Profil where he states that the FPÖ has always “declaratively distanced itself from antisemitism.” When questioned whether the FPÖ is operating on their position as stated in Mölzer’s own weekly newspaper “Zur Zeit” in accordance with a “Talmudic delusion of annihilation,” the mastermind of the party opined that there was a “disposition toward state terrorism” in Israel’s case. Stating this is not necessarily antisemitism. Just as important to the “history book of the party” is the assertion that it is indeed psychologically cumbersome for the Israelis when they have to pull playing children off the street and head for bunkers in order to protect them from rocket attacks. But for the Palestinians it is even more brutal because an Israeli air attack kills many more people. The conclusion that one side intentionally murders civilians, at least takes into account their death and proudly sends its own children to their death, while the Israeli side tries in its battle against those whom Mölzer would indeed otherwise call “Jihadistic Islamists” to prevent any injury to those not a part of it is well beyond Mölzer.
In another place as well, the European parliamentarian doesn’t jump high enough. In his own newspaper named above, “Zur Zeit”, he takes issue with a sympathetic article printed by PI there, and the “leadership” of the blog that traveled with him, and as an alleged example wanted to drive the Palestinians one and all into the desert:
Truly he owes it to his readers to tell where he gets this from, but it doesn’t manage to reach them. More important, however, is the unseen connection by party intellectuals of cause and effect between Islam and mass immigration.
Yes to Islam, but not at home
After Mölzer first explains the obligation of the area to his readers, that one is required to put a kippa on at the Western Wall, he puts forward how much Austria’s libertarians fought against the islamization of Europe and mass immigration, but that they still respected Islam as one of the world’s great religions.
It is apparently too much for those who develop profound policy papers for the party, who campaign with “homegrown, not Islam,” to recognize just how much mass immigration is caused by Islam in the originating countries to begin with. Should it have escaped the amateur historian, just how much the oppression of people by Islam influences the living conditions in the native countries? With a proper amount of ignorance, one would only be in the position to overlook how much the economic conditions in the Islamic countries can be traced back to the religion, that is to the archaic lifestyle conveyed by that religion, if not by the absolute model of Muhammad, and on the other hand, how much they lead to the mass immigration to Europe that is bemoaned by Mölzer. One doesn’t necessarily have to have read Max Weber in order to recognize the connection between the religious orientation and the economic result. A peek at the Islamic world brings these connections closer together.
The FPÖ should as a party first answer the question, in what circumstance do fewer people emigrate from Tunisia, for example, to Europe? When would mass immigration to Europe as Mölzer bemoans it be more probable? When secular powers or religious powers have the long-term upper hand? Those who stand on the side of the people in Tunisia hope for a strengthening liberation, and not that Islam shapes life in North Africa in even narrower terms than was the case anyway up until now. But in this case it at least continued to fall back on the “respect for the great world religion.”
Or should Mölzer recognize an ally in Islam that is agreeable to him as long as it doesn’t develop its effects in his area? If this question should be answered in the affirmative, then the question of a common enemy could hardly be asked.
Therefore, Mölzer finds Islam to be a wonderful thing as long as it doesn’t take place in Austria. While Strache in the PI interview declares Israel to be still on the front line in the Clash of Civilizations, Mölzer evidently thinks that Islam will stay clear of neutral(!) Austria if one “respects” it above all in other countries as a world religion and explains away the undesirable developments by it as “Islamism.” But perhaps he believes Islam will spare Austria as the only land on the old continent, or that the “playing” with an Islam that still in the minority is like snuggling with a sweet baby tiger. But what speaks for this assumption, especially for the fact that the tiger cub wouldn’t soon grow into a dangerous beast of prey and tear apart its “neutral” playmate?