Why does Miriam Shaviv (JC foreign affairs editor) state that Geert Wilders is "a real bigot"?


By Blacklisted Dictator
July 6, 2010
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"With Friends Like These"...
Across the Pond

By Miriam Shaviv
Published June 23, 2010, issue of July 02, 2010. (The Forward)

Israel needs friends in Europe, but there are some friends that it could do without.

In June, the English Defence League, a thuggish anti-Muslim group known for its raucous (and sometimes violent) street protests, launched a Jewish division, attracting at least a handful of Jews among the 500 fans on its “Jewish Division” Facebook page. The EDL had previously brandished Israeli flags at demonstrations to taunt its Muslim opponents, and even announced its intent to join a pro-Israel rally organized by Britain’s Zionist Federation following the recent Gaza flotilla crisis. (The rally’s organizers distanced themselves from the EDL, which has been condemned by mainstream Jewish communal groups; ultimately, EDL members weren’t much in evidence at the rally.)

While the EDL may be a fringe group, its embrace of Israel activism is part of a growing trend. Over the past few years, a string of politicians and factions on Europe’s far right, particularly those with anti-Muslim agendas, have taken to expressing strong support for the Jewish state.

The most prominent example is Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who led his Freedom Party to stunning success in Holland’s recent national elections, more than doubling its number of seats to become the third-largest party in parliament.
While Holland’s mainstream parties talked about the economy, Wilders campaigned on an explicitly anti-Islam platform. He has called for a ban on the Quran (which he calls a “fascist book”), an immediate end to Muslim immigration to Holland and a special tax on women who wear headscarves.

At the same time, Wilders is a flamboyant philosemite, who is passionate in his support for Israel — recently, for example, deriding critics of Israel’s flotilla raid as “wolves” who are “howling in the woods.” Israel, he says repeatedly, is the West’s most important bulwark against jihadism.


Wilders’s brand of politics holds particular appeal in a country that is under considerable demographic pressure from its growing Muslim immigrant population. While Muslims form just 6% of Holland’s population, according to Statistics Netherlands, they are a much larger presence in major cities: In Amsterdam they are 24% of residents; in The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht they are more than 13%. Many of the country’s non-Muslim residents feel that their own, liberal way of life is under threat, particularly since the 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by an Islamic extremist.

Holland’s mainstream political parties have struggled to assuage these concerns, hampered in part by a hesitance to talk honestly about the repercussions of Muslim immigration out of fear of being seen as bigots. Wilders has no such compunctions.

Similarly, the EDL — formed last year after an Islamist protest against British troops returning home from Iraq — has capitalized upon the perception that it is taboo to raise questions about Islamic extremism and immigration in polite society.

While more straight-talk about immigration and extremism would be welcome in both countries, Wilders and the EDL go much further. Though both claim otherwise, they seem unable (or unwilling) to distinguish between Islamists — radicals with a political agenda — and plain old Muslims. On a continent in which a large Muslim presence is now a fact of life, such sweeping antagonism does nothing to solve real problems and serves only to inflame interreligious and interethnic tensions.

Observers believe that Wilders didn’t actually do any better among Dutch Jews than he did among the general population, notwithstanding his outspoken support for Israel. Still, facing rising hostility toward Israel in Europe and anti-Semitic violence perpetrated by elements within the Muslim community, some European Jews may be tempted to reciprocate the far-right’s embrace. When it comes to the far-right, however, Jews have plenty of reasons to be wary.

For starters, it’s worth recalling that those on the far-right often have their own — usually far-from-admirable — motives for wrapping themselves in the Israeli flag.

Last year, for instance, Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party (which until this past February only accepted whites as members), boasted on prime-time television that his party was the only one that “stood foursquare behind Israel’s right to deal with Hamas terrorists” during Operation Cast Lead. This was, presumably, part of his ongoing effort to gain electoral respectability by distancing himself and his party from their history of anti-Semitism. (Griffin once called the Shoah the “HoloHoax.”)

Meanwhile, the EDL’s interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to be mostly about goading its Muslim foes.

Granted, there are distinctions that can be drawn regarding motives. Wilders’s affection for Israel seems to be sincere. As a teen he worked for two years on a moshav, and he claims to have visited Israel 40 times since.

At the end of the day, however, for Israel and its supporters, these are distinctions that shouldn’t make much of a difference. Israel is currently battling systematic attempts to delegitimize it. A favored tactic of its opponents is to paint Israel as a racist, apartheid country that discriminates against its Arab citizens and Palestinian neighbors. Israel simply cannot afford to be linked to real bigots, no matter how friendly they appear to be.

Miriam Shaviv is foreign editor of Britain’s Jewish Chronicle.

COMMENTS

Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 11:24

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Miriam Shaviv,

I certainly don't support The EDL and you were wrong to equate Wilders' party with it.

Wilders' political philosophy is a complete rejection of fascism and its Islamic variant.

Should Wilders be branded as "a real bigot" because he clearly sees the threat posed by the Islamists? I think not.


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 11:29

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Miriam,

Is it fascism to demand that the burqa be banned?

Or is it fascism to flog women who don't confrom to strict "Islamic" dress codes?


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 11:52

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Miriam,
If men were flogged in Israel for not wearing a kippah, I would campaign for the wearing of the kippah to be banned in the UK.

If women in Israel were flogged for wearing certain types of clothing, I would campaign for Judaism to be banned in The UK.

Would I be a fascist to do so?


Joshua18

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 11:58

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Yes.


happygoldfish

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 12:03

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yes


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 12:06

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I think that it would have been much more accurate if Miriam Shaviv had concluded:

"Israel and enemies of Isalmofascism, simply cannot afford to be linked to the extremely confused editors at The JC, no matter how friendly they sometimes appear to be. Such people will inevitably, not only destroy Israel, but also the remnants of liberal democracy worldwide."


Joshua18

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 12:06

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2 points

Here's a pic of Geert and BD:

BD

And here's a pic of Geert after reading Ms. Shaviv's piece:

Wilders

Pics courtesy of Loon Watch.


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 12:12

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If men in Israel were flogged and executed for homosexuality, I would also campaign against the state of Israel. I would certainly conclude that Israel was not worth supporting.


mattpryor

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 12:31

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Support for Israel is always going to attract an element of antipathy towards Islam since Israel is perceived as on the front line against Islamist terror, but that doesn't mean it has to define the cause.

Much in the same way as support for Palestinians attracts an element of antipathy towards Judaism and Israel, which unfortunately does dominate and characterize that cause.

As for the EDL, I'm sure there are some people who have joined it because they oppose Muslims, but there are probably also others that have joined the EDL specifically because of its pro-Israel stance. I'm not convinced of the wisdom in alienating such people.


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 12:33

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Of course, it is not just in one Muslim country that state terror is used to enforce dress codes. It is in a whole host of them. And that is precisely why this issue is so serious.


mattpryor

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 12:38

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Also people that accuse the ZF as being a far-right organisation because of perceived links with the EDL or BNP are likely to be brainwashed, radicalised, anti-Semitic and enemies of Israel. Who cares what they think?

It's not anyone's responsibility to explain or justify someone else's opinions. If people are too stupid to understand that different people have different points of view then they're not really worth bothering with.


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 13:00

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If one is "a real bigot" or a "fascist" to demand that women have equal rights then I suppose that I am guilty as charged.

As far as I am concerned, any religion that uses states terror, to enforce its precepts is not worth the paper it is written on.


Jon_i_Cohen

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 13:02

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3 points

Geert Wilders is my kind of Politician, not afraid of the modern disease of Political Correctness and will "say it as it is".
He says what we ALL think, that is;- that there are too many moslems in Europe and we now have the enemy within, out of the many many millions that are here and approaching 3 million in the UK, what percentage does it take to have a extremists that run into hundreds -cite 7/7.
And last week, he took the "bull by the horns" by raising the issue that Jordan is in fact Palestine, that is where the majority of "Palestinians" live and that is where their State should be, a name change would solve the issue. Now that this is a matter for open debate on the world stage, more and more people will realise the validity of the historical basis to this argument and we will see more advocates for this as a solution.
Wilders leads the third largest party in Holland and so is not someone who can be ignored.
There is nothing in his politics remotely anti-semitic, anti-Jewish or anti-Israel - quite the opposite - he is a staunch supporter and therefore deserving of our support.


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 13:06

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MEMRI WEBSITE:

In an April 16, 2010 Friday sermon in a Tehran mosque, prayer leader Kazem Sediqi called upon women "to be more obedient" in wearing their hijab, because women who are not "cause the hearts of young people to tremble and lead to great sins, which will evoke the wrath of God."[11] He attributed earthquakes to women not wearing a hijab, warning that "the spread of adultery leads to earthquakes."[12]
In an April 23, 2010 Friday sermon in Mashhad, prayer leader Ahmad 'Alam El-Hodda called for the Iranian regime to clamp down on the hijab problem and give it high priority. Al-Hodda praised the authorities' proactive enforcement of the hijab, adding, "Some anti-revolutionary elements, in their media and websites, have raised the important and fundamental issue of the hijab... [characterizing it] as a violation of human and women's rights... [For them, letting] women appear in makeup and with their hair down [before] the lustful gaze of men [is tantamount to] defending women's rights and honoring their gender."[13]
Earlier, in January 2010, Al-Hodda referred to the hijab as "a duty incumbent upon all women," warning that failure to observe this custom caused heart disease and drove the youth to distraction. He also linked the neglect of this duty with collaboration with the U.S. and blamed it for desecration that took place during the [anti-regime] riots on Ashura Day, on December 27, 2009.[14]


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 13:18

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In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders stood virtually alone in defense of Israel flotilla attacks.

The Dutch government is condemned Israel's action against the flotilla that tried to reach Gaza. However, one Dutch politician is standing against the tide.

From the Dutch News, June 1:
MPs from across the political spectrum, even those traditionally supportive of Israel, have said they were shocked by Israel's actions.
However, PVV MP Geert Wilders said it is 'cheap' to attack Israel. 'I am certainly not going to make a cheap attack on Israel by howling in the woods with the rest of the wolves,' he told tv show Nova.
Israel was fully justified in entering the ships to see if they were also carrying weapons, he said.


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 13:27

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I think that Wilders is a passionate and sincere supporter of Israel. He is a true friend, and Israel would be stupid to reject the positive stance that he takes towards her.

Of course, the various editors at The JC are extremely confused about the nature of the threat posed by the Islamists. It is a great pity, and is an indication of how liberal societies start to collapse from within when attacked.


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 13:45

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In April Wilders announced he was working on a sequel. Just as Fitna focused on genocidal anti-Semitism in the Muslim world, Wilders said that the sequel - which focuses on "Islamization in the West" - will show "how the forces of Islamization are specifically targeting Israel in a fight against all free societies."

He added: "The film will demonstrate that the fight against Israel is not territorial, and hence Israel is only the first line of defense for the West. Now it's Israel but we are next. That's why beyond solidarity, it is in Europe's interest to stand by Israel."


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 13:50

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Now which politician is stating the facts clearer in relation to the threat posed to Israel and The West?

Obama? William Hague? Sarkozy? Merkel?

Oh, I know. It's Nick Clegg!


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 14:38

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How does one explain Miriam Shaviv's position? After all, one would think that she might write articles which oppose the flogging of women for wearing skirts instead of denigrating Wilders?

The answer, in my humble opinion, is her allegiance to orthodox judaism. As a result, she has some sympathy for those who profess religious views. After all some frumahs choose to cover themselves, so the burqa ain't really so bad.

As a result, Miriam fails to stand-up for the Muslim women who are forced to wear "modest" clothes.


Joshua18

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 19:10

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"After all some frumahs choose to cover themselves, so the burqa ain't really so bad."

It's worse than you think:

'A group of Ultra-Orthodox chareidi women in Ramat Beit Shemesh have hyperbolated tznius to the extreme and now wear burkas whenever they go outside their home. Not advocated by any known rabbi, the burka fad is apparently radical chareidi feminist "invention", and many are wary if this custom should be adopted or repudiated. The radical Beit Shemesh tznius patrol is even scratching it's head whether someone managed to out do them, and leave them in the dust with the liberal left.'

More here:

http://muqata.blogspot.com/2007/12/this-aint-your-bubbys-burka.html


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 22:04

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If they ever rock-up in Stamford Hill or Golders Green, they should definitely be arrested.
What these women need is a psychiatrist and a probation officer.


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 22:39

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Miriam,

Didn't Gordon Brown label, a woman from Rochdale, "a bigot"?

Of course, he was caught by Sky News, whilst you are broadcasting on The JC Blog. But it is worth pondering that his slur was not exactly a vote winner.


Blacklisted Dictator

Tue, 07/06/2010 - 23:03

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Synagogue hails Dutch lawmaker as a hero
By Penny Schwartz · February 27, 2009

STOUGHTON, Mass. (JTA) -- In his home continent, Dutch politician Geert Wilders is something of a pariah, banned from the United Kingdom and facing prosecution in the Netherlands for his harsh views of Islam.

His calls to end immigration from Muslim countries and ban the Koran -- he compared it to Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and said it incites to violence -- have earned him broad condemnation in Europe and forced him under the protection of a security detail, a rarity for Dutch leaders.

But in some quarters of the American Jewish community, Wilders is more akin to a hero. At the very least, he was greeted as such by about 250 people last week at a Conservative synagogue in this Boston-area town.

The boisterous crowd at the Ahavath Torah Congregation gave Wilders, who heads the Dutch Party for Freedom and serves in the parliament, a standing ovation and shouted “Bravo” at the conclusion of his speech.

In an event co-sponsored by the Middle East Forum's Legal Project and the Republican Jewish Coalition, Wilders made his only synagogue appearance on his recent tour of the United States, where he appeared on cable news networks and radio talk shows, spoke at the National Press Club and held a private showing of his anti-radical Islam film “Fitna” for senators and their staff on Capitol Hill.

The Middle East Forum’s director, Daniel Pipes, said he doesn't agree with Wilders that the Koran should be banned. But he does believe that Wilders should be able to publicly present that view, which is why his organization co-sponsored the talk and is raising funds for Wilders' legal defense.

“I don't need to agree with him to see the importance of him making his arguments,” Pipes said.

Wilders is among a small number of European political figures who have spoken out forcefully about the impact of Muslim immigration and what they see as a religion irrevocably at odds with Western values. In the Netherlands, renowned for its liberalism and tolerance, the debate has often been particularly fraught.

A former parliamentary colleague of Wilder’s, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, was forced into hiding for her work on a film critical of Islam’s treatment of women. Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker and Hirsi Ali’s partner, was murdered on an Amsterdam street in 2004. Pim Fortuyn, another Dutch politician outspoken about immigration and Islam, was murdered in 2002.

In Europe, where freedom of speech laws are generally more restrictive -- Holocaust denial, for example, is widely outlawed -- figures like Wilders have pushed the boundaries of acceptable discourse. But in the United States, with its comparatively looser speech laws, the violence and intimidation directed at Islam’s harshest European critics is seen by some as allowing radical viewpoints to flourish.

“If our collective voice is impeded from speaking” or “shut down,” said Pipes, then “the way is paved for radical Islam to move ahead.”

Pipes says hate speech laws, which also have been used to prosecute Holocaust deniers in Europe, are a bad idea.

“I believe in the First Amendment,” he said.

Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks takes a similar position, saying that while he also opposes banning the Koran, he believes Wilders’ views should still be given a hearing.

“If we only had speakers we agree with 100 percent of the time, it would be a very small universe of speakers,” Brooks said.

Bjorn Larsen, whose International Free Press Society arranged Wilders' U.S. tour, said the Dutch politician was invited personally by the rabbi at Ahavath Torah, Jonathan Hausman.

Hausman would not speak on the record to JTA about the event.

Security was tight in Stoughton, with bags being checked and guards for Wilders. After a showing of “Fitna,” Wilders said the Koran is being used as a justification for “hatred, terrorism and violence against the world,” and he outlined how he believes the rise of Islam in Europe is threatening the traditional Judeo-Christian values of the West.

A staunch supporter of Israel who once lived on a moshav, Wilders also proclaimed solidarity with the Jewish state.

Israel “is receiving the blows for all freedom-loving people,” he said. “We are all Israel. We have to defend our freedom.”

Wilders noted that while he was banned from the United Kingdom despite being a member of the Dutch parliament and carrying an E.U. passport., the head of Hezbollah was allowed to enter the country.

“This is Europe today,” he said.

There were no protests at Wilders’ speech -- there was little advance publicity -- and many in the crowd were sympathetic to his arguments. Andrew Warren of Sharon said he wanted to judge for himself whether Wilders is xenophobic, and said afterwards that Wilders had not crossed the line.

“The unfortunate reality is that a lot of troubling passages in the Koran are being embraced by militant ideology,” Warren said.

Louise Cohen of Brookline described Wilders as a hero and a man of courage.

“What's disturbing to me is that no one has said that there is anything in his movie that is false,” she said.

While unaware of Wilders’ call to ban the Koran, Cohen said his film makes a case that the Koran is a hate document.

That view troubles Ron Newman, who said Wilders took certain verses from the Koran that appeared to promote violence and used them to generalize about all of Islam.

Saying that a similar approach could be used with portions of the Torah, Newman cautioned that the line of reasoning could be used to produce an anti-Semitic film.

“I don't like that being done to us," he said. "I don’t support people who do that to others.”

Nonetheless, as a staunch supporter of free speech, Newman said the attempt to squelch Wilders’ film and the refusal to allow him into Great Britain is a travesty.


Anonymous

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 22:20

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Blacklisted Dictator

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 22:35

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Thank you Danielle. I always like to hear " a woman's point of view".

Do you wear a burqa?


Anonymous

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 22:49

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danniellegrange

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 23:07

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your facebook attempts don't seem to work. You do write such rubbish all the time,why do you have such a chip on your shoulder?


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Thu, 07/08/2010 - 23:17

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Paul Freeman

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 00:52

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Very disappointing to read Miriam Shaviv's travesties of the positions of Wilders and the EDL.

She appears to be so frightened that someone might question the purity of motive of any supporter of Israel and so damn Israel by association that, at a time when Israel's actions to defend itself are met with near universal condemnation, she feels compelled to distance the Jewish Community from two potentially major forces which have no compunction about showing such support.

But on what basis does she write:

"Though both claim otherwise, they seem unable (or unwilling) to distinguish between Islamists — radicals with a political agenda — and plain old Muslims." ?

And why does she say:

"Meanwhile, the EDL’s interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to be mostly about goading its Muslim foes."?

(Note each time the tentative "seem(s)". The truth that jumps out of the page is surely that she really doesn't know.)

Even Wilders' well-known attachment to Israel comes with a large question mark hanging over it:

"Wilders’s affection for Israel seems [there's that word again!] to be sincere. As a teen he worked for two years on a moshav, and he claims to have visited Israel 40 times since."

Ah, but he could be lying, couldn't he?

Get real, Miriam. In Obama's new world order Israel has few enough friends on the international political scene. We all know why. Wilders and the EDL make the connection that our leaders are afraid to make between what's happening in the Middle East and what's going on on our streets. That's why they support Israel. It's the most sincere and powerful basis for any alliance: mutual survival.

And what does it matter if its detractors are able to find one more excuse to damn Israel? If they’re one short, they’ll make it up anyway! That’s what real bigots do.

It's bad enough that Israel's enemies among the political classes and the media damn the likes of Wilders and the EDL. But for Israel's friends to do so at a time like this strikes me as nothing short of suicidal.


danniellegrange

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 00:52

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small fat ugly man syndrome is what you suffer from mate


Blacklisted Dictator

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 08:10

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danielle,
Thank you for your endorsement.
I am sure that at school you were one of the bullies in the play-ground.


Anonymous

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 08:36

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