Why Muslims are the BNP’s new target

By Bob Pitt

A sinister alliance has developed between far-right groups and Islamist extremists who are united in their hatred of Jews, Israel and Zionism and are contributing to increasing antisemitism in Britain.

At least that’s how Ruth Gledhill of The Times reported the findings of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism.

The report had expressed “particular concern about a new, ‘symbiotic’ relationship between the traditional perpetrators of anti-semitism – the far-right and some Islamist extremists – who are united in their hatred of all things Jewish,” she continued.

In fact, the only example of this supposed alliance offered by the report is that some material has appeared on the website of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK) and also on far-right websites, though there is no indication that the material was antisemitic rather than anti-Zionist.

MPACUK may have an obsession with Zionism which some of us would regard as counterproductive, but it is hardly an “extremist” organisation. Its primary concern is to encourage young Muslims to engage with the political process in Britain. And the suggestion that MPACUK enjoys a “symbiotic relationship” with fascism is preposterous.

The fantasy about an alliance between fascists and Muslims in promoting hatred against the Jewish community also ignores the fact that the dominant far-right organisation in Britain, the British National Party, has now almost entirely abandoned public antisemitic propaganda in favour of inciting hatred against Islam.

This does not mean that the BNP has suddenly rid itself of anti-Jewish bigotry. The party’s basic cadre remains a gang of unreconstructed Hitler admirers and Holocaust deniers.

However, after Nick Griffin took over the BNP leadership from John Tyndall in 1999, he launched a process of “modernisation” that set out to transform the BNP’s political image with the aim of making the party electable.

In an article published in the fascist magazine Patriot shortly before he deposed Tyndall as chairman, Griffin explained his new strategy to the BNP membership.

“Of course, we must teach the truth to the hardcore, for, like you, I do not intend this movement to lose its way. But, when it comes to influencing the public, forget about racial differences, genetics, Zionism, historical revisionism [Holocaust denial] and so on – all ordinary people want to know is what we can do for them that the other parties can’t or won’t.”

In 2005, in an interview for the right-wing Zionist website Think-Israel, Griffin “explained” that his party no longer promoted “the old fantasies about learned elders of Zion controlling the world and the rabid anti-Semitism that they reflect and incite.” He added: “The idea that ‘the Jew is the enemy’ is simply over for us now and not a moment too soon, because now we can get on with the real struggles.”

And, for Griffin, the most important of these “real struggles” is against Muslims.

In an article posted on the BNP website earlier this year, Griffin stated emphatically: “To even hint of making common cause with Islam – or put ourselves in a position when opponents can suggest to the masses that this is the case – is political insanity.”

He rejected the arguments of “those ‘hardliners’ who would rather attack the Jews than the Muslims,” condemning them as “people whose one-track concern about ‘the Jews’ is blinding them to the clear and present danger of resurgent Islam.”

Griffin argued that, rather than attacking the Jewish community, “We should be positioning ourselves to take advantage for our own political ends of the growing wave of public hostility to Islam currently being whipped up by the mass media.”

Significantly, Griffin has justified his party’s anti-Muslim policy by referring approvingly to the writer Bat Ye’or, whom the New York Times has described as one of the “most extreme voices on the new Jewish right.”

Ye’or is the author of a book entitled Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, the thesis of which has been summarised by journalist Johann Hari as follows.

“Europe is on the brink of being transformed into a conquered continent called Eurabia. In this new land, Christians and Jews will be reduced by the new Muslim majority to the status of ‘dhimmis’ – second-class citizens forced to ‘walk in the gutter.’

“This will not happen by accident. It is part of a deliberate and ‘occult’ plan, concocted between the Arab League and leading European politicians like Jacques Chirac and Mary Robinson, who secretly love Islam and are deliberately flooding the continent with Muslim immigrants.”

Hari characterises this as “a conspiracy theory about Muslims that teeters very close to being a 21st century Protocols of the Elders of Mecca.”

As Griffin told Think-Israel, “We are deeply concerned about the mainly – though not exclusively – French elite project to morph the EU, Turkey and the Maghreb into Eurabia. Bat Ye’or is 100 per cent right about this.

“If this now far-advanced scheme comes to fruition, then it would in turn lead to the Islamification of the whole European continent. A generation ago, the revival of the historic Islamic threat to Europe would have been unthinkable. Now, it is clearly destined to be the great issue and decision of our time. For us, the closely linked threats of mass Third World immigration and Islamification outweigh all other considerations.”

In line with this approach, the BNP is also reassessing its public stance on Zionism. In an article on the BNP website posted during Israel’s war against Lebanon, BNP legal adviser Lee Barnes wrote:

“As a nationalist, I can say that I support Israel 100 per cent in their dispute with Hezbollah. In fact, I hope they wipe Hezbollah off the Lebanese map and bomb them until they leave large greasy craters in the cities where their Islamic extremist cantons of terror once stood.

“The 21st century is the Islamic century. Unless we start to resist the threat of Islamic extremism, then, within 100 years, the West will have become Eurabia.”

An accompanying article offered Barnes’s piece as evidence that “The BNP has moved on in recent years, casting off the leg-irons of conspiracy theories and the thinly veiled anti-Semitism which has held this party back for two decades.”

The “real enemies of the British people,” the article continued, are liberals, leftists and “the Crescent Horde – the endless wave of Islamics who are flocking to our shores to bring our island nations into the embrace of their barbaric desert religion.”

Along with its public renunciation of antisemitism, its readiness to take ideological inspiration from a Jewish author and its support for Israeli military aggression against Lebanon, the BNP even has a councillor of Jewish origin – Patricia Richardson, who was elected in Epping Forest in 2004.

It remains to be seen how the BNP will continue to evolve under Griffin’s leadership. However, given its current political trajectory, the possibility of the BNP making a pitch for the support of a right-wing minority within the Jewish community on an anti-Muslim programme, as the far-right party Vlaams Belang has successfully done in Belgium, cannot be excluded.

Indeed, BNP member and veteran fascist John Bean recently made the point that, “minus the anti-Semitism,” a section of the Jewish community will “like much of what we have to say. The mere fact of our opposition to the Muslim threat, which lusts to wipe them off the face off the earth, guarantees some do.”

Such an alliance is, at any rate, a lot more likely than the so-called “symbiotic relationship” between the BNP and Muslim extremists that exists only in the imagination of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism.

Published in the Morning Star, 20 September 2006