Conférence au Congrès américain sur le néo-nazisme et l'islam radical en Europe

Le 4 juin dernier, le co-président du European Jewish Parliament Joël Rubinfeld et des parlementaires de plusieurs pays européens se sont rendus aux Etats-Unis pour participer à la conférence organisée par le mouvement international des droits de l'homme “World without Nazism” qui s'est tenue au Congrès américain, à Washington, D.C. Les différents intervenants ont témoigné de la montée de l'antisémitisme, de la xénophobie et de l'homophobie en Europe, notamment du fait des partis néo-nazis Jobbik en Hongrie et Aube dorée en Grèce. Les discussions se sont ensuite poursuivies avec les membres du Congrès américain Eliot Engel (D-NY), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) et Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) concernant les mesures à prendre tant en Europe qu'aux Etats-Unis pour lutter contre le néo-nazisme et la nouvelle forme de fascisme qu'est l'islam radical.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Distinguished guests,

In Hungary, the anti-Semitic and anti-Roma political party Jobbik became the country’s third largest party after the 2009 European Parliamentary elections.

Jobbik confirmed this trend the following year, winning 16.7 percent of the popular vote at the 2010 national elections, and holding 43 of the 386 seats at the Hungarian Parliament. Four years ago, in previous national elections, Jobbik got a mere 2.2 percent of the votes.

Some facts about Jobbik officials:

- Judit Szima was a Jobbik's candidate at the 2009 European elections. A police officer, Szima also serves as Secretary-General of a trade union close to Jobbik and editor of its newsletter in which you can read violent statements such as: “Given our current situation, anti-Semitism is not just our right, but it is the duty of every Hungarian homeland lover, and we must prepare for armed battle against the Jews.”

- In 2012, Jobbik MP Zsolt Baráth invoked in Parliament an infamous blood libel that led to incitement against 19th century Hungarian Jews and linked it with another classical anti-Semitic stereotype about Jewish control of international finance.

- A few months later, Jobbik MP and Vice-Chairman of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Marton Gyongyosi, demanded that all government officials of Jewish origin be officially listed as they were a potential “national security risk”.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's ruling conservative Fidesz party also faced accusations of anti-Semitism and being sympathetic to Nazism.

- Fidesz members openly praised the former fascist Hungarian leader Miklos Horthy. Under Horthy, several anti-Jewish laws were passed and the deportations of Hungarian Jews to the Nazi death camps started.

- Last year, Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament, Laszlo Kover, attended a commemoration of Jozsef Nyiro in Romania. Hungarian writer Jozsef Nyiro was a Member of Parliament of the pro-Nazi Arrow Cross Party during World War II. Nyiro referred to Jews as “well-poisoners” who “destroy the Hungarian soul, who infect our spirit”.

- Two months ago, the Hungarian government awarded its top journalism prize to a television presenter notorious for spreading Jewish conspiracy theories and describing the country's Roma minority as “human monkeys”. Following international criticism, the government was eventually forced to hand back his award.

- Last week, Budapest Mayor, Istvan Tarlos, decided to rename a street in the Hungarian capital after the writer Cecile Tormay, who was openly anti-Semitic and one of the favorite authors of Nazi-ally Miklos Horthy.

In Greece, the neo-Nazi political party Golden Dawn led by Nikolaos Michaloliakos, nicknamed the “Greek Führer”, won 6.9 percent of the popular vote at the last elections, a year ago.

Exploiting xenophobia, anti-Semitism and public anger over the financial crisis, Golden Dawn entered for the first time the Greek Parliament in 2012 and aspires, as declared Golden Dawn's MP Ilias Panagiotaros, “to become like Hezbollah as a second government for the benefit of Greek citizens.”

Golden Dawn has been blamed for numerous acts of violence and hate crimes. In 1999, Golden Dawn's member Pantelis Kazakos shot and killed two people and wounded seven others in Athens, all of them immigrants. In 2011, a Golden Dawn supporter was reported to have killed a Bangladeshi immigrant. And last year, Golden Dawn was blamed for the killing of a 27-year-old Pakistani worker, stabbed to death in downtown Athens by two men.

Golden Dawn ideology is deeply rooted in Nazi ideology.

- In 1987, Golden Dawn's leader Michaloliakos published in the party’s magazine an article titled “Hitler for 1000 years”, in which he wrote: “We are the faithful soldiers of the National Socialist idea and nothing else”, then praised “ the battle for the final victory of our race” and ended with “HEIL HITLER!”

- In 1990, at Golden Dawn's first congress, the hall was decorated with the Swastika and the Wolfsangel.

- In 2012, Golden Dawn's leader said about Auschwitz in a TV interview: “There were no ovens -- it's a lie. I believe it's a lie. There were no gas chambers either.”

- In 2012, MP and Golden Dawn's spokesperson Ilias Kasidiaris quoted the antisemitic hoax “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” in a speech to Parliament.

- Golden Dawn members repeatedly appeared giving Nazi salute, among them its leader Michaloliakos.

Add to this gloomy picture the “continuing failure” -- as described by Amnesty International -- of the Greek authorities to take action to put an end to racist violence, the accusations of police bias after it emerged that 50 percent of Athens police officers voted for Golden Dawn, and the recent opinion polls which show that Golden Dawn ranks third among Greek political parties, with support at 10 to 12 percent. Additional reasons feeding concerns about the future of Greece, a EU-member State and the craddle of Western civilization.

Regarding Latvia, I will not go deep into the issue as my colleagues will give you an accurate picture of the situation.

I would, however, like to highlight two particular facts about this country.

Firstly, Latvia is the first country in the world where a monument paying tribute to Waffen-SS was erected since the end of World War II. This monument was unveiled in the small town of Bauska nine months ago. This happened not in Iran, in Hamas-ruled Gaza strip or in south Beirut's Hezbollah stronghold. No, this infamy took place in Latvia, a member of the European Union which was built on the promise “Never Again”.

Secondly, since the early 90's, hundreds of people are marching in the center of Riga on March 16 to commemorate the Latvian Waffen-SS. The last two years, I was in Riga to see by myself the unthinkable: 1,500 Waffen-SS’ supporters going in procession to the Freedom Monument and laying flowers at its foot in memory of the Latvian subcontractors of Adolf Hitler. I saw dozens of children in this crowd led by former Waffen-SS. And I saw also, next to the former Waffen-SS, the leader of the National Alliance party, Raivis Dzintars, and members of his political party, Latvian MPs as well as its sole MEP.

Unlike Jobbik in Hungary and Golden Dawn in Greece, the National Alliance party led by Raivis Dzintars is member of the ruling coalition. Therefore, the responsibility of the government is fully engaged. Unfortunately, it seems that the European Union and the international community prefer to turn a blind eye rather than holding the Latvian government accountable for its acts.

We can deduce from the Hungarian, Greek and Latvian examples that the revival and trivialization of Nazism in its traditional form is a clear and present danger in Central and Eastern Europe. This trend exist also in Western Europe, but at a much lower level than witnessed in the rest of Europe.

Alongside this “traditional fascism”, Western Europe is mainly facing an other form of fascism which is no less dangerous than the traditional one: radical Islam.

This matter deserves all our attention while a new kind of totalitarism develops itself in Western European countries under cover of both an economic and identity crisis.

Different names, same approach. Nazism and Islamism share the same deeply-rooted anti-Semitism, read the same books – “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and “Mein Kampf” – and use the same methods: terror and indiscriminate violence.

Last year, a gunman opened fire at a Jewish school in France, killing a rabbi and his two young sons, then chased down a 7-year-old girl, shooting her dead at point-blank range. The cold-blood murderer, Mohammed Merah, is the paroxystic example of this new fom of fascism which grows in Western Europe.

And when I read in the study made two years ago by three major universities in Belgium, that 50 percent of the young Muslims living in Brussels -- the Washington of Europe -- are anti-Semite, I ask to myself: how much Merah will there be tomorrow?

Make no mistake. Not all Muslims are anti-Semite. Jews and moderate Muslims are on the same boat and face the same threats, as do the British writer Salman Rushdie or the courageous French Imam of Drancy Hassen Chalghoumi.

When we look at the situation in Europe, whether in the East with the revival of Nazism or in the West with the emergence of a new fascism, the picture cause a great deal of concern. And if the economic crisis is indeed a fertile ground to the rise of totalitarism, so is political irresponsibility.

Today, we have a duty of means but also of results. Otherwise, we run the risk of having our children or grand-children holding us accountable of what we didn’t do or did wrong.