When headlines spread all over the world about the Gaza riots, many readers outside Israel believed that Israel is a terrorist state which targets peaceful demonstrators with no reason other than from an unquenchable bloodthirst. At its core, this belief repeats the old phrase, according to which the “victims of the Holocaust have now become perpetrators.”
This, on the other hand, has been translated into a malevolent equation of Israel and Nazi-Germany. It is a tricky game played by people, who insist they are “not anti-Semites but anti-Zionists.” Then “Zionism is Nazism,” they say.
I will argue it is just the other way round. What about the presence of swastikas in supposed peaceful and nonviolent anti-Zionist demonstrations in Gaza then?
On Friday, the 6th of April, an IDF spokesperson published a photograph of two Palestinian flags between which was a black swastika on a white canvas. In my social media circles, the first reactions to the picture evoked were anger and sadness, but then there were comments in which the authenticity of the photo was questioned. Some people thought it was a heavily photoshopped propaganda photo based on fiction and spread by the Middle East’s supposed strongest propaganda machine, the Israel Defense Forces. Someone replied the IDF’s Twitter thread by sharing a few seconds long YouTube video of the very same swastika flag combination. The video was published by the World Jewish Congress. In my circle, even this did not convince them, for as much as people say they have nothing against Jews, here, according to them, Jewish sources cannot be trusted in this particular case because Israel is a part of the conflict, and thus Jews cannot maintain “neutrality.” Of course, when al-Qaida hit France, none of these people said one should not trust French officials or media, because they are a part of the conflict between al-Qaida and France.
Among European activists of whom many are leftists, it is a common belief that the Jewish state is a colonialist project, and that the real sufferers are the indigenous inhabitants, the Palestinians. Everyone wants to play good Samaritan and help the weak, so people choose their side after deciding, which one in the narrative provided by mainstream media is the David threatened by Goliath. This would explain why these good Samaritans were so shocked about seeing the swastika held by their dearly beloved Palestinian brothers.
Two weeks later, the Times of Israel reported of another swastika. This time the swastika was painted in a petrol bomb kite aimed at Israeli civilians. Only few news sites seemed to be interested in covering the story.
Apparently, the swastika just did not fit into the widespread narrative of the peaceful demonstrations. However, the truth is more complicated than the narrative of David and Goliath, for in reality, when it comes to Israel, many far right racists share the very same opinions and views with their counterparts in the radical left. The opposite poles meet in a full circle, for there is no real difference between far right and far left as they both are forms of totalitarianism. At the end of the day, these two extremes find their lost brother in Islamic fundamentalism, which seeks to annihilate the Jewish state and replace it by a society ruled by full force Sharia. The difference between Hamas and the Taliban is just that Hamas bears a heritage of extreme nationalism, but this does not seem to bother the pro-Hamas western activists, who otherwise say they are scared to death of white nationalism. Somehow, Islamist nationalism is good nationalism, while white nationalism is a threat to humankind.
Since the neo-Nazi gathering in Charlottesville last August, everyone must have noticed the white supremacist Nazi phenomenon is real and effective. However, skinhead Nazis with (their) pilot leather jackets and warm beer cans in their hands pose only a limited threat. One might get worried about current political trends in the former Soviet bloc, but I do not really see that genuine Nazis have taken over anywhere in western societies even though there are reports warning of democracy in crisis in some certain countries.
Europe has faced an unprecedented wave of immigration, and there are cases in which one could ask if asylum seekers have truly received justice. Yet there is not any implementation of laws that would discriminate any minority group of European citizens. Despite some social media memes, the Holocaust has nothing in common with the European refugee crisis. Nothing in contemporary western civilization reminds the Nuremburg laws implemented by Nazi-Germany. This is because there are no Nazis in power now. Therefore, the impact of the traditional white supremacist far-right Nazism should not be exaggerated.
There is, however, one characteristically new phenomenon in contemporary white racially racist Nazism, and this is something that draws Nazis and left wing anti-Israel activists together. I am talking about anti-Zionism.
Take this quote, for example:
“The recent Israeli invasion of Gaza has been a nearly non-stop bloodshed of innocent Palestinians… Genocide of Arabs in the region is the Israeli goal, with the continued attacks on infrastructure, hospitals, schools, and housing blocks exposing their agenda.”
Sounds pretty much like the famous conspiracy theorist Richard Falk, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” One might think it helps a little, if I tell the writer also quoted passages from the World Council of Churches related Kairos-Palestine document. In one of the carefully selected paragraphs, the writer quotes the document as it reads, “the military occupation of our land is a sin against God and humanity, and that any theology that legitimizes the occupation is far from Christian teachings.”
Certainly, ideas like these are common among mainstream liberal church crowds. However, this is not the case here, for the author was one the prominent figures in Charlottesvile’s Unite the Right rally in last August. His name is Matthew Heimbach, and he is a neo-Nazi.
Let me take another example. On Monday the 14th of May, a demonstration in support for the Gaza riots was held in the city of Dortmund in Germany. During the protest, a banner was seen with colors of Israeli flag. In the banner, it read, “The state Israel is our misfortune.” British Hamas affiliate Azzam Tamimi might have said that, as he is of an opinion that the whole of Israeli land from the river to the sea belongs to his fellow Muslims. Therefore, Tamimi says, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem is not a big deal, for is not Tel Aviv occupied land too. Tamimi is very clear about that for radical Islamist, the occupation never refers to the so-called sixty-seven borders but to the existence of the Jewish state.
The Dortmund protesters waved Palestinian flags too. Based on what we know about anti-Israel protests in Europe, my guess would be the demonstration was organized by local far leftists in cooperation with the Muslim Brotherhood’s European affiliations. This time, however, the demonstrators were not radical leftists but German neo-Nazis.
A third example. Retired German pastor, who forty years ago was active in founding a new branch of the German green party, recently participated in another German party’s political event as one of the program’s speakers. The 77-years old pastor is a prominent supporter of the BDS movement. So which party’s invitation he had accepted? Perhaps it helps a little, if I tell the party itself is a stalwart anti-Zionist supporter of the BDS.
Well, our pastor here, known by the name of Friedrich Bode, joined the event organized by the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands, NPD. It is a neo-Nazi party.
My last example. So many times, I have heard analysts, activists, academics, presidents and even Nobel peace prize winners arguing how the continuing destabilization of the Middle-East is caused by Israel. Had Israel laid her guns down and offered an independent state to the Palestinian nation, there would be an everlasting peace from North West Africa to the last piece of sand in the Arab peninsula. Hamas would not launch rockets in Israeli kindergartens.