Last October a well-known Holocaust denier, Nick Kollerstrom, managed to bring around the same table, quite a diverse bunch of people. There were Right-wing antisemites, such as the Holocaust denier Alison Chabloz and the conspiracy theorist Ian Fantom. And there were also Far Left anti-Zionists such as Miko Peled, a scion of a prestigious Zionist family who has recently become an advocate for “civil rights for the Palestinians”, which, in his case, means calling for the end of the State of Israel and attending the 2017 Labour Party conference to advocate (at a fringe event) freedom of speech for Holocaust deniers.
That October event is well known, and it has been exposed on these pages by the CST and the charity Hope not Hate.
It can be read as evidence of the horseshoe theory, or an example of how the far-left and the far-right are no longer opposite sides of a political spectrum, as they pretend to be. Rather than that, Far Right and Far Left share a conspiratorial worldview and the same totalitarian inclinations.
This is not exactly a surprise. On a regular day, a quick look at social media, via hashtags such as #Zionism or #Palestine provides much evidence in support of the horseshoe theory. Antisemitic rants that used to be part of the far-right repertoire, such as “Zionist ran media” or “Jewish thirst for types of blood” are now common on the timeline of your average far left radical. They also believe that the Zionists run the media and that the Jews, when they wear the uniform of the Israeli Army, are thirsty for the blood of children (of Palestinian children, to be exact)
The phenomenon is not new. For decades the far-right has been infiltrating the far-left, searching to build alliances in support of the Palestinian cause. The former Belgian SS, and “National Bolshevik” theorist, Jean-François Thiriart served as an adviser for the PLO in the 1970s. Franco Giorgio Freda, a publisher of Nazi propaganda and a prominent organiser of Far-Right terrorist networks, boasts to have organised the first pro-Palestinian demonstration in Italy in 1974. And the list goes on.
The far-right has never been interested in finding a solution to the conflict between Israel and the Arab countries. Their main goal has always been, and still is, to weaken the Jews (sorry: “the Zionists”) and to rally against “the elites”, “the bankers”, “those who control the media”. Which are expressions that we read today on social media timelines of both far-right and far-left militants.
Unfortunately, this kind of populism, which unifies left and right, seems to have some supporters even in the Jewish world. I am thinking of fringe groups such as Jewdas, Naamod, Jewish Voices for Labour, whose rhetoric against the democratically elected Jewish institution (obviously “complicit in Israeli apartheid”) resembles, very closely, the conspiratorial thinking (“they want to silence us! they control the media!”) that used to be part of the repertoire of the Far Right.
And now we find it on the opposite side.