Friday, July 13, 2018

The (Kosher) Axis Rides Again

This time with Israel's approval, of course:

"Support for Europe's right-wing populist parties, and their response to the challenges caused by the refugee/migrant wave, is rising... Last week, the German, Austrian and Italian ministers of the interior initiated an 'axis' of states aiming at stopping immigration to Europe, confirming their commitments to an already thriving reactionary nationalistic trend in both eastern as well as western Europe. Israel is in effect a silent partner to this 'axis': it is doing its utmost not only to prevent what its government terms 'infiltrators' from entering Israel, but also to get rid of those who were able to cross the Egyptian/Israeli border in the past.

"It was the Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, who after his short visit to Israel last week (re) coined the term 'Axis' for the Berlin-Vienna-Rome anti-immigrant alliance, a term which even people with relatively crude historical antennae will recognize for its historical resonances. That was straight after getting an enthusiastic 'kosher certification' from Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, thanks to Kurz's speech in Jerusalem, in which he admitted that Austrians were not only victims but also perpetrators during WWII...

"It would be no surprise if he interpreted his warm welcome in Israel as a laissez passer for his far right populist coalition partner, euphemistically called the 'Freedom Party,' whom Israel, until now, still officially boycotts on account of its neo-Nazi roots...

"The Austrian Freedom Party is attempting - like other European populist parties - to use Israel as a springboard for international legitimization. The first tactical step of such parties is to demonstrate support for Israel's nationalist government policy, in order to get that coveted so-called kosher certificate. Then, they move on to the second step: They proclaim their aversion to anti-Semitism, past and present... " (Israel: the one place Europe's anti-Semitic far right wins the Jewish vote, Shimon Stein, Haaretz, 20/6/18)

One wonders why all of this should come as a bit of a surprise to Stein, a former Israeli ambassador to Germany (2001-07). After all, didn't political Zionism's founding father, Theodor Herzl, predict that "The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies"? And isn't it typical of liberal Zionists like Stein to raise the issue of Israel's anti-African refugee policies, but remain silent when it comes to those other, Palestinian, refugees?

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