Believe it or not, I found this post a hard one to write. Kate McMillan continues to create an interesting and provocative blog. I read it regularly even after being banned from commenting there for reproducing hateful, racist remarks from the Small Dead Animals combox here at my place.
But defending a neo-Nazi party crosses the line. And here we have just that.
Let's talk a bit about the Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest), a couple of whose leaders got nabbed by the cops in Brussels for participating in a racist parade and resisting arrest. Their party slogan, found in the title of this post, translates as "Our People First!"
Vlaams Belang is a Flemish separatist party that was founded by Nazi collaborators, arising from the Vlaams Blok, outlawed in 2004 by a Belgian court. Its current leader is Filip deWinter, one of those arrested in Brussels. He's no dummy: in the European context, his tactical championing of Jews as European culture-bearers, and his defence of Israel, have muddied the waters sufficiently for the credulous to imagine that he's a mainstream, if cranky, supporter of all that is politically holy. After all, he despises Muslims, doesn't he? He stands for something, but he's not one of those...neo-Nazis, is he?
Jewish leaders in Belgium aren't as gullible as Kate McMillan: they see Dewinter for what he is. Brussels Liberal Party Parliamentarian Viviane Teitelbaum Hirsch, for example, says:
I think we have to act strongly to be the guardians of democracy and never leave any important principle to be defended by the extreme right, because we know their way of caring for it is not sincere.*
Underlining the obvious and cynical political calculations behind deWinter's philosemitism, Vlaams Belang has joined a coalition in the European Parliament that's bursting at the seams with anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers, including the party of Mussolini's grand-daughter and the openly anti-Semitic parties Ataka (a Bulgarian formation) and the Greater Romanian party. A lovely bunch: read all about the latter two here.
A far-right, racist party defended over at Small Dead Animals? Some might say it was only a matter of time. But frankly, I'm sorry to see it.
UPDATE: (September 12) I guess I shouldn't be surprised: one of Kate's regulars in the comments defends child-abusing fascist Mario Borghezio, arrested on the same demonstration.
*The link hits a subscriber wall when pasted in, but the entire article, including this quotation and others from Belgian Jewish leaders, can be found by Googling "How the European far right learned to love the Jews", the title of the article, by Sarah Wildman in the New Republic.