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On the British National Party’s “Pro-Israel” Turn

In January of this year, BNP leader Nick Griffin was interviewed by the Tel Aviv daily Ma’ariv and declared that he now has ‘no time for anti-Semites’. A few days later, he penned an article for the BNP website in … Read More

By / February 24, 2009

In January of this year, BNP leader Nick Griffin was interviewed by the Tel Aviv daily Ma’ariv and declared that he now has ‘no time for anti-Semites’. A few days later, he penned an article for the BNP website in which he claimed that although ‘[t]he fighting in Gaza is not a proper concern for a British political party’ he nonetheless felt that ‘while we would oppose any move to entangle Britain in war on behalf of Israel, it is in our clear national interest that it should survive’. All this comes in the wake of a vicious anti-Muslim campaign that has been waged by the BNP in the past few years as it has sought to reposition itself as an ‘anti-Jihadist’ party.

Some have excitedly pointed to the BNP’s apparent Damascene conversion to support for Israel as proof of their Zionism = Nazism fantasies, while for others the BNP is seen to be ‘cleaning up its act’ and to now be a pro-Western as opposed to pro-racist organisation. But beneath the rhetoric of anti-Jihadism and support for Israel has the BNP really changed?

Many far-right hardliners see Griffin’s attempts at rehabilitation to be an entirely cynical attempt at repackaging the BNP in the hope of short-term gains. Veteran Fascist and Mosley cultist Robert Edwards, for example, is distinctly unimpressed and unconvinced by Griffin’s new approach. Writing on his ‘Europe a Nation’ blog, Edwards notes:

The leader of the British National Party has taken up the cause of Israel after years of trying to expose the wicked Jewish influence in the British media and poking fun at the “Holohoax”, as he then dubbed it. The term “wicked” is now reserved for another religious group, like swapping the latest designer fashion for another. The intention is the same but without the dreaded “anti-Semitic” label. The BNP’s line is that Israeli Jews are just like us Europeans and hate Arabs and other Muslims with the same intensity as the leaders of that party.

Edwards’ observations are damning:

The BNP, under Nick Griffin, has struggled for the past several years in order to re-invent itself, bending over backwards to follow similar groups on the continent that have adopted a stridently pro-Israel line. They think that being anti-Muslim and pro-Jewish will open the doors to mainstream politics, when recent election results have proven that this is not the case.

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Quite often, this transformation took the form of attacking nationalistic critics of Israel by labelling them anti-Semites with the implication that they are largely influenced by the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. The BNP’s leader, Nick Griffin, was the author of a booklet entitled ‘The Mindbenders’, an exposé of alleged disproportionate Jewish influence in the British media. This was published within recent memory with the BNP now attempting to erase aspects of its history by saying Griffin had nothing to do with it. Unfortunately for him, we have the following quote in stark contradiction to the latest ‘in denial’ struggle of conscience. In issue number 3, on page 11, of The Patriot 1999, he declares, “I have been busy writing The Mindbenders”. Indelible, unambiguous and unequivocal! What makes people like Griffin believe that political somersaults and twisted contortions will benefit them in the long run when inconsistency and downright opportunism does not go unnoticed and will surely follow them for the rest of their lives? John Tyndall could never shake off his penchant for Nazi uniforms in the early 1960s, paraded for the whole world on the front page of the Daily Mirror. It was a propaganda gift to his enemies on the extreme-left and to his own internal rivals. They used it against him time and again. After years of servility to JT, Griffin decided to challenge him on the issue of modernising the party and ridding it of the old guard anti-Semites, even though he was one himself, referring to the ‘Holohoax’ in his Rune magazine. Tyndall was given the ‘let’s get rid of the Nazis’ treatment that became more acrimonious as time went by. Griffin, as we all know, won the contest. The Griffin gang also discovered a substitute for the old anti-Semitism in the form of a wildly exaggerated anti-Islamism, with the foul-mouthed Lee Barnes appointing himself the BNP’s Witch-Finder General. On April 9, 2006, Barnes informed me, “Islam is a direct threat to our safety. Jewish power is a mere political threat. When faced with two tigers trying to destroy you but you have only one bullet in your rifle what do you do?”

That Griffin’s turn away from anti-Semitism and towards anti-Muslim vitriol is little more than a superficial political trick is strongly suggested by a March 2006 report by The Nation on an American ‘white nationalist’ gathering attended by Griffin:

Many attendees of the American Renaissance conference were so fixated on the “Jewish question,” they seemed deaf to the latest tactics promoted by the conference’s European speakers … Speaking on the conference’s first day, Griffin suggested his move away from anti-Semitism was purely tactical. “The proper enemy to any political movement isn’t necessarily the most evil and the worst,” he advised. “The proper enemy is the one we can most easily defeat.”

The same month, Griffin wrote an article for the BNP website in which he tried to explain these tactics:

Particularly in the United States, in Germany, and among small theoretical groups in most European countries (Britain included), there are a fair few sincere people who are quite convinced that we shouldn’t be nasty to Islam and that “the real enemy is the Jew.”

So here’s my warning to these people: The enemy of your old enemy may turn out not to be your friend, but something much worse. And, on top of that piece of facts-of-life commonsense, there is a piece of plain realpolitik that those who attack the BNP stance on Islam should also take into account:

They are perilously close to entrenching themselves in political dead ground from which there can be no escape. Instead of working to take advantage of the biggest crisis that the genocidal multi-culti ‘experiment’ has ever faced, they are in danger of turning themselves into a despised, powerless and doomed cartoon caricature – a composite of Tokyo Rose, Lord Haw Haw and Jane Fonda. Truly, they are living examples of the old adage that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, and then as farce.

So it is that Griffin, a man with a long history of promoting anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, has woken up to modern political realities and can see that the kind of ideas he spent much of the ’90s promulgating will get the BNP nowhere. For Griffin, the contemporary rise of Jihadism and Islamism provides the perfect opportunity to ‘take advantage of’ for political gain and it is precisely for this reason that he has started making statements against anti-Semitism and taking a superficially pro-Israel stance. The vast majority of British citizens don’t buy into the kind of anti-Semitic drivel that was formerly central to BNP ideology, but many ordinary people have become fearful of Muslims in the aftermath of 9/11, Madrid, and 7/7. For Griffin, this fear represents the BNP’s biggest hope yet for converting people to its cause. By de-emphasising racism and playing up the notion that the BNP is the one great British bulwark against Jihadism the BNP has discovered a trojan horse issue to mask its real agenda. The BNP’s ‘pro-Israel’ turn must be understood in this context and seen for the cynical and shallow political trick that it is.

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