Putting Vlaams Belang in perspective

I asked reliable sources who had attended the counterjihad conference in Brussels what they think of the charge that Vlaams Belang is a Nazi-like, racist, anti-Semitic party. The following is culled from that exchange.

LA writes:

Is there a smoking gun after all? I have read that they have historic roots in collaborationist elements in WWII. But what is the significance of that today?

First source replies:

This is the saga and legacy of most of Western Europe’s current leading political parties, certainly in those nations that were overrun and occupied by the Nazis. Moreover, on a more personal level, Dewinter’s father was in the Resistance.

Second source replies:

1) Collaborationism is not a problem of Vlaams Belang only. It is the problem of much of Europe—Austria, France, Italy, etc. If all the collaborators had been jailed or excluded from politics, the ranks of postwar European politicians would have been decimated. De Gaulle declared an amnesty and took into his cabinet former collaborators. Maurice Couve de Murville, who had been a Vichy civil servant, joined the government of postwar France. He was the French ambassador to Egypt when Nasser welcomed many German Nazi war criminals who helped him in his anti-Jewish propaganda and policy. Couve de Murville later became a minister. Francois Mitterand was a former Vichy civil servant who became president of France. He nominated as a minister Maurice Papon, who had been responsible for sending hundred of Jewish children to Auschwitz just before the end of the war. Austria elected as its president Kurt Walheim, former Secretary General of the U.N., a great friend of Arafat and a former Nazi officer in the Balkans during the war. Masses of former Nazis moved to the socialist parties and linked up with their former allies, the Arabs who are against Israel, America, and a free Europe. The same can be said about the European Communists. They first allied with the Nazis during the Hitler-Stalin Pact before the Nazis invaded the USSR, and they never apologized for having supported an inhumane regime that killed 40 million people.

In a sense Eurabia was born from Nazism (with many former Nazis joining the left) and from Communism. The left is not entitled to attack Filip Dewinter without taking responsibility for its own criminals.

2) I think Dewinter is right when he says that the Nazi collaborators were amnestied by other parties. Even criminals became ministers (France) and chief of state (Austria). In my view the amnesty was wrong, because of the extent of the crime and the inhumanity of those who inflicted so much suffering on innocent people. I notice that Filip differentiates between collaborators and criminals. This distinction has not been applied by the socialist parties in France and Austria.

LA replies:

Let’s put it this way. What are the two worst things that can be said about VB, and what are the answers to those?

First source replies:

Honestly, the whole thing is beyond me. I’ve read Belien, I’ve read the Vlaams Belang platform, I see their public behaviors, and their positions are as follows: philo-Semitic vis a vis Jews and the State of Israel, including the denunciation of the Belgian Parliament for hosting Arafat and for refusing to host Sharon; pro-American, pro traditional liberal values (as I learned from reading you, those are now “conservative!”).

I find the entire attack on Vlaams Belang absurd given the profundity of the Nazi legacy in Europe, and the striking moral differences between the current incarnation of VB on one hand and the rest of the EU body politic on the other.

LA replies:

This is very helpful.

Based on what you’ve said, let me reduce the argument to simplified terms, including looking at VB in the worst possible light, for the sake of getting down to the essentials:

1. Many of today’s European elites had roots or political antecedents in collaborationism with Nazi Germany with its exterminationist anti-Semitic program.

2. The current political elites, generally the left and extreme left of Europe, many of whom had personal or political roots in anti-Semitic collaborationism, are today on the side of those seeking to destroy Israel; are actively turning Europe over to exterminationist Muslims; and are striving to silence and criminalize all Europeans who oppose this project.

3. These same elites, who historically pursued anti-Jewish policies and at present are still pursuing anti-Jewish policies, seek to demonize, marginalize, and ban the Vlaams Belang, which like them has historic roots in collaborationism, but which unlike them is at present philo-Semitic, pro-Israel, anti-Muslim, against the Islamization of Europe, and demanding the right of Europeans to speak and act on this issue.

Does that get the picture?

First source replies:

I think this is a fair assessment.
- end of initial entry -

James P. writes:

I don’t think it’s proper to call Austrians like Kurt Waldheim “collaborators.” Austria was not an occupied country like France or Belgium, despite their postwar efforts to represent themselves as Nazi victims.

It is certainly notable that for all the Walloon finger pointing about the “fascist” Flemish, the Walloons themselves had their own collaborationist movement (wiki “Rexism”) and formed their own SS unit that served on the Eastern Front.

Ken Hechtman writes:

I don’t know … I think your Second Source is being a bit simplistic, as in “Everything we currently don’t like (Eurabia and liberals) has a direct-line connection to everything we didn’t used to like (Nazis and Communists).”

I just don’t buy that the primary motivation of “masses of former Nazis” in the immediate postwar period was: “OK, the gas chamber scheme didn’t work out as well as we’d hoped. What can we do to shaft the Jews next? I know! Let’s all become leftists, ally with a bunch of desert Arab kings nobody ever heard of and repopulate Europe with Arab immigrants. That ought to really stick it to the Jews!” [LA replies: Yes, it’s hard to imagine that that was their conscious intention, but that’s exactly what happened, isn’t it?]

Post-war de-Nazification was a tough problem and it had people smarter than you and me pulling their hair out for years. You might say that what they settled on was an example of an Unprincipled Exception. The principle says when people aid and abet crimes against humanity at any level, you try, convict and execute them. And it’s not a bad principle as principles go, the problem is it just doesn’t scale. What if there are millions of collaborators and it would take Soviet-size purges to get them all? What if the collaborators include most everyone who knows anything about running the machinery of a 20th century industrial state? What if restricting participation in public life to only those people who hid in the woods and fought the Nazis would guarantee Communist governments right up to the English Channel?

So the distinction between criminals and collaborators may have been a convenient fiction, but it was a necessary one.

LA replies:

Well, it seems that Mr. Hechtman has only underscored the main point that was made in defense of Vlaams Belang: that Europe in the postwar period was filled with and run by amnestied former collaborators; but that now the former collaborators who have a pro-Islamization and at least implicitly anti-Jewish program are condemning the former collaborators (or rather the people politically descended from former collaborators) who have an anti-Islamization and pro-Jewish program. And this group that is pro-Jewish and anti-Islam is being condemned, as Nazi-types, for seeking the same sort of amnesty for its members as other parties which are pro-Islam and anti-Jewish have gotten for their members.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 09, 2007 04:30 PM | Send

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