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The rightwing settlers and their European friends

Guest post by Phil

Tuesday morning this week in Brussels saw a sight that should put to rest any ideas that there is anything legitimate about the leadership of the rightwing Jewish settler movement in the occupied territories, and scare the living daylights out of Jewish communities on the European continent.

Gathered in one of the large conference rooms of the European Parliament sat two members of the Israeli Knesset: Rabbi Nissim Zeev from the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, a maverick within his own political grouping but nonetheless one with a proud record of racist and homophobic invective; and Lia Shemtov from Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party. Joining the Israeli delegation at the event were Gershon Mesika, head of the Samaria Settlements Council, and Professor Hillel Weiss, a man whose own publisher freely admits “challenges the very politically correct terms such as human rights, democracy and racism”.

Alongside, sat David Ha’ivri, a man raised in the racist Kach movement of the late Meir Kahane and who has served a jail sentence for desecrating a mosque as well as famously celebrating the anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Ha’ivri today works as a special advisor and spokesman for Mesika.

They were the guests at a conference entitled “Peace in the Middle East.”. A famous American comedian once said that when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, satire was dead. It was revived in Brussels this week.

Nevertheless the Israelis were just the guests. You can’t get rooms in the European Parliament unless an MEP books them for you. Enter, stage right, the official hosts of the event.

At the top of the list: Andreas Molzer from the Austrian Freedom Party (FPO). In May 2008, according to Searchlight, Molzer came to the UK to meet with Nick Griffin and BNP heads in London. Molzer has been the leading light in creating an ultra-right block in the European Parliament, incorporating such luminaries as the French Front National and the Flemish Vlaams Belang. Last month Molzer tabled a formal question to the European Parliament entitled: “Child deaths caused by halal meat”. Without any basis in fact, Molzer began by noting the “hundreds of children” that die in France of “bacterial infections caused by contaminated meat” and by wondering “to what extent the increase in E. coli contamination of minced or ground meat is linked with increasing consumption of halal or kosher meat.” Maybe he avoided the kosher lunch that his colleagues ate in Brussels.

Although at the top of the list of official hosts, Molzer wasn’t alone. Co-hosting the event were Philip Claeys MEP of the Vlaams Belang and Fiorella Provera, MEP of the only slightly less dodgy Lega Nord.

Provera is currently preparing another conference, this time in northern Italy, next month. The title: “The Secular State and Sharia Law in Western Democracies.” Mesika, Zeev, Molzer et al are proposed speakers at the event. Evidently, there’s a lot of mutual back scratching going on.

Molzer’s presence alongside Israeli politicians bang at the heart of the EU did not go down too well with Austria’s Jewish community. The country’s chief rabbi, Paul Chaim Eisenberg, wrote a private letter to Zeev begging him not to attend and detailing the long fascist history of the FPO. No matter. Zeev ignored the letter and went anyway. He did, though, remember to hand the private letter over to Molzer, who then launched a string of invective against Eisenberg.

So what’s the agenda?

Well, clearly, they all hate Arabs. Not much rocket science there.

More to the point, the settlers don’t much like the Israeli government either. They are interested in protecting settlements and putting this issue at the top of the Middle East political agenda. That runs contrary to the position of the Netanyahu government, which would rather they weren’t discussed much.

This week’s event was paid for by Lega Nord and the FPO, the quid pro quo for their recent trips to Israel organised by the mysterious Haim Muelshtein, once of Germany but now a proud settler himself. He was also the organiser of this sickening ceremony in 2010. Most of the stuff detailed in this article was personally set up by Muehlstein.

Muehlstein believes the best hope for Europe– and for his fascist mates in the territories– is the far right . But he’s also learned a thing or two from the far left.

While readers of this blog will be familiar with self-hating Jews dragged along and paraded at pro-Palestinian rallies, Muehlstein has found some conveniently self-hating Palestinians. The Israelis brought along Sheikh Abu Khader al-Jabari to the Brussels meeting. Jabari opposes the creation of a Palestinian state and there are plenty of Israeli right-wing politicians who would like the Palestinians to return to the days of village leagues and tribal clans. Jabari fancies returning to the glory days before the Palestinian Authority when he and his medieval troops laid down the law in Hebron. I suppose he wouldn’t want any liberals getting in the way of what he’s got in mind for women, members of other clans, etc., if the PA ever gets booted out of the West Bank. The guy’s got to live so why not deal with anti-Arab settlers? The latter seem to manage quite well working with anti-Jewish neo-fascists, I suppose we shouldn’t expect any better of Jabari.

Lucky Molzer didn’t let slip at the Brussels gathering what he really thinks of all Arabs. But if there was any doubt what the motivating ideology of the rightwing settlers is, I think that’s now clear. By their friends shall ye know them.