Tag Archives: Roma

Special Report: Rise of far right in Europe being overlooked

Western mainstream media had been fully geared up to cover the expected victory of the far right presidential candidate, Norbert Hofer, in the recent Austrian election. The win of the Green party candidate, Alexander Van der Bellen, robbed them of the opportunity to cover what they had been predicting as the first European post-Second World War far right head of state election victory.

Norbert Hofer
Norbert Hofer

Yet, the rise of far right European parties and candidates into the established international realpolitik, rather than their traditional fringe position, is something that has been and is being fundamentally overlooked.

In France, the far-right National Front won 6.8 million votes in regional elections in 2015 – its largest ever popular endorsement.

The far-right Jobbik party who polled third in Hungaryorganises patrols by an unarmed but uniformed “Hungarian Guard” in Roma (Gypsy) neighbourhoods.

In Denmark, the government relies on the support of the nationalist Danish People’s Party and has the toughest immigration rules in Europe.

While, the leader of the nationalist Finns Party is the foreign minister of Finland, after it joined a coalition government last year.

Andrzej Duda
Andrzej Duda

Less than a year after Poland elected Andrzej Duda, a previously little-known right-wing politician as president, Warsaw’s nationalist government moved to strip a leading Jewish Holocaust scholar of a national honour for asserting simply what the previous Polish presidential incumbent, Bronislaw Komorowski, acknowledged. Namely, that Poland was in part responsible for Nazi war crimes against its Jewish population during World War II.

Perhaps one of most shocking situations currently exists in Croatia. During World War II, Croatia was ruled by the Ustashi, an axis-aligned regime that was every bit as bad as the Nazis. The Ustashi killed over 600,000 people, 500,000 of which were Serbs. The Ustashi-ruled Independent State of Croatia had a population of around 6.3 million, meaning the Ustashi killed around one in 10 of its own people. Eighty percent of the nation’s Jews were murdered.

Ustashi – axis-aligned regime during World War II, every bit as bad as the Nazis.

Now the Ustashi are making a comeback. It has now penetrated cabinet ministers and the mainstream media. Ognjen Kraus, the leader of Croatia’s Jewish communities, said that the government “is simply not doing anything” and that it “does not want to.”

The nation’s new right-wing coalition that came to power at the start of the year is responsible for much of this change. As part of that coalition, Zlatko Hasanbegović became Croatia’s culture minister in January. He was once a member of a small far-right, pro-Ustashi party.

Ustashi supporters in modern Croatia
Ustashi supporters in modern Croatia

Since taking office, Hasanbegović has cut funds for progressive groups and independent media and has endorsed a revisionist documentary film that denies the scale of the crimes committed by Croatia during its alliance with Nazi Germany in the 1940s.

Reporters Without Borders, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Serb and Jewish groups in the region have all condemned the new government.

The government’s tolerance of such a man as a minister in government is creating a climate of fear throughout the country.

Croatian soccer fans frequently chant Nazi-era slogans during games with only indirect criticism from the government. During one game with Israel, fans were heard to shout, “We Croats! Ustashi! Ustashi!”

Efraim Zuroff, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s office in Israel and Eastern Europe, warned that Croatia is “a country where manifestations of fascism and anti-Semitism are very common, especially in the local soccer stadiums, but not easily identifiable by those ignorant of the country’s World War II and Holocaust history.”

In the UK much of the media coverage of anti-Semitic issues has focused attention to the political left following the storm that has engulfed the Labour Party. Equally, many in the western media, following mass immigration stories and terrorist outrages, have, unsurprisingly, concentrated on radical Islamist matters and any associated anti-Semitism. Yet, if world history, our history, tells us one thing, we cannot afford to ignore or overlook the rise of the far right. If the mainstream media will not do it we shall have to do it for ourselves.

Appointment to Romainian State TV Board causes outcry over “anti-Semitic sympathies”

The Romanian parliament has appointed Oana ‘Nancy’ Stanciulescu, a well-known national journalist, to the board of the country’s public television station, TVR.

The appointment has drawn widespread criticism over what has been described by the Israeli Embassy in Bucharest as her openly, “anti-Semitic sympathies”.

The Elie Wiesel Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania also issued a statement suggesting that the appointment is disrespectful to the, “Memory of Holocaust victims and survivors.”

Romanian journalist Oana Stanciulescu on March 8, 2016. (Screen capture: YouTube)

Her place on the 13-member board and the reactions against it is a reflection of the difficulty Romanians have had in coming to terms with their history in the quarter-century since communism ended.

Romania only began to commemorate the Holocaust in 2004 and some Romanians still doubt the Nazi-allied government’s responsibility and the extent of atrocities that happened on Romanian territory.

Indeed, the Israeli Embassy’s statement suggested, “Ms. Stănciulescu questioned the existence of the Holocaust.”

” We would like to note that such a decision [the appointment to the board] may have a significant negative impact in terms of the objective presentation of historical facts and the promotion of democracy, especially to the young generation, who are vulnerable to any misinformation ” warns the diplomatic representation.

When  Stanciulescu’s appointment was debated and approved by the country’s parliament – one MP, Cristina Anghel, praised the Romanian Legionary Movement, implicitly involved in the commission of the Romanian Holocaust of its Jews, while another, Puiu Hasotti, recited the poetry of the notorious Radu Gyr, commander of one of the Legion’s death squads.

During World War II, about 280,000 Jews and 11,000 Roma were killed in Romania and areas it controlled as an ally of Nazi Germany.

A petition against the appointment of Stănciulescu has been initiated although the government has suggested it is not considering another appointment.




Shocking betrayal by Amnesty International

Despite the evidence of growing Antisemitism in the UK, mirroring the rise in Europe, Amnesty International have chosen to vote against fighting the evil of Antisemitism in this country.

ASW26The vote took place at their annual general meeting held in Warwick. On their website, Amnesty International describe the meeting as being, “Where Amnesty members from all over the UK come together to shape how we’re run.”

What was the precise wording of this ‘dreadful’ motion that Amnesty International members felt they could not support?

• Campaign against anti-Semitism in the UK.
• Lobby the UK Government to do more to tackle the rise in
anti-Semitic attacks in Britain, whether physical or verbal,
online or in person. The UK Government should monitor
anti-semitism closely and periodically review the security of
Britain’s Jewish population.”

Is it not now clear why members voted this down? No? Neither is it to AntiSemitismWatch.com!

The motion was brought to the table by Amnesty member Andrew Thorpe-Apps, and was defeated by 468 votes to 461.

The motion was the only one to be defeated at the groups gathering.

What were some of the motions Amnesty International members felt they could vote in favour of?

  • Addressing impunity in Guatemala
  • Violation of the rights of Colombian activists
  • Asylum detention in the UK
  • Research into the wrongful detention of torture and trafficking victims in British detention

Following the defeat, an Amnesty spokesperson tried to down play the significance of the decision by claiming: ”After a really interesting debate where everyone condemned discrimination against all ethnic and religious groups, our membership decided not to pass this resolution calling for a campaign with a single focus.”

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, Amnesty has published numerous reports singling out other specific forms of discrimination, including a 123-page report on discrimination against Muslims in Europe.

Also, in an “overwhelming” approval it passed a 2010 resolution on discrimination towards the Sinti and Roma communities, stating “within the last year widespread discrimination and violence against Sinti and Roma communities has intensified in a number of European countries, which Amnesty International has published within respective country reports.”

The Jerusalem-based think tank NGO Monitor have suggested that there have been repeated anti-Semitic incidents “within the organization itself” which included an investigation into the conduct of a member of its own staff.

coollogo_com-23172872ASW.com says that ultimately, one can argue it comes down to a question of perception. Amnesty International were presented with a simple and clear opportunity to demonstrate their support for the Jewish community at this troubled time and they have chosen not to. The perception left is an unpalatable one.