Daily Israel Report

Op-Ed: Europe's Jews: The Extreme Right Joins the Islamists

Interview series: Dutch Iranian refugee Prof. Afshin Elian says "For Dutch Jews, there is a double problem. Their tragedy is that they are attacked on two fronts – both by the extreme Right and by radical Muslims".
Published: Wednesday, September 05, 2012 2:21 PM


"Unfortunately, Europe is decadent. One can see this from the debate about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. European TV stations choose to show selective pictures of Israeli actions against Palestinian terrorists. These pictures help Europe to forget its participation in the mass murder of the Jews. Thus, Europeans can forgive themselves for what they did in the Second World War.

“The clearest example of this was in April 2002, during Israeli military actions in Jenin. Palestinian fighters had settled in the middle of a refugee camp. They knowingly endangered their own civilians’ lives.

In the Netherlands a false picture was created, as if 3,000 Palestinians had been killed. When facts were checked, I was found right: 53 Palestinians were killed, most of whom were armed.

“This is not much if you compare it with what happens elsewhere in the world. In Iran in 1988, between 8,000 and 12,000 people were executed by the authorities. After an attack by the Mujahidin from Iraq, Ayatollah Khomeini asked how many of their adherents were in Iranian jails and why they weren’t killed. A commission went from jail to jail and had people executed among which those who had not even been before a judge.”

Afshin Elian is a well-known Dutch academic and intellectual. He was born in 1966 in Teheran, Iran. He came as a political refugee to the Netherlands in 1989. Elian is Professor of Social Cohesion, Civics and Multiculturalism at Leiden University. Since the murder of Theo van Gogh in 2004, Dutch authorities provide him with bodyguards as his life is threatened due to his outspoken opinions about Islam.

Elian observes: “A number of native Dutchmen have confused a generation of non-Western immigrants. They told them: ‘Remain Moroccan. Allah is a nice god and it is great that you eat couscous.’ Nobody told them: ‘It is good that you are a Dutchman now, learn to speak Dutch well, work hard, so that we can build a better future together.’ This attitude will have to change.

“Similarly, discrimination and racism will have to be fought through a new national-civics offensive. My aim is not to convince Dutchmen that Moroccans are nice people. Not all of them are nice in any case. But it is important that they do find jobs.

“Often, I am scolded by radical youth who claim that I am an unpleasant person who wants a constitutional state. I once said: ‘Away with multiculturalism.’ We have a legal order which is based on two fundamentals – the Dutch Constitution and the Dutch language. The basic values on which our society is founded are part of that Constitution. These include human rights, freedom of religion and equal rights for men and women.

“These values should be advanced like the Americans promote them. I do not advocate chauvinism, racism, or nationalism, but constitutional patriotism. What makes the Netherlands more attractive than Morocco is the security of the law. Dutch policemen do not beat you up without reason.

“When the first generation of Moroccans came to the Netherlands, they did so because of economic possibilities and the security of the law. We now have problems with a number of young Moroccans who beat people up here.

"After the murder of Theo van Gogh by a Moroccan, the authorities felt a need to show that there were two extreme groups, radical Muslims and extreme Rightists.

“After this murder however, it was mainly young children who were arrested for attempts of arson of mosques and Muslim schools. What they did was terrible, but we should not compare this to ideological international Muslim terrorism. The extreme Right has to be watched. If it becomes more important, it will have to be cut to size. Yet, we should not confuse its motivations with the radical ideology of many Muslims.

“For Dutch Jews, there is a double problem. Their tragedy is that they are attacked on two fronts – both by the extreme Right and by radical Muslims. The remainder of the Dutch population however, does not suffer much from the extreme Right. One does not have to be a Jew to fight against anti-Semitism; it is a crime against humanity. We should also act against genocide, irrespective of who the targeted people are.”

Elian concludes: “Social peace in Europe is very tenuous, yet I do not think that there will be a new Hitler or Stalin. We could get chaos or even anarchy. People can start shooting at each other, maybe even in groups. Conflicts can get out of hand. That then, will lead to the ‘Balkanization’ of societies.”