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In the past few years, I have advocated conducting a wary dialogue with the populist and post-fascist parties of Europe. A major reason for that position is that the mainstream parties of Europe were not doing enough to clamp down on the anti-Semitism emanating from the extreme left and the Moslems, due to fear - or guilt trips - about European colonialism.
I also argued that parties on the right that had been tainted with fascism and anti-Semitism, providing that their contrition was genuine, should be accorded the same benefit of the doubt as former communists who had undergone a Democratic evolution.
One of the major arguments of the Israeli left, after all, is that the Arab world has undergone a change and one should encourage those who had moved from implacable hatred to realism.
I cited the Italian case of the National Alliance whose leader, Gian-Franco Fini, has become one of Israel's leading supporters in Italy. I was even willing to put the French National Front of Marine Le Pen to the test to see if it had crossed the bridge in the same way that Fini and his party had.
However, by equating the need for a ban on the Jewish kippa (skullcap) to a ban on the Muslim veil in public Le Pen showed that in order to circumscribe the Muslim population she would be prepared to sacrifice the interest of Jews, even though the record of Jewish integration in France is totally at variance with what has happened with Islam.
Le Pen herself admitted this when she sought to clarify her remarks in an interview with Le Monde, where she first proposed suppressing the kippa in the public space. Speaking on TF1 television, the National Front leader said "the kippa does not pose a problem in our country" However, she called upon French Jewry to make "this little effort, the small sacrifice" to put everybody on an equal footing and rebut the charge that a ban on the veil represented Islamophobia.
She remarked that in any case Jews were tending to wear the kippa less in public, because it invited assaults from Moslems who were fighting the Middle East conflict in France.
It is instructive that that the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, that published anti-Muslim cartoons as a statement on behalf of intellectual freedom, used a cartoon of a Hareidi Jew pushing a Moslem in a wheelchair, with the point possibly being that one could not criticize Muslims or Jews. In other words, to gain the right to attack Islam one must attack Judaism.
The National Front still had to prove itself, but the Dutch Freedom Party of Geert Wilders had been- till recently - considered an open and shut case of a populist party that merited trust. That party, however, supported the ban on ritual slaughter in the Dutch Parliament and one of its members even spoke of Jews who ritualistically tortured animals.
Israel's Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger spoke with Wilders and warned him that if the bill was passed, the Jews would leave the Netherlands.
It appears that a ban on kosher slaughter was another "small sacrifice" that the Jews were to make in order to ban Muslim Halal meat.
A few years ago, I interviewed Wilders at the suggestion MK Aryeh Eldad for the newspaper Makor Rishon. In that interview, Wilders poured scorn on the current French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who sought to prohibit the veil while also outlawing the wearing of crucifixes and stars of David - all in the name of a secular state. At that time, he was against needless and fictitious displays of equalit; unfortunately, he appears to have retreated from this position.