Monday, March 11, 2013

Apparently, it is not working

One of the self-avowed purposes of the European project has been the annihilation of bad things in European history, such as racism, xenophobia, tendency to go to war and so on. In fact, given the emphasis given to something rather vaguely described as "European values", one could argue that these values are to be used in order to overcome European history's rather less valuable aspects. Europeans, runs the argument, cannot be trusted to uphold and promote those values unless all these organizations are set up; Europeans need to be saved from themselves and their history through the official  promotion of European values.

By 2008, that is fifty years after the founding of what was first known as the EEC, the situation became so bad that a Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law was put together. This was going to solve the problem once and for all. But  has it?

Well, one can argue about the effect it has had on domestic legislation and, indeed, we should discuss that. For the moment let me call attention to two items of news (apart from what is going on in Hungary, on which more will be written).

The first item comes from the Independent, so one may have to take it with a grain of salt but, if the results of the opinion poll conducted by Der Standard, a respected Viennese newspaper, are reported accurately, one can feel a trifle glum about Austria, a country that has, on the whole been admirable in its political stance since the Second World War, particularly in its readiness to help refugees from the other totalitarian system.
As Austria prepares to mark the anniversary of its annexation by Nazi Germany, an opinion poll has shown that more than half of the population think it highly likely that the Nazis would be elected if they were readmitted as a party.

A further 42 per cent agreed with the view that life “wasn’t all bad under the Nazis”, and 39 per cent said they thought a recurrence of anti-Semitic persecution was likely in Austria.
Of course, that does mean, as Russia Today points out that
Fifty-seven per cent of respondents believed that "there was nothing positive about the Hitler era".
As to sixty-one per cent wanting a "strong leader", I do not find that particularly worrying. People  in many countries, Britain included, seem to want strong leaders all the time, without going too deeply into what a strong leader might do.

The Independent gives more details and calls them "damning".
Neighbouring Germany’s popular “Stern” magazine described the poll’s findings as shocking today. The poll also showed that 61 per cent of Austrian adults wanted to see a “strong man” in charge of government, and 54 per cent said they thought it would be “highly likely” that the Nazis would win seats in they were allowed to take part in an election.

Some 46 per cent of those polled said they believed Austria was a victim of Nazi oppression in 1938, while 61 per cent said they believed that “enough” had been done to reappraise Austria’s Nazi past.
The last paragraph is, perhaps, a little muddled but probably reflects Austrian opinion in general. At the same time, it might be useful if the Indy made it clear, as RT did, that the poll asked the vast number of 502 people. The results may be worrying, though not exactly shocking, but do they reflect Austrian opinion at all accurately in all particulars?

An even more disturbing video comes from the Netherlands, though, once again, it is hard to tell how widespread the problem is though the fact that they have picked up on the meme about Palestinians being murdered by Jews (ahem, what of Black September of what is going on in Syria) would indicate that these  youngsters are of the "nice" middle of the road soft-left persuasion.
A video that appeared on Dutch TV recently shows a roundtable of adults and children discussing Jews. The children praise Hitler and his genocidal inclinations. One of the boys says, “on the one hand I am satisfied with what Hitler did with the Jews…” while another responds that Hitler was justified in killing millions of Jews because “now millions of Palestinians are being killed.”

The four young boys are joined in a roundtable by an older gentleman (identified as Mehmet Sahin, a researcher at Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit) who repeatedly challenges their assertions. When one of the boys asks the interviewer if he hates Jews, they seem surprised when he responds in the negative.

Later, the same boy who originally praised Hitler, says, ” as far as I’m concerned Hitler should have killed all Jews, ” a remark that merited laughs from the group of boys.

The interviewer, who repeatedly expresses his indignation at the boys’ opinions, ask them where they got their hatred for the Jews from–”from friends” they answer, noting that the term “Jew” is used as a curse word and that nobody at their school likes Jews.
And we know what the answer is to all these possible problems: more EU legislation.{Hey! That was a joke!]


  1. These days the antisemites seem to be rather, ah, religiously motivated.

  2. I think I know what you mean, Ian. To be honest I don't think these are important stories but they might lead to yet more EU intervention so it seems sensible to flag them up.