One can hardly understand why the Europeans have forgotten their recent bloodstained past ever so quickly. About 60 years ago or so, Europe was the main battleground for the Second World War, in which over 60 million people were killed. Most of us have also seen on television how the war brought several European cities to the ground. All this happened due to the emergence of Nazism in Germany and Fascism in Italy — one was led by Adolf Hitler, the other by Benito Mussolini. And the world was certainly right to unite against those two diabolical movements which endangered then not only the Europeans, but humanity at large and so it was the duty of the whole international community to fight against them by all means, especially after the Nazis began annihilating the Jewish community in a very brutal and unprecedented manner.
But it seems that the Europeans have all of a sudden forgotten all of that, otherwise they would have never allowed the ultra Right to re-emerge victorious under various banners. The new European far right is now gaining ground ever so rapidly in many parts of Europe. The right-wing Swiss People's Party, for instance, has succeeded recently in convincing over 57 per cent of the Swiss people to vote for a ban on building minarets in the country, which definitely smacks of Nazi-Fascist orientations. Some might argue that we shouldn't blame the party but the Swiss people, which is nonsense. We all know how Hitler managed through his powerful propaganda machine back in the 1930s to mobilise the German people against several minorities in the country, namely the Jews.
History seems to be repeating itself. Just as the Nazis were wreaking hatred on the Jews, the European far right is now targeting Muslim minorities under similar allegations. The similarities between the Nazi campaign against the Jews and the European far right's drive against the Muslims are quite striking. Just as Hitler used to complain of the "horrible smell that was ensuing from the clothes of the Jews as they pass by", the Dutch extremist parliamentarian Geert Wilders, maker of the anti-Muslim film Fitna, argues that "the Islamic veil together with mosques and bearded Muslim men with their long kaftans distort the beauty of the Dutch street".
Just as the Nazi media, manipulated by Joseph Goebbels, used to incite hatred against the Jews alleging that they are responsible for the ills of the country, many European right-wing politicians and writers are nowadays propagating Islamophobia amongst the European people and warning against the Islamisation of the continent, which is of course nonsense. The Muslims have failed in Islamising their countries, let alone others. Add to that the fact that Muslim and Arab countries themselves are complaining of westernisation.
One can hardly understand why the Semitic Jews in Europe are now as silent as the grave. Why don't they defend their fellow Muslim Semites? Why have the Jews forgotten all of a sudden how badly they had been treated by the Nazis? Or are they now allying with the European far right simply because it is targeting the Muslims this time? Shouldn't they know better? Hasn't the Swiss Peoples' Party threatened a couple of weeks ago that it wants to ban Jewish and Muslim cemeteries? Didn't the party withdraw its motion as a result of Jewish protest?
Were the Jews as weak as the Muslims in Europe, the Swiss far right wouldn't have hesitated for a minute to ban Jewish cemeteries.
One also wonders why Europe are so silent when the far right targets Muslims and why they go mad when they sense anti-Jewish feelings. We all remember how they reacted when the Austrian Freedom Party, led by Joerg Haider, won the elections. They raised hell simply because Haider was accused by the Jews of being anti-Semitic. The whole world was mobilised then to topple the Austrian far-right politician and so it did. The Austrian government was forced to annul the democratic election won by Haiders' party. Why? Because they feared he might be anti-Jew. They had no problem at all to go against the grain of democracy itself and against the Austrian people's will. Add to that of course the fact that Joerg Haider later died in a car accident!
Why is anti-Semitism horrible when it is directed against the Jews and why is it acceptable and justifiable when it is anti-Muslim and Arab?
Shouldn't Europe remember its recent history, which is still being regularly revisited by its media to expose Nazi atrocities? Shouldn't everyone work hard to keep racist parties the world over at bay? The Zionists should also know that when the fire of Fascism spreads throughout Europe it will not differentiate between a Muslim and a non-Muslim, and between a Jewish Semite and a Muslim Semite, and Adolf Hitler will then probably be saying in his grave: "We are back."
Dr Faisal Al Qasim is a Syrian journalist based in Doha. He is also a television presenter and producer of the Opposite Direction programme on the Al Jazeera channel.