Rats out, roaches in as Nazis try to butter up Jews

There is a letter in the current edition of the Jewish Chronicle, the “establishment” paper of the British Jewish community, from Alan Goodacre defending the British National Party from this article by Melanie Phillips the week before. The letter claims that the BNP has shed its historical anti-Semitic policies and accepted the fact that the Holocaust took place, that John Tyndall, its late long-time leader, was “discredited” and had been expelled, and that the BNP is “the only party in Britain that is truly serious about fighting the Islamofascist threat”. An extract from the letter was published by Islamophobia Watch.

To be honest, I don’t believe the Jewish community here are so stupid as to accept any olive branch from the BNP. Despite having kicked grandpa Tyndall out a few years ago, leader Nick Griffin and other core activists have a long history going back to the National Front, which was also led by Tyndall. Griffin will never shake off the vision of the BNP he outlined to journalists posing as French racists in the 1990s: not “a Post-Modernist Rightist Party, but … a strong, disciplined organisation with the ability to back up its slogan ‘Defend Rights for Whites’ with well-directed boots and fists”. They do not represent an established hardline nationalism in the native political tradition as some European far-right parties do (Vlaams Blok/Belang, Austrian Freedom Party, French National Front), but a tiny fringe element which goes back only as far as Mosley’s Blackshirts, which has never been far from criminality and thuggery.

And far from having put their anti-Semitism aside, they have simply found a new hate figure, having cottoned on to the fact that the British public do not dislike Jews and have no reason to. To rant about Jews marks you in polite society as a cranky throwback, something ugly which crawled out of the dark past, which is why Tyndall became something of an image problem for the BNP, making it necessary to put him at arm’s length from the party itself. Now that petty, exaggerated stories about Muslims are common currency in the British press, it makes sense for them to refocus their hatemongering on Muslims - and given that many Muslims don’t believe the Holocaust to be a real event, for reasons other than being Nazis, renouncing Holocaust denial makes a lot of political sense. However, because we know that Griffin, a few years ago, gushed over a propaganda tract called Did Six Million Really Die?, we also know that the transformation is paper thin.

The BNP’s entire mode of thinking requires a hate figure, an internal enemy (because these are the guys who didn’t want to fight this country’s last serious enemy, Adolf Hitler). First it was the Jews, then it was non-white immigrants and their descendents, and now it’s Muslims. The Nazis in Germany made a famous film called The Eternal Jew, in which the Jews were portrayed as rats in a sewer, which backfired when the audience started to throw up. That’s what you can do as a Nazi when you are in power and have the state propaganda department at your disposal. When you are a tiny organisation trying to look like a serious political party, you can only do such things as calling asylum seekers “cockroaches” in closed meetings when there’s no camera pointing at you … as far as you know. New name, new (powerless) enemy, new vermin. But they’re the same old vermin themselves.

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