The U.K. campaign group "Hope Not Hate" was founded in 2004 in response to a rising environment of divisive rhetoric affecting policies in Europe. They publish articles examining the ideology, organizations and key players they reveal as behind a globally interconnected anti-Muslim agenda.
Populism and the rise of the alt-right have been fueled by public fears relating to mass immigration and neo-nationalism mostly linked to white supremacist ideologies and the failure of mainstream political bodies to address public concerns in the U.K. Yet, some still resist the abundant evidence pointing to a cabal of organizations with access to media and using their own think tanks to encourage anti-Muslim political policies as a "conspiracy theory."
A new report issued by "Hope not Hate" profiles more than 200 individuals and organizations it brands as "anti-Muslim," including some European nations, Australia and the U.S. These individuals are not fussy about who they do business with. While allegations of anti-Semitism are being used to damage the leader of the U.K.'s opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, the focus should be on the activities of certain Jewish-led agencies willingly courting neo-Nazi groups in Europe.
My enemies' enemy is my friend
Daniel Pipes was listed in the Hope Not Hate "hub" as a speaker at the June 2013 Europe's Last Stand international conference arranged by the far-right American Freedom Alliance. However, Pipes is far more than a footnote in the Islamophobia network.
A highly published author and an affiliated professor at the University of Haifa, in Israel, his website boasts 78 million page visits and proclaims itself "one of the internet's most accessed sources of specialized information on the Middle East and Muslim history." Pipes is also the founder and director of the U.S. conservative think tank Middle East Forum (MEF) whose stated aim is to: "Define and promote American interests in the Middle East and protect Western values from Middle Eastern threat." Both Pipes and the MEF are considered central components of the Islamophobia network and the professor is widely considered the grandfather of Islamophobia. In April 2018, Pipes toured Europe, seeking new links, making a point of reaching out and then defending the agenda of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPO). The FPO is a nationalist group founded by ex-Nazis in the 1950s now headed by Heinz-Christian Strache. Spreading hateful rhetoric has become big business. An investigation by the Chicago chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace found that the Jewish United Fund (JUF) of Metropolitan Chicago gave almost $650,000 to Daniel Pipes' Middle East Forum between 2011 and 2014.
It is a tiny drop in the ocean of funding for a network that studies by the Council on American-Islamic Relations revealed to have a total revenue of $205 million between 2008 and 2013. Interconnected Islamophobia: Working with fascists In December 2017, Austria became the only country in Western Europe with a far-right presence in government. The electoral result forced Sebastian Kurz of the Austrian People's Party (OVP) to form a coalition deal with the Freedom Party (FPO). A seemingly odd political bedfellow for a U.S. historian who identifies himself as Jewish and regularly puts forward a pro-Israeli worldview.
In March, a government attache and FPO local councilor, Jurgen-Michael Kleppich, was called out after he posted a Facebook photo of himself in a T-shirt bearing the name of an SS Panzer division. The emotive terms "stand your ground" and "Frundsberg" on the shirt of Kleppich, based in Israel, referenced the surname of a 15th century mercenary whose surname was used by the Nazi tank division during World War II.
On April 4, just weeks after the incident, Pipes wrote an op-ed for the Washington Times calling on tacit support for the FPO in Austria. His argument was that immigration and Islamization (I&I) are the "key issues in the West's future."
He concluded that Western political leaders should start "working with" far-right groups, including the FPO, "not marginalize it." And that's not all.
Pipes continues to praise the party founded by fascists. "For all their shortcomings, parties focused on I&I are key to Europe remaining part of Western civilization. I&I are not only more urgent than neo-fascism, but the latter can rather easily be undone, while I&I lead to immense, unfixable and permanent changes."
On his blog he wrote: "The two parties' coalition agreement is a counter-jihadi's dream. Distinguishing between Islamism — which it calls political Islam — and the religion of Islam, it boldly stakes out new ground."
Pipes' conclusion is that the party that U.N. leaders fear will effect stability in Europe is worth supporting as its ideas bring "realism, courage, extremism and eccentricity." Most tellingly of all for the aims of Pipes and his partners in the Islamophobia network: "The FPÖ and kindred parties have a vital role in bringing Islamization and Immigration issues to the fore."
Current research has not discovered a vast right-wing conspiracy behind the rise of Islamophobia spreading from groups in the U.S. Instead it lifts the veil on an intricate group of key people and organizations; pro-Zionist think tanks, Evangelical think tanks, alt-right pundits and activists who make up a coordinated network. Its aims to amplify an echo chamber of the religious right, grassroots organizations and political figures seeking to create a climate of fear against Muslims living in the West. Those who bang the drum of war and separatism in a purported "clash of civilizations" against Muslims in their home nations. The question now is how to best counter the spread of this political sickness.
* U.K.-based journalist and media consultant