How the Gaza War Exposed the Far-Right’s Hypocrisy
The presence of Israeli flags in extreme far-right protests across the West has raised eyebrows, prompting the questions “Who is following whom? and why?”. On the face of it, it seemed that they followed the old saying “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” as both Israel and the right-wing party hate Arab and Muslims.
The right-wing extremists praised Russia and its powerful central state, but then, The Al-Aqsa Flood operation broke the fragile bond between them. The extremists now face a crisis of conscience, morality, and policy.
The people of Gaza have shown an incredible spirit of resistance and courage in the face of oppression and injustice. Their determination to defend their land and dignity has shattered the myths and prejudices that extreme right-wing groups in Europe and the US have about Arabs and Muslims.
These groups fail to understand how Arabs and Muslims can be both loyal to their homeland and respectful of other cultures and societies. They also lack the education and awareness to appreciate the diversity and richness of the Arab and Muslim world. They are trapped in a binary and simplistic view of the world, where they see Arabs and Muslims as either enemies or invaders.
Adding to the that, the situation is further complicated by the ambiguous and shifting position of Russia towards Israel, which reflects the changing geopolitical landscape and alliances after the Ukraine crisis. This creates confusion and uncertainty for the Western right-wing movements and their followers, who struggle to make sense of the complex and dynamic reality of the Middle East.
The rise of far-right groups in Europe has been marked by a paradoxical stance on Islam and Judaism. While they have promoted Islamophobic rhetoric and policies, they have also claimed to oppose anti-Semitism and support Israel. However, this fragile balance has been challenged by the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, which has exposed the internal contradictions and divisions within the far-right camp.
This was evident in the recent protests in London, where thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators clashed with counter-protesters, some of whom belonged to far-right organizations. The situation also had political repercussions, as the former Home Secretary Suella Braverman was forced to resign after aligning herself with the far-right views on the Middle East. Her departure triggered a cabinet reshuffle, which saw Rishi Sunak replace her as the new Home Secretary.
The recent years have witnessed a dramatic shift to the far-right in Western countries, especially in Europe. This shift has been fueled by economic woes and the weakening of the left-wing and socialist movements that used to embrace immigrants. The debate has moved from the electoral success of the far-right parties to the reform of the immigration laws to make them stricter and reduce the influx of immigrants, even by governments that are not considered far-right, in an attempt to appease the anti-immigrant sentiment.
The Iraq War in 2003, for instance, was a catalyst for the political and social mobilization of the millennial generation, both of immigrant background and other European and Western peers.
It exposed the cruelty and horror of the war and prompted many to join forces and form alliances. It gave the opportunity for the children of immigrants to voice their opinions and participate in social and political activities on a common ground with a broad range of society, and it opened the door for many of them to attain significant political and social positions later on, despite the official collusion with the US-UK invasion of Iraq.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the war on Gaza was a breath of fresh air for a weary and politically adrift Europe, especially for its Muslims. It offered them a political, military and moral shock against the liberal principles and a revelation of their hypocrisy, which may slow down the fast rise of the far-right at the political and legislative levels.
It also provided a new moral basis and a shared language for the new generations of Arab and Muslim immigrants and the communities they live in. A glance at the pro-Gaza university activity in Western universities is enough to illustrate these points, despite the difficulties and challenges they face.
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