Daniel Pipes on the Real Threat to Europe

June 30, 2019

3 min read

EU designates Hezbollah

Italia Atlantica met Daniel Pipes in Rome during his recent journey to Europe. An internationally renowned scholar of the Middle East and Islamism, he has also written extensively about the rise of far-right parties in Europe, which he does not consider a threat, but an opportunity to counter a far greater threat, the Islamization of Western societies.

“Civilizationist” is what you call what are usually known as Europe’s far-right parties, arguing that their main common denominator is preserving Western civilization from the Islamist threat. Are they the only shield against civilizational transformation?

No, they are not. Others, such as Austria’s Freedom Party or Denmark’s Social Democrats, can also do so. But without civilizationist parties, the other parties will not be challenged to do so.

Where civilizationist parties are too weak, such as the UK, where UKIP got a mere 3 percent of the vote last month, the challenge does not exist and Western civilization is less protected.

The Lega party already dominates the Italian government and won 34 percent of the vote in the May 2019 European parliamentary elections, giving it a substantial plurality. Immigration policy has been integral to this success; how do you assess that policy?

Lega’s immigration policy is focused on illegal migrants and has two main components: keeping them out of Italy and expelling those already in the country. The 97 percent reduction in seaborne illegals reaching Italy is a dramatic success that has much enhanced Lega’s popularity. I have not found authoritative figures on illegals leaving Italy, but I am told that roughly 350,000 of the 500,000 have moved north to other parts of Europe. In other words, they received the message that they are not welcome in Italy. If that figure is accurate, it points to an impressive accomplishment. That said, the remaining illegals will likely be much harder to expel.

Russia is much in favor among some far-right European parties, including Hungary’s Fidesz, Austria’s Freedom Party, France’s Rassemblement National, and Lega; what are Vladimir Putin’s goals and how consequential is this connection?

Putin encourages civilizationist skepticism about Europe and also the broader dissent they represent. As for the civilizationists, they appreciate his support, often financial, at a time when virtually the whole Establishment tries to marginalize them. I am hopeful this is a transitory alliance.

Do you agree with Manfred Gerstenfeld that “No organization in Europe can rival the British Labour party for the promotion of antisemitic hate”?

I do, except Spain’s Podemos is even more toxic.

Many of Europe’s Jewish leaders see civilizationist parties as the main source of antisemitism, even though most such parties – especially Germany’s Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the Netherlands’ Party for Freedom – express clear, strong support for Israel. What’s going on?

Those Jewish leaders tie themselves into knots as they make this nonsensical point; for one surreal illustration, see Orit Arfa‘s marvelous account about AfD’s effort to ban Hezbollah. Jewish leaders condemn civilizationists in part to maintain access to and funds from the government; and in part out of a mistaken belief that civilizationism resembles 1930s fascism.

Jews in France are being killed by Islamists just for being Jews; note the Toulouse and Montauban shootings, the Hyper Kosher massacre, and the murders of Ilan Halimi, Sarah Halimi, and Mireille Knoll. Do Jews have a future in France?

No, they do not. In part, it’s due to the violence that you note but it also results from the marginalization resulting from leftist and Islamist discrimination. Interestingly, they now can seek refuge not just in distant lands such as Israel and the United States, but also in Hungary.

Robert Wistrich wrote in 2004 that contemporary European antisemitism “has risen spectacularly in those societies like France, Britain, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Sweden, where Muslim communities have grown most rapidly in recent years.” What steps, if any, can be taken to stop this trend?

The easiest step is to keep Islamists from entering these countries, something I have worked on in the American context. Much harder is to assert control over the separate Muslim societies with their partial no-go zones, Islamic schools, courts, and commerce, and their illegal activities from FGM to drug-trafficking. This control must be established not just for Jews but for Western civilization.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Middle East Forum

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