Internet hate under scrutiny

news: Internet hate under scrutiny


NOBODY surfing the net could fail to notice the proliferation of extremist websites. The internet is the weapon of the future for political radicals, conspiracy theorists, cultists and hate-filled bigots, the ideal medium to disseminate bizarre views throughout the world without fear of censure. And it’s only a matter of time before the internet is available on car radios, thus enabling racists to reach an ever-wider audience.

David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan member, recently addressed a white nationalist audience in Spain. His co-host and translator for the event was Pedro Varela, a Barcelona bookseller and peddler of ‘revisionist’ and National Socialist literature.

Duke broadcast the speech, which was interrupted mid-way by communist protestors on his website. Duke then ‘interviewed’ Varela on his ‘radio show’ and ruminated over their ‘persecution’ by the authorities, the Jewish role in Spanish history which they viewed as destructive, and anti-Semitism which, not surprisingly, they interpreted as a response to Jewish behaviour.

At the end of the show, someone emailed in with a question. “Would it be possible to do a show in Lisbon, given the influx of immigrants from the former Portuguese colonies?” Varela sighed and lamented the fact that the nationalist movement in Portugal was, unfortunately, “very small”.

Duke’s website is highly professional, complete with an introductory video in which he extols the virtues of the internet. His manner is informal during his broadcasts as he pontificates on the ‘perils’ of mass immigration and the ‘degeneration’ of our white European heritage. But one subject obsesses him – what he calls “Jewish Supremacism”, the umbrella term under which Duke attacks alleged Jewish control of Hollywood, the media, finance and the American government. Duke has even written a bestselling book on the subject of the same title. It’s basically a hatchet job against Jews in general, but couched in language that makes it appear as if he is an objective purveyor of the truth. It’s a deliberately unbalanced portrait, using selective quotes from the odd loony Zionist and unassimilated Jews to support his case. Duke fails to recognise that what he describes as “Jewish Supremacism” (which I would term Jewish solidarity or cohesion) stems from anti-Semitism itself.

Anyone can produce a biographical history of a particular group of people and reach a conclusion to suit the preordained prejudices of the author. You could write a book entitled British Barbarism and concentrate on the brutalities of British imperialism throughout the ages. You could catalogue Britain’s mistreatment in its colonies, its discrimination against such groups as the Boers and the Irish, culminating in a description of the ferocity of contemporary football hooligans. In such a way, you could very easily create an impression of the British as a belligerent and bestial nation.

Duke takes his message all over the world. He addresses Arab audiences, who are particularly receptive to his anti-Zionism, and also lectures in a private university in Kiev. Guests on his internet radio show are invariably historical revisionists (gas-chamber deniers) who are, of course, Nazi sympathisers (hardly a coincidence, one feels).

But Duke and his guests are not stupid. They portray themselves as victims, campaigners for free speech against what they see as the oppressive (“Jewish Supremacist”) establishment. Duke’s skill has been to recast language so as to invert perceived wisdoms. He claims not to be a white supremacist (as his detractors routinely describe him) or a racial anti-Semite, but instead a “white civil rights’ activist”.

Gas-chamber deniers are presented merely as objective historians seeking to establish the truth. He alleges that white people in Europe and America are being “ethnically cleansed” by mass immigration as part of a “Jewish Supremacist” world plot.

A list of Duke’s friends, cited on his website, reads like a roll call of Nazi apologists – extremist politicians like John Tyndall, former British National Party leader, and ‘revisionists’ like Ernst Zundel and David Irving. Zundel, who once wrote a pamphlet entitled The Hitler We Loved and Why, currently languishes in a German prison after extradition from Canada on charges of Holocaust denial.

The revisionists claim they are being silenced for telling the truth and re-examining aspects of history. Why – they ask – is the Second World War immune from any form of historical reappraisal that favours the German perspective? Why – they demand – should denial of aspects of the Holocaust (or the widely accepted six million figure) be seen as such heresy?

You will have gathered that I have no time for Duke and his fellow Nazis. But one issue perturbs me and that is the legislation in countries like Germany that seeks to make a denial or qualification of any aspect of the Holocaust as a crime. Our democracy should be strong enough to withstand attacks from Nazi apologists. We will never succeed in silencing them completely, no matter how hard we try, and we certainly shouldn’t make martyrs out of them. This is the age of the internet. Loonies have never had it so good…