When addressing the tone of right-wing reaction against Islam in Europe, liberals repeatedly suggest (in place of an actual argument) the same thought-experiment. Read an article criticizing Muslims in Europe, they say, and in your mind substitute the word “Muslim(s)” for “Jew(s)”.
The desired result of the experiment is to draw attention to a perceived similarity between anti-Muslim sentiment present in Europe today, and the atmosphere of state-sponsored Anti-Semitism under the Nazis.
Many have bought into this analogy, including friends of mine who are (although unsympathetic to Islam) understandably anxious to avoid being on the wrong side of a repeated history.
Superficially I suppose, the experiment does harvest a few causes for concern, but these are usually only found at the wild extremities of the Counter-Jihad fraternity.
Anders Behring Breivik for instance, wrote (or copy and pasted) in his manifesto that many Europeans opposed the deportation of Muslims because they each had a ‘special Mustafa’ whom they felt affection towards; a kind of ‘Good Muslim’ who, as an exception to the vulgar rule, forbade them to support any more general movement against Islam.
Reading this, Liberals were hasty (and correct) to point out an eerie likeness between Breivik’s sentiments and those expressed during Heinrich Himmler’s Posen Speech of 1943, in which the SS chief said the following: “It is one of those things that is easily said. ‘The Jewish people is being exterminated’…. And then along they all come, all the 80 million upright Germans, and each one has his decent Jew. They say: all the others are swine, but here is a first-class Jew.”
Here there is a clear similarity here between Breivik’s ‘special Mustafa’, and Himmler’s ”Decent Jew’. The echo suggested is real, disturbing and I cannot argue against it. Breivik and his ilk plainly are merely substituting (in their minds and words) “Muslim” for “Jew”, and this accords with a more general fascism in the Norwegian psychopath’s mindset. In the 1930s, the likes of Breivik would have been volunteers in the SS. He is of the same human type, transported through time into a different age.
Still, Anders Breivik does not speak for all of us, or indeed anyone that I know of. Nobody of note has excused his behaviour or signed up to his endorsement of political violence. If he sought through his efforts to bring Counter-Jihad sentiment into agreement with Hitler, he has completely failed.
The Nazi party was born into an age teeming with fear. Minus the thousand coincidences of the era, it would never have succeeded. Nazi ideology too, developed not out of one but many inter-weaving currents of early Twentieth century thought. Some of these were obscure, a majority however were very mainstream. The most notable of the latter were those scientific ideas concerning race.
Victorian Racial theorists managed to reduce the whole of humanity to a few giant sub-species, each with its own pattern of behaviour and allotment of talent. The Jews were considered to be, whilst not the stupidest race, certainly the most cunning and wicked.
Jewish ‘evil’ was thus considered genetic. They behaved in the ‘wicked’ way they did, because of an inbuilt desire to conquer the world, either via communism, or decadent liberalism. This wasn’t something rooted in Judaism therefore, but in biology. No Jew could become non-Jewish, even if they tried. Whatever they attempted to be, they would always be congenitally dangerous to the gentile population.
Such themes in Anti-Semitism are still with us today. Kevin Macdonald, one of the leading Anti-Semitic intellectuals of recent history, also argues that Jews are predictable and nefarious because of their genetics. In Macdonald’s theory, this is because of their high average IQ, aggression and verbal intelligence.
This kind of biological anti-Semitism seems to be very particular to Europeans. Little about it has changed over the years, except the scientific references.
What we see in the Modern age with respect to Muslims, is entirely distinct from the history described. People who wish to see Europe preserved as an independent civilization and not subsumed into a Muslim caliphate, are plainly not the same kind as the Nazis drew from.
For a start, we are not dull-eyed and heel-clicking authoritarians, but diverse, liberal, multi-coloured, and friendly. Some of us are religious, some of us atheist. Some of us are wildly conservative, some wildly Leftist. We all understand that these things don’t really matter when addressing a threat of such wide-ranging social import.
More vitally, our arguments, unlike those of the Nazis, are entirely reasonable and consistent with established moral norms.
We don’t hate Muslims because they are brown, but because they oppress those of their fellow brown people with whom we might agree. We see what happens to secularists, free-thinkers and progressives in Muslim societies, and so we are determined to keep ours from gaining a Muslim majority.
As a general rule, Jewish suffering during the Holocaust should only really be brought up in political arguments when there is a clear and logical reason to do so, as when for example discussing Ethno-nationalist movements like the BNP, Die Unsterblichen and KKK.
Otherwise, I find it is better to be cautious around such matters, and to show a little respect.