A Tale of Two European Remarks: De Gucht and Sarrazin
Posted: 04 Sep 2010 06:18 PM PDT BY SULTAN
In August, Thilo Sarrazin a member of the board of the German Central Bank, and a critic of Islamic immigration, mentioned that Jews and Basque and some other ethnic groups have a common gene. What followed was a storm of protests and accusations that Sarrazin was anti-Semitic. Sarrazin was dismissed from his position on the board, and newspaper articles explained that it was for remarks that he had made about Muslims and Jews.
Last week, Karel De Gucht, the European Commissioner for Trade, gave a radio show his considered opinion of Jews. Naturally De Gucht put on his best jackboots, and explained that there will be no peace because the Jews run America, that Jews believe they are always right, and that it's impossible to have a conversation with even a "moderate Jew". While a few Jewish groups have protested, the European Commission has shrugged, and the media has shrugged too. The odds that De Gucht will be forced out of his job, the way that Sarrazin was are minimal.
But the difference between Sarrazin and De Gucht, was that Sarrazin said something truly unacceptable about an untouchable group. Muslims. While De Gucht mainly expressed a popular view among European elites about the Jews. The ferocious charges of Anti-Semitism against Sarrazin hinged only on him stating a casual fact that Jews are genetically related to one another. It isn't Anti-Semitism, it's Science. Sarrazin was not charged with Anti-Semitism because of what he had said about Jews, but because of what he had said about Muslims.
The media did not bother to report that Sarrazin had said that he would prefer immigration “if it was by eastern European Jews with a 15-percent-higher IQ than the German population.” An odd remark for an "Anti-Semite" to make. It would indeed seem that Thilo Sarrazin has a more positive view of Jews, than Karel De Gucht does. But it's not really about the Jews. It's about Muslims.
The Jews were used as cover by the advocates of multiculturalism to charge Sarrazin with bigotry. And there was a reason for that. Sarrazin had described himself as a mongrel, with French, Italian and Polish ancestry. His criticism of Muslim immigration was not genetic, but based on their refusal to integrate into Germany. Sarrazin had pointed out that other immigrants from Eastern Europe and Vietnam were productive members of society. Muslims however were not.
Muslims are not a genetic group, but a cultural and ideological one. The media couldn't charge him with racial hatred for pointing out the cultural problems of Muslim immigrants. And discussing his remarks too much, would raise the danger that people might agree. And so the media was forced to treat Sarrazin's offhand remark about Jews and Basque sharing genes as some sort of Third Reich throwback in order to charge him with racism. Except that there are Basque and Jewish genetic markers. But again this wasn't about Jews or the Basque-- it was about Muslims.
Had Sarrazin done a De Gucht, and talked about how obnoxious the Jews are, and how they control the world, statements that could have been easily lifted from Der Sturmer, the result would have been nothing but a collective shrug. If Sarrazin had really been Anti-Semitic, he would have never been fired. Indeed had Sarrazin been any kind of bigot, he would still probably have his job. The European ruling elite is commonly bigoted, not just toward Jews or racial minorities. Sarrazin's crime was not bigotry, it was that he aggressively criticized a disastrous government policy.
That is the real difference between Thilo Sarrazin and Karel De Gucht. Sarrazin made remarks criticizing the current policies of European states. De Gucht made remarks in support of the current policies of European states. That is why Sarrazin was forced out, and De Gucht gets a pass. But forcing out a Bundesbank board member because his criticisms of the disaster toward which the current course is leading the country is impolitic. It is much better to charge him with an offense such as bigotry that delegitimizes his views and makes it less likely that anyone will listen to him.
The issue here is not race or religion, but European policy is pro-Muslim and Anti-Semitic. That puts Karel De Gucht on the right side of the ruling elites, and Thilo Sarrazin on the wrong side of them. European policy is to promote the Muslim world, while squeezing Israel. De Gucht's remarks expressed the hostility toward Israel behind that policy. Some in the ruling European elite might wish that he had not been so blunt, mainly because in private they do agree with him. De Gucht stated European policy in a somewhat vulgar way. Sarrazin disagreed with that policy in a more restrained way. The different treatments accorded to Sarrazin and De Gucht make it obvious what the real crime was. Disagreeing with a policy that fills Europe with Muslims.
De Gucht, whose family have been accused of being Nazi collaborators, comes by his bigotry honestly. And bigotry is not a threat. On the other hand, informed criticism is. Had Thilo Sarrazin limited himself to making vulgar jokes about Muslims with other members of the ruling elite, with an occasional De Gucht like slip in an interview, he would have gotten a pass. It is no more than much of the European ruling elite does anyway. But his arguments questioned the sanity and competence of those making the decisions. They raised questions that most Europeans have already thought of on their own. And that made him dangerous.
So the media was not disturbed to hear a top European Commission official raising views about Jews that were supposed to have gone out of style along with jackboots and palm first salutes. Again they too agree with De Gucht. All it takes is a brief reading of editorials and cartoons to see that. They just tend to avoid being quite as vulgar about it. But they were disturbed to hear of a Central Bank official questioning a pro-Muslim policy that will destroy individual European states and the national identity of their peoples. Because they are invested in that policy themselves.
Now De Gucht has apologized with a non-apology that will only serve to "prove him right", that Jews do control everything. After all they made him apologize, didn't they. But what is there really to apologize for? De Gucht said what he believed. He said what much of the European ruling elite believes. He hasn't changed his views since then. It would be better if more European policymakers spoke as openly about what they believe, instead of hiding behind euphemisms, and letting their true opinions out only at dinner parties. Nor are such views confined to Europe. Much of the American political and cultural elite now shares them as well.
Sarrazin wanted to open a debate on Germany's immigration policies, he was smeared as a bigot and fired for his trouble. De Gucht wanted to blame the Jews for everything wrong in the Middle East, and everything is business as usual. And Sarrazin was targeted using charges of Anti-Semitism, even as Europe's biggest Anti-Semites today are those very Muslim immigrants. De Gucht gets a pass on Anti-Semitism, all he said was that Jews are dangerous fanatics who are secretly in control of everything. While Sarrazin noted that Jews have common genetic markers. De Gucht's actual Anti-Semitism got a pass, while Sarrazin was driven out on false charges of Anti-Semitism. The real charge that he was obstructing the destruction of Europe by Muslim immigrants could not be aired in public.
Sarrazin was a member of Germany's Socialist Democratic Party. He is certainly no right winger, as critics have charged. The SDP is not worlds apart from De Gucht's own VLD party. Both men are economic officials formerly charged with corruption. They have a good deal in common on the surface. But Sarrazin took a common sense approach to an obvious problem. De Gucht fell back on an old European tradition of blaming the Jews. And in a rapidly Islamic Europe, blaming the Jews is the safer approach.
Had Sarrazin blamed Germany's Muslim integration problems on European support for Israel, the same people now cynically damning him as an Anti-Semite would instead be cheering him for actually being an Anti-Semite. But rational arguments are no match for irrational ones. If you suggest that Muslims are at fault for their own violence and hostility toward non-Muslims, you are a bigot. If you blame the Jews for it, you are obviously a deep thinker.
That is the way it goes now among the advocates of the cult of multiculturalism. They say that Islamophobia is not new Anti-Semitism, but that is not true. Islamophilia is the new Anti-Semitism.