Bulletin from a battleground of the people’s revolution 12

The rulers of Europe and their supporting media are beginning to feel seriously embattled. They are aware and frightened of a spreading discontent, a darkening mood of defiance and even rebellion among the peoples they lead.

Their instinct – the instinct of tyrants – is to protect themselves by using government to silence criticism.

Of all the members of the European Union, Germany, it seems, is where the ruling class feels most insecure and is responding with most high-handed imperiousness. This is not hard to account for. Germany is anxious to live down its appalling modern history; dissolve its guilt in the wider sea of a European state; dilute its very nationhood in a flood of immigrants bringing different laws, culture, and religion.

But rising populist movements are demanding the dissolution of the European Union and a stop to Muslim immigration.

From Gatestone by Stefan Frank:

The elites and intellectuals are apparently now counted among the German minorities in need of protection.

Toward the end of last year, Germany experienced a previously unheard-of boycott campaign – funded by the German government, no less – against several websites, such as the popular Axis of Good (Achse des Guten). The website, critical of the government, was suddenly accused of “right-wing populism”.

The German government’s efforts at thought control seem to have begun with the victory of Donald J. Trump in the US presidential election – that seems to set the “establishment” off. Germany’s foreign minister and the probable future federal president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier – one of the first to travel to Iran after the removal of sanctions there to kowtow to the Ayatollahs – called America’s future president a “hate preacher”.

Herr Steinmeier, uniquely among European leaders, has come to his senses since then, recognized that there has been a world-transforming political upheaval in America, and plans to talk to President Trump in an effort to understand what the popular revolution is all about.

Germany’s newspapers were suddenly littered with apocalyptic predictions and anti-American fulminations.

For hard-core Trump-haters, however, a witch hunt by itself is insufficient; they want activism! Since November, Germany’s left-wing parties have had a strong increase in membership, as reported by Der Spiegel. At the same time, the federal government evidently decided, at least regarding the federal elections taking place in 2017, that it would no longer count on journalists’ self-censorship.

The German government, instead of merely hoping that newspapers would voluntarily – or under pressure from the Press Council – refrain from criticising the government’s immigration policies, decided that it, itself, would inaugurate censorship.

To this effect, as reported by Der Spiegel, the Federal Interior Ministry, intends to set up a “Defense Center against Disinformation (“Abwehrzentrum gegen Desinformation“) in the fight against “fake news on social networks”. “Abwehr” – the name of Nazi Germany’s military intelligence agency – is apparently meant to demonstrate the government’s seriousness regarding the matter.

“It sounds like the Ministry of Truth, ‘Minitrue,’ from George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984,” wrote even the left-leaning daily, Frankfurter Rundschau.

Frank Überall, national head of the German Association of Journalists (DJV), bluntly stated: “This smells like censorship.”

It seems that all ideas suspected of being “populist” – or simply those ideas without the blessing of the elites – will now be banned in Germany. This restriction applies to criticism of the government (especially regarding immigration and energy policies), of the EU, of Islam, of government officials and of the media.

The Federal Agency for Political Education – the information agency of the Interior Ministry – is quite open about it: “Anti-elitism”, “anti-intellectualism”, “anti-politics” and “hostility toward institutions” are “the key characteristics of populism”.

Toward the end of 2016, one of the biggest German media scandals in recent memory erupted when Gerald Hensel, undoubtedly a member of Germany’s elite, tried to introduce a new form of internet censorship with the help of a team of media agencies and political players. Until recently, Hensel was “Director of Strategy” at Scholz & Friends, one of Germany’s two big advertising agencies. The firm counts among its clients multinational corporations such as General Motors, the German federal government and the European Commission; so one might say the company is close to the state.

Apparently in anger over Trump’s election victory, Hensel demanded: “Let us freeze the cash flow of the right-wing extremist media!” He had previously written a strategy brief declaring debate to be useless; instead, the political enemy — the “populists” – needed to be fought, even with questionable methods:

The liberal center must, especially in these new digital and information-based wars, take off the kid gloves. We have to turn the tables and learn about populism, particularly on the Internet … Thus, we have to respond in a more wide-spread digital manner and with explicitly less sympathy to those people who want to force their own future on us – and do this long before the next federal election … Political storytelling, targeting the political enemy, influencers, forums, rumors…”

“Measures,” he added, have to be taken against the “new right” – measures that:

… [A]re “Below the Line” and also digital. We need “good” troll factories in our fight against [European “populist” leaders] Frauke Petry, Beatrix von Storch, Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen and the fat stupid white men behind them. Ideally, as quickly as possible. Starting in 2017, they will continue to dismantle the EU and thus our future and that of our children.

Toward the end of November, Hensel appealed to his colleagues in various advertising agencies, under the banner of “no money for the right”, to boycott all those who fit the description of his bogeyman – because they were “hostile towards the EU”, or because they might even harbor sympathies for Donald Trump. He was jumping on a bandwagon. A witch hunt was already under way against the American website Breitbart, due to the closeness of its former executive chair, Steve Bannon, to Donald Trump.

Without providing any kind of proof, countless German newspapers and broadcasters claimed that Breitbart was “racist”, “sexist”, “xenophobic”, “anti-Semitic” and “Islamophobic”, and a “hate site”. The state-owned German television station ARD described Breitbart as an “ultra right-wing” platform for “white supremacy”. Other journalists followed suit.

Hensel went one step farther. In the style of a prosecutor during the Inquisition, he called to break the “dominance of right-wing micro media”. He seems to consider particularly dangerous and subversive, anyone who reads articles that do not originate from one of Germany’s media empires:

“While I may satisfy my thirst for information with my subscriptions to ZEIT or Le Mode Diplomatique, the brave new-right freedom-fighter likes to stay informed via online media such as the Axis of Good or Breitbart News.”

This alone raises several suspicions. Hensel, whose website (which since December can only be accessed with a password) is graced by the display of a Soviet red star, likes to eliminate his opponents swiftly. Breitbart, for example, is deemed fascist (“salon-fascists”). Why? Because the blog — and here he, supposedly for simplicity’s sake, quotes an article from the Süddeutsche Zeitung — “covers all the topics of German right-wing populism”; Breitbart reports about “the migrant and refugee policies of the German federal government, as well as of supposed criminal acts conducted by migrants and Islamic activities”.

There is freedom of speech in my stupid little world. Undoubtedly, websites such as Breitbart News and the Axis of Good … are legal media. Nevertheless, one could ask brand names whether they … are aware that their banner ads appear on these particular websites and represent their brand there.

This type of “asking”, of course, roughly corresponds to the mafia “asking” the pizzeria owner if he has fire insurance.

Hensel also considerately provided detailed instructions for his readers. Those employed by an enterprise should check whether the websites that he deemed “right-wing” are registered on a blacklist. Employees of advertising agencies should form a team, with Hensel and other authoritarians, for internet censorship:

If your career in a media agency has propelled you a little higher up the hierarchy, you might be able to bring up the topic at the next media get-together with colleagues. 2017 is an election year. You, dearest colleagues, clearly have a part in determining who receives our advertising dollars.

Hensel also suggests that consumers put direct pressure on companies or approach them via social media, to dissuade them from advertising on “hate publishers” and “destroyers of the future”.

This manifesto was only published on a private blog — one that barely anyone had ever heard of before. But the power of which Hensel boasted – the networks in the advertising agencies and editorial offices – is real. On Hensel’s command, big newspapers and websites reported on the operation with much sympathy, along with the hashtag #NoMoneyForTheRight.

Large companies such as Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), BMW, Mercedes-Benz and the supermarket chain REWE obeyed straightaway, and promised to place “Breitbart” on the blacklist immediately and never to advertise there againDer Spiegel cited Hensel’s “resistance” (!) and pilloried one business that did not follow suit: A plucky little pizza delivery service that responded to the blacklisting demand by declaring that it was “not the morality police”. The company was denounced by Der Spiegel as “inept”, and after “protests from customers”, it ended up capitulating, as the newspaper reported with much satisfaction.

Breitbart will cope with missing out on a few hundred dollars of advertising revenue from Germany. Hensel, however, was successful in his attempt to motivate his ad agency colleagues against German websites such as the Axis of Good. Within a few days, none of them advertised there anymore. Advertising revenue, equally important for websites as it is for newspapers, came to a halt. Hensel had achieved his goal.

For this campaign, Hensel also received support from the group Network Against Nazis (Netz gegen Nazis), which receives financing from by Germany’s federal government, the German Football Association and the newspaper Die Zeit, and which, until recently, also counted Scholz & Friends among its supporters. In the tried and true Orwellian fashion of calling things their opposite, the definition of “Nazi”, for Network Against Nazis, encompasses anyone who is “Islamophobic” or “hostile toward the media”.

Shortly after Hensel’s call for boycotts, the Axis of Good was placed on a list of “popular right-wing blogs” by Network Against Nazis – together with the liberal publisher Roland Tichy and the evangelical civil rights activist Vera Lengsfeld (who is a thorn in the side of communists, because she fought against the East Germany’s dictatorship in the 1980s). The Amadeu-Antonio Foundation, which runs the Network Against Nazis website, receives almost a million euros per year from the federal government. Not surprisingly, it demonstrates its gratitude with character assassinations of critics of the government.

Within a short time, Hensel had put together a kind of mafia, bent on economically ruining whoever rejected his ideological commands, by using libel and slander to scare away their customers.

As the Frankfurter Allgemeine daily newspaper commented:

It is very fashionable right now to stigmatize people and denounce them as “right-wing” if they do not share your views. Companies want nothing to do with that label, and, as you can see on Twitter, they quickly change direction if they are aggressively made aware that they support the wrong side with their ads (which are often automatically activated and run on the internet).”

The Left’s lie that Nazism (National Socialism) was “right-wing” rather than one of its own branches – which it was – has stuck, giving the Left one of its few lasting victories.

In response to the boycott campaign against it, the Axis of Good showed how a business can defend itself: the editors raised a public alarm about Hensel’s campaign in a series of reports and commentaries. Thousands of readers complained on the Facebook page of Hensel’s employer, Scholz & Friends, which, after its initial support, began to distance itself from its employee’s campaign and finally severed ties with him.

According to Hensel’s version, his campaign was “so successful” that he wanted to take his employer “out of the line of fire”.

My former employer and I became the victims of a massive hate storm consisting of countless tweets, emails and comments on social media … This is a systematic campaign.

As if that was a wicked thing, and as if his campaign had not been “systematic”.

Of course, it was Hensel himself who initiated a systematic campaign, including dirty tricks, which were waged with an eye to the government’s apparent plans to consolidate the population ideologically.

That is the chilling plan, precisely worded. And that is true Nazism, true Stalinism. 

As research by the Axis of Good has revealed, Hensel’s boycott operation was closely tied to the plans by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs to conduct an advertising campaign in support of an open-door immigration policy in 2017. For this, an advertising agency was necessary, as reported in September by an industry journal:

As revealed by a Europe-wide announcement, the Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth is looking for an agency to advertise the brand “Living democracy! Actively against right-wing extremism, violence and inhumanity”.

Ad agencies were invited to submit their suggestions by the middle of December. The Axis of Good concluded:

There is a suspicion that this [boycott] operation was a hurried pilot project for the bid for the million-euro project by [Federal Minister] Schwesig’s Family Ministry. A free trial run for the so-called “advertising pitch”.

Regarding the question of how much economic damage was caused to the Axis of Good by the boycott campaign, Henryk M. Broder, the website’s publisher, told Gatestone:

It is significant, but how big it really was, we will only know in a few months. After all, it is not the companies themselves that stopped advertising, but the agencies. The damage for Scholz & Friends could be even bigger, but they do not talk about it.”

The Hamburger Abendblatt daily referred to Hensel’s campaign as an “attack on the freedom of the press,” adding: “It seems as if the shot from the activists backfired.”

As in communist dictatorships, the more obvious the failings of the government, the more aggressively the establishment attacks those who speak out about them.

The necessity and joy of being offensive 1

To generalize for a delightful moment of offensive political incorrectness: Germans notoriously lack a sense of humor.

Of course there have been, and are, some German humorists. But that there should be a national scandal, a huge legal controversy, even headlines across the world about a piece of humorous writing by a German in Germany, can only be astonishing.

It has happened.

Stefan Frank writes at Gatestone:

Who would have thought that there is still a law in Germany that makes “lèse majesté” (offending the dignity of a monarch) a punishable crime? And that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now benefiting from just that – and that it could plunge Germany into a (further) “national crisis.”

The terms “national crisis” and “governmental crisis” have been coming up again and again. In light of all the massive problems Germany has, this one is about a poem in which a cabaret performer and comedian, Jan Böhmermann, recently insulted the Turkish President.

Erdogan has called for Böhmermann’s head and, as of last week, has Chancellor Merkel on his side.

The story began in March, when a German regional television station aired a music video during a satirical show, in which repression and human rights violations under Erdogan were pilloried in a humorous way. The Turkish government summoned the German ambassador and demanded that the video be removed from the internet and never be shown again. Germans thereby learned that the German ambassador is regularly summoned to Ankara – three times so far this year. According to reports, the Turkish government once complained about teaching material in Saxony’s schools that dealt with the Armenian genocide.

The revelation that Erdogan is so easy to insult inspired some people to see if they could go the extra mile. Cabaret artist Jan Böhmermann published an “Offensive Poem” (its actual title) on ZDF Neo, a tiny state-run entertainment TV channel with a market share of 1%. It contained speculations about the Turkish president’s digestive and sexual preferences. AFP reports that,

In his ‘libelous poem’, which, as comedian Jan Böhmermann smilingly announced on television, openly exceeds the limits of free speech in Germany, Böhmermann accused Erdogan of having sex with goats and sheep, among other things.

Böhmermann apparently mixed these unsubstantiated claims with (as an example) truthful statements on the oppression of minorities in Turkey (Erdogan wanted to “get Kurds, cut Christians,” he said).

In a preemptive surrender, which many Germans view as the real scandal, ZDF immediately deleted the broadcast from its Internet archives – before Erdogan could even complain. “The parody that satirically addresses the Turkish President does not meet the quality requirements the ZDF has in place for satire shows,” the station explained of this step. “For this reason, the passage was removed from the program.” This, as ZDF program director Norbert Himmler said, occurred “in consultation with Jan Böhmermann.” The limits of irony and satire were exceeded in this case

ZDF editors now criticize this course of action, and are asking for the piece to be accessible in the archives once again.

Chancellor Merkel – who is not otherwise known to react quickly to crises – tried to appease Erdogan shortly after the broadcast of the program. In a telephone conversation with Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu, she called the poem “deliberately hurtful” and “unacceptable”. She probably hoped to settle things without having explicitly to apologize, which many Germans from across the political spectrum would resent. But Erdogan has no intention of settling down. He called for the criminal prosecution of Böhmermann. …

Laws, some of which date back to the German Empire, complicate the issue. Hardly any German has ever heard of them, but they have suddenly become relevant. In Germany, the term “abusive criticism” has primarily been familiar to lawyers; the fact that gross affronts are prohibited in Germany is probably obvious to many citizens. However, little known – and much less accepted – is a law from 1871, which makes the “slander of institutions and officials of foreign states” an offense carrying a penalty of up to five years in prison.

On April 14, Angela Merkel announced that she is granting the Turkish President’s demand for prosecution against Böhmermann – against the objections of her coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

In Germany, justice should decide such a case, not the government, says Merkel. But many commentators believe this justification to be hypocritical; after all, Erdogan supposedly already filed lawsuits as a private individual at the Court in Mainz. What Merkel will now enable is another court case for “lèse majesté.” The Berlin Tagesspiegel writes:

“The majority of Germans are against the fact that she [Merkel] is complying with Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s majesty demands in this way. ‘Majesty’ is, therefore, the appropriate term, because penal code section 103 from the year 1871 is for lèse majesté. So it comes from a time when we were still driving carriages and had an emperor. And the Turks had a sultan.”

Many also consider Merkel’s decision to be particularly absurd because on the same day, the Chancellor announced that she wants to abolish the law on lèse majesté “by 2018.”

Through her decision, Merkel signaled that the Turkish President’s “honor” is more important than that of normal German citizens, who can only take ordinary legal action when they are slandered, and who do not enjoy the privilege of an extended “protection of honor” for “princes.”

Erdogan has managed to extend what he already practices in Turkey to Germany. A few months ago, when nobody in Turkey had even heard of Jan Böhmermann, Die Welt reported:

Paragraph 299 of the Turkish Penal Code, which provides for imprisonment of up to four years for insulting the head of state, has become the most common political offense. As a CHP party inquiry revealed, 98 people were arrested for this reason in the first ten months of last year. 66 were indicted, and 15 were kept in custody. The number of preliminary proceedings is unknown; human rights activists estimate several hundred. ‘With these reactions, Erdogan shows how justified this criticism is,’ said CHP human rights politician Sezgin Tanrikulu of Die Welt. ‘A regime that responds to all criticism with criminal proceedings is moving toward a dictatorship’.

The Turkish penal code – now in Germany?

The Turkish government called the slander of Erdogan a “serious crime against humanity”. The choice of words is reminiscent of how Erdogan once acquitted Sudanese President Omar al Bashir of genocide allegations in Darfur: “Muslims cannot carry out genocide.” Erdogan at the time was expressing an attitude often widespread in the West: crimes are not crimes when Muslims commit them. This also seems to be the view of many German politicians and journalists; rarely is a Muslim despot or demagogue criticized in Germany, while at the same time, no one in Germany has any inhibitions about vilifying Christianity or the Church.

It is this double standard, among other things, that Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the major German publishing house, Axel Springer, denounced in an open letter to Böhmermann … In it, Döpfner calls for “solidarity with Jan Böhmermann.” He also writes:

First, I want to say: I think your poem succeeded. I laughed out loud. So it’s important to me to say that, because in the past few days, there hasn’t been a single article about your text – whether accusatory or taking your side – that didn’t first (and at the same time captatio benevolentiae) emphasize how tasteless and primitive and insulting your satire about Erdogan was.

According to Döpfner, it’s “as if you were to accuse a Formula 1 car manufacturer of having fast cars.” Being offensive is certainly the goal, and has a useful consequence: “It is very revealing what reactions your satire triggered. A focal point and a turning point.” Döpfner evokes various works by German artists, comedians, and cartoonists that are solely about mocking Christians and their faith. “When it comes to the provocation of religious or, more precisely, Christian feelings, anything goes in Germany,” says Döpfner. However, if someone offends Erdogan, that leads to “a kind of national crisis.”

Döpfner remembers how in Turkey, Erdogan proceeded against freedom of speech, minorities, and equality for women by force, and mentions the “excessive and reckless violence of the Turkish army” against the Kurds. Why, of all things, does insulting Erdogan cause such turbulence in Germany? Döpfner writes:

For the small compensation of three billion euros, Erdogan regulates the streams of refugees so that conditions do not get out of control in Germany. You have to understand, Mr. Böhmermann, that the German government apologized to the Turkish government for your insensitive remarks. In the current situation, they are simply ‘not helpful’ – artistic freedom or not. You could easily call it kowtowing. Or as Michel Houellebecq phrased it in the title of his masterpiece on the self-abandonment of the democratic Western world: submission.

Erdogan, who also campaigned in Germany during Turkish elections, appears to consider Germany an appendage of his Great Ottoman Empire. He calls out to Turks in Germany: “Assimilation is a crime against humanity.” He has great power in Germany. This is not only based on German organizations like the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), which is controlled by the Turkish government, but above all on his ability to provoke upheaval in Germany if he wants. That Chancellor Merkel has delegated even more power to Erdogan in this situation, by imploring him to prevent hundreds of thousands of migrants in Turkey from heading for Europe, has made the situation even worse — particularly because she has explained over and over that this is the only solution to the migrant crisis.

Merkel considers it indecent when Europeans secure their own country’s borders based on current laws, but she gives Erdogan full reign to proceed with migrants at his discretion. …

Böhmermann’s television appearances were canceled; he fears for his life and is under police protection.

Posted under Commentary, Germany, Humor, satire, Turkey, tyranny by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, April 20, 2016

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Brussels reaps what Brussels sowed 4

We hope that Brussels, “under lockdown” in fear of Muslim terrorist attacks, is experiencing maximum inconvenience. That’s the least it deserves.

We quote from an article at Gatestone by Stefan Frank:

The Molenbeek district of Brussels is considered Europe’s “terrorist factory”.

At least three of the perpetrators of the November terrorist attacks in Paris came from there: Ibrahim Abdeslam, Abdelhamid Abaaoud and the remaining fugitive Salah Abdeslam. The list does not stop there. The Viennese daily newspaper Die Presse writes:

Molenbeek made headlines for the first time in 2001: Abdessatar Dahmane, the murderer of the Afghan war hero and horror of the Taliban, Ahmed Schah Massoud, was a regular at the Islamic center at 18 Rue du Manchester, known for its radical views; as well as Hassan El Haski, who was presumed behind the attacks in Casablanca (41 dead in 2003) and Madrid (200 victims in 2004). The weapons that were used in the attacks on the French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo in January 2015 came from Molenbeek. The French jihadist Mehdi Nemouche, who caused a bloodbath in the Brussels Jewish Museum the previous year, lived here. In August 2015, Ayoub El Khazzani started out from here on his attempt to attack a train from Amsterdam to Paris.

The two jihadists killed by Belgian police in January, in Verviers, came from Molenbeek. The terrorist Amedy Coulibaly, who attacked the HyperCacher kosher supermarket in Paris, also spent time in Molenbeek.

The majority of the terrorists who have appeared in Europe in recent times originated from a single neighborhood, six square-kilometers in size — an astounding concentration.

Belgium is, in relation to the size of its population, the greatest European exporter of fighters for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Most of them come from Molenbeek. “Instead of bombing Raqqah,” says the French journalist Eric Zemmour, “France should be bombing Molenbeek.”

More than half the population of Molenbeek is Muslim; a quarter come from Morocco – such as the Paris attackers. “You know, there are more veiled women here in Molenbeek than in Casablanca,” says a resident interviewed by investigative reporter Gilles Gaetner of the French news portal Atlantico. … “When one walks the streets of this Brussels district, with its nearly 96,000 residents, one is overcome by a bizarre impression. Not only would you think you were no longer in the Kingdom of Belgium, but an oppressive atmosphere reigns here.”

Foreign reporters are only now discovering Molenbeek. …

[Brussels is] a city in fear. Much of the responsibility for this apparently rests with Philippe Moureaux, member of the Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste), who was mayor of Molenbeek from 1992 until 2012. Confronted with the complaints of his citizens, he regularly denied the unsustainable conditions in his town: “It makes me angry when people pick out tiny details and lie about them,” he said in the quoted report. Molenbeek is “not the Bronx; the problems with criminality only concern a small number of streets,” said Moureaux.

Then Moureaux showed his true colors: “Molenbeek is a symbol that certain people want to destroy. But only over my dead body.” Certain people? Does the mayor actually believe in a conspiracy against his district of misery? One does not have to search for long to realize that Moureaux, on whose initiative Belgium passed an “anti-racism law” in 1981, is an anti-Semite  … He downplays and supports the violence of young Muslims – also against Jews.

There was heavy rioting in 2009 during Ramadan in Molenbeek. Muslim youths set up barricades made of burning tires, set cars ablaze, threw rocks at firefighters who came to put out fires and, equipped with rocks and crowbars, looted stores. … The police received the following order: “Do not provoke them, do not search them, do not intervene, even if dozens of them come together, do not issue warnings for harassment, not even if they throw rocks at you.”

Jewish shop-owners were also harassed other than at Ramadan. In 2008, the Flemish magazine Dag Allemaal reported on “youths” yelling, “The Jews are our worst enemies,” in the streets of Molenbeek. There used be many stores run by Jews on the Rue du Prado and the Chaussée de Grand in Molenbeek, but in 2008, with the exception of one furniture store, they suddenly disappeared. And nobody seemed bothered by this, especially not Mayor Moureaux.

None of the Jews wanted to speak with the Dag Allemaal reporter, out of fear of reprisals. The one exception was a man whom the paper referred to as “René.” René ran a barbershop for over 30 years in the Chaussée de Gand. Then came a series of acts of violence. It began with graffiti on his shop’s windows: “Sale youpin” (“dirty Jew”) and other anti-Semitic slogans. Later on, six Muslim youths stormed into his shop, destroyed the furnishings and punched René in the face. He called the police. An hour later, the youths returned in order to “punish” him; they broke all the mirrors. For more than 35 years, René had built up a large and loyal customer base, but after this attack, most people were afraid to visit his shop. He had no other choice but to close it.

How did Moureaux react? By accusing Belgian Jews of wanting to deny Muslims the “right to diversity”. …

This “right to diversity” was not granted to citizens by Moureaux during Ramadan. In a press release with the title, “Ramadan regulations for everyone”, Moureaux appealed to citizens in August 2011 to stop driving into the center of Molenbeek in the afternoon during the month of Ramadan, because Muslims are doing their shopping there.

In January 2015, after the massacre of the staff of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and the murder of four Jews in Paris’s HyperCacher supermarket, the now-retired mayor gave an interview to Maghreb TV, a channel broadcast via the internet, the target audience for which is North Africans in Belgium. After he made an appeal not to hold all Muslims responsible for the actions of a few terrorists, it got wild:

Many have an interest in dividing us. … Unfortunately, these people can be found everywhere. There is a contagion of the problems of the Middle East, in the Near East, the Israeli-Palestinian problem, which leads to some having an interest in provoking local disagreements, like a reflex to what happens over there. … It will be said that it is coming from both sides. But it is obvious that they are trying to create hatred for Arabs here in the West, in order to justify the policies of the state of Israel, policies that appear unacceptable to me.

It is supposed to be Israel’s fault when the Arabs of Belgium – and especially those of Molenbeek – have a bad reputation? This type of anti-Semitic resentment is unfortunately not only typical for Moureaux, but for his entire party. In March 2013, the Socialists of Molenbeek issued an invitation to an event titled: “What if we freely and calmly spoke about Zionism?” On the invitation flyer was an anti-Semitic caricature, drawn in the style of Der Stürmer, by the Arabic neo-Nazi Zéon. After loud protests, the Socialists cancelled the event – on the grounds that the aspired-to “calm” discussion was unfortunately no longer possible.

Welcome to Molenbeek. The jurist Etienne Dujardin recently wrote in the news portal Levif.be that the conditions in Islamist terror districts such as Molenbeek, Verviers or Saint Denis also had something to do with the deliberate efforts of some politicians, who find welcome campaign workers in radical Islamic circles:

Parties have been practicing a form of cronyism based on elections; they all used the same radical mosques as mouthpieces for their election campaigns. Some saw them as a massive pool of easily available votes.

And that is how it seems Mayor Moureaux observed that he could personally profit from the transformation of Molenbeek into a bastion of jihad. As he himself lives in a wealthy district, he was able to reject with great arrogance citizens who complained about excessive crime. He won elections by catering to radical Islam. … Behind the anti-Israel agitation of Moureaux lay a corrupt mayor, who only cared for his office and his income; who, as he himself said, was “addicted to power”. That his town was transforming into a hell of criminality, anti-Semitism and Sharia, he either did not care about or actually welcomed. …  This is how Molenbeek became, during the term in office of just one man, what it is today.