Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Vlaams Belang: Good or Bad for Conservatives and the Anti-Jihad Movement?

A lot of the disagreement between Charles Johnson, Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller is over the Flemish party Vlaams Belang ("Flemish Interest").  CJ thinks that VB is fascist; the others do not.  A blogger friend of mine, who tends to agree with CJ on the VB issue, has stated that VB and one of its prominent members have ties to David Duke.  David Duke is a former Neo-Nazi and former head of the Ku Klux Klan -- a sad little man who despises Israel and has marinated his entire life in shame, hatred and bigotry.

I am in the process of doing my own independent research on Vlaams Belang.  So far I have not found any convincing evidence that they are remotely pro-fascist or racist.  As to the supposed David Duke connection, I found an illuminating post at Lawrence Auster's site View from the Right.  Auster says this:
Having seen Charles Johnson in action so many times against supposed "Euro-fascists," particularly the Flemish anti-Islamization party Vlaams Belang, we know his method very well: If you actually want to do something to protect the West from the spreading power of Islam, and not just absurdly complain about "Islamism," AND if you supposedly have some "link" to extremists, fascists, or Nazis, no matter how tenuous or non-existent the link may be, then you yourself are an extremist, fascist, or Nazi and are to be expelled from decent society; and, moreover, anyone who defends you from that false charge (such as journalists Paul Belien, Richard Miniter, and Diana West) is to be labeled a "fascist sympathizer" and also expelled from decent society; and, moreover, any commenters at Johnson's website, Little Green Footballs (including individuals who have been friends and supporters of Johnson's for years) who fail to agree with Johnson's smears are to be expelled forthwith from that website.
In the past, Johnson has accused VB leader Filip Dewinter of being a fascist for such offenses as having a small bookend on his shelf in the shape of a Celtic cross, and being interviewed by a radio program which on another occasion had interviewed David Duke. The latter incident was transformed by Johnson into:
Out of these many associations, here's one that's especially noxious; in February of this year, Vlaams Belang leaders Filip DeWinter and Frank Vanhecke appeared on a radio show called "The Political Cesspool" (a very apt title), promoted at the web site of notorious white supremacist David Duke.
Note that Dewinter and Vanhecke themselves had absolutely nothing to do with David Duke. But because they had been interviewed on the same radio program that (as Johnson pointed out) had also interviewed Duke, and because Duke promoted that station at his website in order to publicize his own interview, Dewinter and Vanhecke were somehow "associated" with David Duke and his neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic positions.
However, David Duke did spend the night with a VB member and her family while he was traveling in Europe.   Auster quotes VB sources as calling for the member's resignation.  Here's the story:
When David Duke attended a Euro-Rus conference in Dendermonde, Belgium, he stayed the weekend with a local Vlaams Belang council member. The council member, Karin Milik, and her husband Thierry De Rijcke (the personal bodyguard of party leader Filip deWinter) are close personal friends of David Duke. Other council members of Vlaams Belang in the city of Dendermonde are unhappy with this and are demanding the resignation of Karin Milik, but it seems the party leaders will let her get away with this if she admits her error.
Read it all here.  It is probable that Vlaams Belang has racists in its midst, but the same is true for both our Democrat and our Republican parties.  It is also true for the PTA, the Boy Scouts, the Church.  One bad apple does not necessarily spoil the whole barrel.

I will consider Filip de Winter as a separate research subject.  If his bodyguard is close friends with David Duke, then that throws suspicion on de Winter as well.  I am by no means convinced that de Winter is as "pure as the driven snow."  However, I am not convinced of his alleged racism either.

I have not yet reached a conclusion on VB.  However, Larry's article leads me to discount VB's alleged ties to David Duke.  If anyone reading this has more information one this subject, I would like to hear from you.

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