Wired: Neo-Nazis, Extremist Jews Unite
ccarrico at temple.edu
Thu Jul 17 19:18:30 MDT 2003
Neo-Nazis, Extremist Jews Unite
French neo-Nazis formed an alliance with extremist Jewish groups on the Internet to publish a torrent of hate messages directed against Arabs and Muslims, according to a report by a leading anti-racist group.
Members of extreme-right groups were prepared to set aside their anti-Semitic feelings to share Web space and know-how with extremist pro-Israeli campaigners, amid a rise in violence in the Middle East, the report said.
"This is a new phenomenon," said Mouloud Aounit, head of the MRAP group which published the 170-page report. "We wanted to ring an alarm bell over the worrying development of this form of racism which is not only virtual, but has also spread to everyday life."
The report said 26 websites, traced to right-wing and Jewish extremists groups in France, operated from the same server in the United States between 1999 and March this year.
Members of the groups also shared advice on how to send messages without leaving electronic trails.
Investigators believed the sites were taken down because of disagreement between the groups over the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Jewish extremists supported the action but some French far right-wingers were against it.
French police had no reaction to the report and France's main Jewish organization, CRIF, was not immediately available for comment.
Aounit said the unlikely alliance could resurface soon.
The report said that between 2001 and 2003, the groups sent 1,000 messages a day, including incitements to attack mosques in the hope of triggering civil war between Arabs and other French people.
They also included messages calling for the assassination of President Jacques Chirac, referred to ironically as Ben Shirak, whom extremists accused of handing power to Muslim interests.
A year ago, a member of the anti-foreigner National Republican Movement tried to gun down Chirac at the annual Bastille Day parade, days after posting a message on a British neo-Nazi site boasting that he would soon be famous.
Chirac has called for a crackdown on racism following anti-Semitic attacks and signs that the war in Iraq had increased tension between France's Jews and Muslims.
However, Aounit said the government remained indifferent to the flood of hate messages pouring out over the Internet.
"There is obviously the question of legislation, which must be addressed at the European level," Aounit said. "But if there is the political will, if you give cyber-cops the means to investigate, you could very rapidly arrest, identify the authors."
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