Germany’s Freiheit Party Joins the Fray

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Freiheit robustly supports Israel, calling it “the only democratic state in the Middle East. It therefore is the outpost of the Western world in the Arab theater. All democratic countries must show the highest interest in Israel’s living in free self-determination and security. We explicitly commit ourselves to Israel’s right to exist, which is not open for discussion.”

However clear these passages, as well as the rejection of Turkish accession to the European Union, they comprise only about 2 percent of the Basic Program, which applies traditional Western values and policies generally to German political life. Its topics include German peoplehood, direct democracy, the family, education, the workplace, economics, energy, the environment, health, and so on. Offering a wide platform makes good sense, fitting the anti-Islamization program into a full menu of policies.

Despite this, of course, press coverage of the founding emphasized Freiheit’s position vis-à-vis Islam, defining it as a narrowly “anti-Islam party.”

The establishment of Freiheit prompts two observations: First, while it fits into a pattern of emerging European parties that focus on Islam as central to their mission, it differs from the others in its broader outlook. Whereas Wilder’s PVV blames nearly every societal problem on Islam, Freiheit, in addition to opposing “with all our force the Islamization of our country,” has many other issues on its agenda.

Second, Germany is conspicuously behind most European countries with a large Muslim population in not having spawned a party that stands up against Islamization. That’s not for a lack of trying; previous attempts petered out. Late 2010 might be an auspicious moment to launch such a party, given the massive controversy in Germany over the Thilo Sarrazin book ruing the immigration of Muslims, followed by Chancellor Angela Merkel announcing that multiculturalism has “utterly failed.” A change in mood appears underway.

The Freiheit party has been conceived as a mainstream, earnest, and constructive effort to deal with an exceedingly complex and long-term problem. If it succeeds, it could change the politics in Europe’s most influential country.

Mr. Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

Nov. 2, 2010 update: For the significance of the emergence of Die Freiheit and other political parties critical of Islamization, see my 2007 article, “Europe’s Stark Options,” especially “II. Muslims Rejected.”

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  • badaboo

    Hope it's not too little ,too late for Germany . However Merkel's recent satements ,may have opened some doors to the sunlight . We'll see .

  • Andres de Alamaya

    The world is filled with encouraging news this morning. Hals und Beinbruch, meine Freunde. All the best.

  • The Hammer

    I hope they have the fortitude to stay the course. And the bodyguards.

  • Raymond in DC

    The object lesson here is that if mainstream political parties pretend there's "no problem here" that needs to be dealt with, groups will emerge to bring those problems to light.

    • dhimminology

      That will be good for all humanity.

    • BoogiesDaddy

      Correct. And here in the U.S.A. it's those groups that are usually dealt with.
      You know, the racist, bigot, paranoid, Zionist, citizens….that is to say "we the people".

  • topeka

    @badaboo – though I could be wrong, I think BoogiesDaddy's comment is sarcastic. Sarcasm is sometimes hard to convey in a short comment, and I know – as I have had comments mistaken. I make the suggestion because my first thought was: Do the members of Die Freiheit have "hot tickets" and an off-shore refuge if their efforts go 'south?' Here, we have just witnessed the effect in America – one must be pure as the virgin snow, and if one's accomplishments are "ordinary" one is dismissed. This bodes very poorly for us. In Europe; I doubt these souls will have a job by the end of 2011, and their lives may become more unsustainable than a donut bakery in an fat-free, organic, biofueled, liberal-activist community development zone.