Targeting Farage

A hate group with an Orwellian name threatens to sue the Brexit hero.

“They go low, we go high.” “Love trumps hate.” The left, as we learned from the recent presidential campaign, is all about love. And hope. And, naturally, fighting hate.

Thus the name of the British organization Hope Not Hate. I've written about it before. It describes itself as an anti-fascist monitoring group, and the mainstream media, with few exceptions, routinely echo this self-description. In fact, however, HnH, founded in 2004, is far from what it pretends to be. Think of it as Britain's answer to the Southern Poverty Law Center: a vicious smear machine masquerading as a virtuous anti-hate group.

It was Hope Not Hate that successfully campaigned to have Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller banned from the U.K. because of their criticism of Islam. It was Hope Not Hate that slandered me and several dozen other critics of Islam in an outrageously mendacious “Counter-Jihad Report” that actually juxtaposed photos of David Horowitz and Geert Wilders with one of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik (complete with gun). It was Hope Not Hate that spent the run-up to the Brexit vote demonizing UKIP, the anti-EU party, which it routinely treated as racist, xenophobic, and neo-Nazi scum.

HnH's modus operandi is always consistent: instead of engaging the arguments of its ideological opponents in a fair, factual way, it maligns us, misrepresents us, and does its damnedest to destroy our reputations. The ultimate goal, plainly, is to try to make us shut up and go away.

Now they're at it again. Their latest target: none other than former UKIP head and Brexit hero Nigel Farage. After the December 19 attack in Berlin, Farage tweeted that such events “will be the Merkel legacy.” Merkel, he wrote, had “blood on her hands.” Farage was hardly alone in this opinion: perhaps the most common Facebook meme during the hours after the attack was a picture of Merkel with, yes, blood on her hands.

But at least one prominent Brit considered Farage's remarks wildly inappropriate. On his own Twitter account, Brendan Cox warned Farage that “blaming politicians for the actions of extremists” would lead him down a “slippery slope.”

Who is Brendan Cox? He's a professional left-wing activist who once served as an adviser to Gordon Brown. He's held well-paid positions at groups with names like Crisis Action and was chief strategist at Save the Children, from which he resigned in 2015 after accusations of “inappropriate behavior.” But he's best known as the widower of Labour MP Jo Cox, a vocal Remain advocate who was murdered last June by a right-wing fanatic. Following her death, her family encouraged contributions in her memory to three groups that had been “close to her heart.” One of them was Hope Not Hate.

In an interview given shortly after Brendan Cox's tweet, Farage observed that Cox “would know more about extremists than me....He backs organizations like Hope Not Hate, who masquerade as being lovely and peaceful, but actually pursue violent and undemocratic means.” Farage added: “And I’m sorry Mr. Cox, but it is time people started to take responsibility for what’s happened. Mrs. Merkel has directly caused a whole number of social and terrorist problems in Germany. It’s about time we confronted that truth.”

Diagnosis: obviously true. But the creeps at Hope Not Hate went ballistic. Farage, they charged, had smeared them. (This from a gang for whom Job #1 is smearing.) If Farage didn't apologize, they said, they'd take him to court. They even set up a web page at which fellow enemies of Farage could help crowdfund a legal case against him. They say they've received thousands of donations.

Now, the story here should be that a pack of radicals whose entire raison d'être is to vilify their political opponents have responded to a thoroughly truthful characterization of their activities by threatening a lawsuit. But how have the media reported on this fracas? By giving Hope Not Hate the usual friendly treatment – and taking their own swipes at Farage. The New York Times, for instance, intoned that his remarks raised “questions about his judgment” and treated his description of HnH as sheer fantasy. The Guardian's Owen Jones, for his part, charged Farage with being part of “a deliberate attempt to delegitimise all shades of progressive opinion.”

You'd have thought it was Farage who'd threatened legal action, and not the fraudulent ideologues at Hope Not Hate. And you'd have thought that the totalitarian efforts to use the judiciary to silence speech in Europe today were aimed at leftists, rather than at Geert Wilders, Lars Hedegaard, and other tellers of truth about Islam.

Tags: Europe, Left

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